As long as Hindu weddings do not conform to custom, they are not recognised, says Malaysia Hindu Sangam.
Malaysia’s major Hindu organisation says wedding rites and rituals for the religion cannot be conducted online, just days after the federal territories Islamic authorities allowed a virtual marriage solemnisation ceremony in light of the partial lockdown due to Covid-19.
Malaysia Hindu Sangam president RS Mohan Shan said unlike Muslims, Hindus have to undergo marriage customs and rituals which must be done face-to-face, reports Free Malaysia Today.
“It is compulsory for Hindus to register their marriages at the National Registration Department (JPN),” he told the media portal, adding that this could be done online.
“But if you follow traditional Hindu customs, there are things that cannot be done online. Although the marriage is recognised by JPN, as long as it does not conform to Hindu custom, it is not regarded as a formal union,” he told FMT.
On April 18, a couple had solemnised their marriage in an akad nikah ceremony held via video conferencing in a first for the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi).
Jawi director Mohd Ajib Ismail said this was in line with the decision of the 97th Conference of the Fatwa Committee National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI) held from Dec 15 to 17, 2011, which allowed for a virtual akad nikah according to guidelines, according to the report.
However, other matters such as applying for permission to marry, marriage registration, divorce, ruju’ (divorced couples getting back together) and pre-wedding courses remain postponed until the end of the movement control order, it added.
Mohan said Hindu rituals such as the groom tying yellow thread around the bride, circling the fire seven times and seeking the blessing of both parents are customs which have to be done face-to-face.
“Every ceremony and ritual that is performed has its own distinctive meaning,” he told the portal.
Meanwhile, Council of Churches Malaysia general secretary Rev Herman Shastri said the Christian faith has no guidelines for conducting online weddings.
“There are no directives for online weddings ceremonies for churches, but couples are encouraged to register civil marriages,” he was quoted by the portal. “Marriage ceremonies can be organised with family and relatives, but they must maintain strict social distancing.”
(Asia Samachar, x Feb 2020)