SHAH ALAM: A cult leader who advocated a form of chanting in praise of Allah which came to be known as zikir rock said he has mended his ways.
More than 10 years after his teachings were banned, Ghazali Osman, 71, told the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) yesterday that he has repented.
Accompanied by six followers at a ceremony at the Jais office in the Sultan Idris Shah building here, he renounced 12 wrong beliefs and actions that the cult, named after him, practised.
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He and his followers, who repented before Selangor Mufti Datuk Tamyes Abdul Wahib, declined to be interviewed but in a statement after the closed-door ceremony, he said:
“I no longer preach, practise or urge people, whether on my own or through groups, to follow the Ajaran Ghazali Osman in any form, version, situation or activity.”
According to Jais, the zikir rock movement was active in the Gombak area in the 90s, especially in residential areas near Zoo Negara.
Jais officers arrested Ghazali at his house in Taman Melawati at 3am on April 23, 1995. He was with the wife of a follower at the time of arrest.
The zikir rock, which he advocated, was so-named because the chants were accompanied by head-banging, hand clapping, prancing and dancing.
A video clip, blurred and scratched due to either numerous reproductions or poor camera work, showed a group of men and women behaving like they had arrived at a tribal disco.
Ghazali swore that he would never revive the teachings, which he confessed were deviant and against true Islamic teachings.
In his statement, he confessed, among others, that:
He falsely claimed that while it was important for laymen to observe all the provisions of Islam and to chant praises of Allah (zikir) every Thursday night, these were exempted for those who had reached a certain divine level (hakikat);
He lied when he claimed that Hajar Aswad, the sacred black stone built into the southeast corner of the Ka’abah (the focal point of Muslim prayers), was a vaginal symbol;
He also lied when he claimed that the sun was a phallic symbol;
He also falsely claimed that Prophet Adam was brought to earth not because he was punished but because he was elevated to a higher status;
He admitted that it was not within his ability or capability to say that those who had reached the level of hakikat were not bound by either dosa (sin) or pahala (merit); and
He admitted that he had preached his teachings openly and confessed that he had wrongly said that bad tidings would befall those who breached his secret teachings.
Ghazali denied that he preferred to teach women face-to-face in private rooms or that he had directed the wife of one of his followers to abort her child when she was two months’ pregnant.
At the end of his confession, Ghazali said he was ready to face the consequences if he was caught reviving his deviant movement.
State executive councillor Abdul Rahman Palil said there were 23 known deviant movements in Selangor.