PUTRAJAYA: The presence of former All Blacks rugby star Sonny Bill Williams enlivened the ‘Solat Subuh Macam Jumaat’ campaign at the Masjid Putra here today.

The programme, which started as early as 5 am, was attended by about 5,000 congregants, who performed the dawn prayers led by the imam of Masjid Putra, Abdul Karim Zakaria. It was followed by a knowledge-sharing session with Williams.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar and his deputy Dr Zulkifli Hasan also attended the programme which was also enlivened with a brisk walk, starting from the grounds of the Masjid Putra to the Palace of Justice, covering a distance of 2.7 kilometres.

Williams is currently in the country to attend various religious programmes and sports activities including the Rugby Clinic at the National Sports Council Mini Stadium.

Williams, 39, expressed his amazement witnessing the ‘Subuh Macam Jumaat’ campaign which encourages Muslims to perform the dawn prayers at mosques.

“I must admit the beauty of Malaysians. I am proud, as a Muslim, when I saw many people come to perform Subuh prayers,” he told reporters here.

Williams, a two-time World Cup winner with New Zealand in 2011 and 2015, said that he was left in awe of the humility and manners shown by three Malaysians when he met them in Makkah recently.

Meanwhile, Mohd Na’im proposed for all mosque and surau committees, especially those under the purview of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) to diversify activities to attract the interest of Muslims to attend mosques.

“Influencers are part of the way to attract Muslims to the mosque, but the programmes for this campaign need to be diversified with other methods.

“The most important thing is the intention to attend the mosque, which is to perform the dawn prayers, not to meet influencers. Hamza (Williams) also said to correct one’s intentions as he was also here for the sake of Allah,” he said. - Bernama

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