PENANG – A Malaysian muezzin has saved more than 70 people after opening his mosque as a shelter during the severe flooding which hit Penang over the weekend.
“I do not care what people say. What is important is that the people’s lives were saved,” said Sapno Tukijo, who oversees prayers at the Taman Free School surau in George Town, New Straits Times reported on Monday, November 6.
As the muezzin, Tukijo calls people to prayer five times a day, every day of the year, according to Islamic custom.
Around 70 Chinese and Indian residents took shelter in his mosque when water levels rose dangerously in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday.
The people were trying to reach a nearby temple, “just a few meters away on the other side of the road,” he said.
“I tried to help them get over by tying a rope between two electric poles for them to use to go there through the water. But the effort failed because the water current was too swift and it had critically risen to chest level.”
Seeing the situation they were in, Tukijo took matters into his own hands.
“I then invited them to stay at the surau [mosque],” he said.
Though some people were reluctant to accept his invitation, he insisted on hosting them when the situation became dire.
“They eventually agreed to take shelter in the surau. There were some who were shirtless as they had been forced to escape the floods from their homes at that hour,” Tukijo, 50, added.
Seven people were reported to have died in the storm in Penang that began on Saturday evening and lasted till the early hours of Sunday, resulting in floods, landslides, and uprooted trees.
The muezzin was praised by the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Najib Razak.
“Islam teaches us to love one another and we know about Rasulullah who protected everyone regardless of their race and religion when in need,” Najib posted on his Facebook page.
“Prophet Muhammad’s verse which reads ‘If someone of a different religion seeks your help for protection, then you protect them’ is what we should all follow.”
“Islam teaches us to love one another and we know about Rasulullah who protected everyone, regardless of their race and religion when in need…”Najib posted on his Facebook page.
That verse (9:6) reads, “If someone of a different religion seeks your help for protection, then you protect them.”
Citing that teaching, Najib said, “[This] is what we should all follow.”