Gus Miftah, a Muslim preacher noted for his eccentric sermons, is the talk of the internet after a video of him preaching on the stage of a nightclub in Bali went viral on social media.
The footage was reportedly taken at Boshe VVIP Club in Kuta and posted onto Gus Miftah's own Instagram account, @gusmiftah,last week, after which similar footage was uploaded onto YouTube.
In the video, Gus Miftah, who is also head of the Yogyakarta-based Ora Aji pesantren (Islamic boarding school), is seen preaching in front of the club's visitors and workers. He also led them in reciting and singing shalawat,a religious chant praising Prophet Muhammad.
"The world and its creatures were created by God because of Nur [light] Muhammad, so if [you] want to get the whole world, [you] must do shalawatto Prophet Muhammad," Gus Miftah wrote in his Instagram post published last Thursday.
"My brothers, there is only one difference between a good person and a bad person; a good person has done something bad and a bad person must have done something good. Never judge them, but please pray for them," he went on.
This is not the first time Gus Miftah has been in the spotlight for his eccentric preaching. In 2015, he made news after holding a pengajian(learning forum) with prostitutes from the Pasar Kembang red-light district in Yogyakarta.
While Instagram and social media users were divided in acknowledging the preacher's actions, with some calling them inappropriate, Gus Miftah appeared to have received the backing of an influential Islamic politician affiliated with the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia's largest Islamic organisation.
The Islam-based National Awakening Party (PKB) chairman, Muhaimin Iskandar, affectionately known as Cak Imin, said on his Twitter account, @cakimiNOW, that shalawat was allowed and fitting to be held in places such as a nightclub.https://twitter.com/cakimiNOW/status/1038768417560383488
"… [People] in places like [nightclubs] must often be invited to do shalawat so that they will be safe and husnul khotimah[end with blessings ahead]; what is considered bad at first can still end up really good," Cak Imin wrote in response to a post from another Twitter user.