While the five daily prayers are a fundamental pillar of Islam, there are certainly some Muslims who choose not to do all of them, all of the time, for whatever personal reasons.
However, Muslim civil servants in the South Sumatran capital now have no choice about doing the Fajr (dawn) prayer every morning unless they want to risk losing their jobs, according to a new regulation passed by the city's mayor.
Palembang Mayor Harnojoyo officially signed a mayoral regulation (Perwali) yesterday requiring every Muslim official in the Palembang Government to perform the Fajr prayer at a mosque or musalla (home prayers don't count apparently) with violators facing the threat of dismissal.
The regulation does not apply to non-Muslim civil servants nor were they given any similar requirements. Harnojoyo said he signed the regulation into law because it would help improve discipline among government employees.
"We hope that this regulation will create prosperity in the mosques and build up the soul of Islam and responsibility," Harnojoyo said yesterday as quoted by JawaPos.
Although he did not explain the exact mechanism by which the regulation would be enforced, Harnojoyo made it clear that the threat of dismissal for civil servants for not following it was very real.
"Go ahead if you don't want to follow this regulation. But, get ready to be removed from office," Harnojoyo said.
Prayer times varies throughout the year in Palembang; this month the Fajr call to prayer begins at around 4:30am every day.
As far as we can tell this is the first such regulation in Indonesia that threatens civil servants with firing for not carrying out religious duties.
There have been similar regulations in the past before though, such as the government of Bengkulu encouraging all female government employees to wear hijab (there seems to have been no threat of firing for those who didn't follow though) and many Indonesian public schools require the use of the hijab by female Muslim students.