The offending incident reportedly took place on August 23 from 1-1:50 p.m. local time when the group of men opted to relax by the Sekayu Waterfall in Malaysia’s Kuala Berang instead of attending service for Friday prayers.
Free Malaysia Today reported that the men were arrested by officers with the Terengganu Islamic Religious Affairs Department who happened to be surveilling the area at the time. The report further noted that the guilty parties were seen showering and relaxing along the waterfall during the allotted prayer time.
All six individuals were accused of violating Section 16 of the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Enactment, which stipulates that Muslims who fail to attend three Friday prayers continuously are subject to a jail term not more than two years and/or fines exceeding $700. They all pleaded guilty.
The accused were identified by local media outlet Malay Mail as Khairul Azle Abdul Rasid, Abdul Malek Mohd, Muhamad Hafizi Abdul Razak and Muhammad Aliff Fikri A Mazzani. The other two individuals were not named, as they were both 17 years of age.
Although each of the men received a one-month jail sentence, everyone except Khairul Azle was fined about $570. Khairul Azle, who is a father of two, was hit with a slightly heftier fine of nearly $600.
The sentences were handed down at the Hulu Terengganu Lower Shariah Court by Syarie Judge Nik Mohd Shahril Irwan Mat Yusof, the Malay Mail reported.
The case is believed to be the first incident in Malaysia in which worshippers were fined for not attending Friday prayers, according to local media outlets.