Fatwa ruling sought on ‘apocalyptic’ silk

February 22, 2014 - 12:00:00 am
KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian conservative group’s insistence that Muslim men wearing silk was a “sign of the apocalypse” prompted a call yesterday for religious authorities to study whether to impose a fatwa on the fabric, a report said.

An activist with the conservative Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia told reporters on Thursday that silk was forbidden for men, citing Islamic literature that describes Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as taking that stance.

Such literature “also states that one of the tanda kiamat (signs of the apocalypse) is when pure silk is being worn,” association activist Sheikh Abdul Kareem S. Khadaied was quoted saying by the Malay Mail.

An official with Perkasa, an NGO that advocates stridently for the rights of the Muslim ethnic Malay majority, waded in yesterday, saying the country’s National Fatwa Council needed to dispel “confusion” over the issue.

“Right now, we don’t know what to do, what can we wear? We have to clear this matter up quick,” Irwan Fahmi Ideris, Perkasa’s youth chief, told the Malay Mail Online.

He did not specifically call for a fatwa, or ban, saying silk should be allowed if the wearer’s body was properly covered.

No response has yet been seen by the National Fatwa Council, which issues religious bans on activities considered un-Islamic.

A silk fatwa could signal a fashion disaster for Malaysia, where the colourful traditional Batik shirt design — often printed on silk — is considered a national heritage item.

Also used on cotton, rayon and other textiles, batik is essential attire for government figures and at formal functions in Malaysia and Indonesia.