Imam suspended for delivering Friday sermon in Addu dialect

Suspended Friday prayer Imam from Meedhoo, Mohamed Rasheed | Photo: adduLIVE

Addu City, Maldives – A Friday prayer Imam from Meedhoo, Addu City has been suspended after he delivered the prayer sermon in the city’s dialect.

The suspended Imam is Mohamed Rasheed, who lead the Friday prayer at Masjid Majduddin in Meedhoo. Prior to the prayer, he delivered the Friday sermon prepared and sent by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, after translating it from the official language Dhivehi, to the Dhivehi dialect spoken in Addu, known as Addu dialect.

Following this, the Khutba [sermon] Committee of Addu City has attempted to take his statement regarding the matter.

Speaking to local media outlet adduLIVE, Rasheed said yesterday, that the Khutba Committee, which is located in Hithadhoo, had notified him to sign a statement.

“They summoned me to the office and told me to sign the statement [prepared] by Khutba Committee. It said that I translated the sermon to a different language. I told [them] that I delivered the sermon in Dhivehi – that we’re all speaking Dhivehi language and nothing else. So they suspended me from leading Friday prayer,” Rasheed said, explaining that Addu dialect is also a part of Dhivehi language.

Rasheed said that he brought no changes to the content of the sermon, and that he read the Quran and Hadheeth as written in the sermon.

He also said that the reason he translated the sermon to Addu dialect was because many expatriates who live in Addu and are more well versed with Addu dialect rather than Dhivehi, have complained about not understanding the sermon when delivered in Dhivehi.

“The people in the mosque are Addu people and then there are expatriates who live here. They also understand how we speak and the sermon is advice offered to the people. It’s important for as many people to understand it as possible,” Rasheed added.

Both Islamic Ministry and the President’s Office confirmed Rasheed’s suspension. President’s Office, in a statement today, said that making any changes to the sermon is not permissible and that the Khutba Committee of Addu City will finalise the incident report and forward it to the Islamic Ministry.

Following this, many have taken to social media in criticism of the suspension, with many pointing out that Addu dialect is still a part of Dhivehi language.