Jokowi prays as Indonesia burns

Detik News – September 17, 2019
Widodo and senior officials pray for rain in Pekanbaru -- September 17, 2019 (Detik)
Widodo and senior officials pray for rain in Pekanbaru -- September 17, 2019 (Detik)

Andhika Prasetia, Pekanbaru -- A state of emergency has been declared in Riau province due to the haze from forest and land fires (karhutla). Hoping for rain to get rid of the haze, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has held a salat istisqa -- a prayer for rain from Allah during drought.

The prayers for rain were held at the Amrullah Lanud Roesmin Nurjadin Mosque in Pekanbaru, Riau, on September 17. Widodo arrived at the mosque first to conduct a salat tahiyatul masjid -- a prayer to show symbolic respect to the mosque.

After this the head of the mosque explained the technical details of performing a salat istisqa where the first cycle of prayer (rakaat) involves seven takbir (recitations of God is great) and the second cycle five takbir.

“We are present here with the respected President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir H Joko Widodo, in conducting salat istisqa in the province of Riau. These prayers will be conducted in two rakaat as it conducted during Id prayers, were the first rakaat has seven takbir and the second rakaat has five takbir”, they said.

Widodo along with the other congregation members then conducted salat istisqa.

Other senior government official attending the prayers included Coordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Legal Affairs Wiranto, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, TNI (Indonesian military) chief Air Martial Hadi Tjahjanto, Indonesia police chief General Tito Karnavian and National Disaster Management Agency chief Lieutenant General Doni Monardo.

After the prayers, Widodo is scheduled to review several hotspots in Merbau and Kampar as a follow up from a limited meeting held yesterday evening.

Following yesterdays’ meeting, Wiranto explained that they would be using artificial rain to deal with the fires in Riau bearing in mind that it is currently the dry season in Riau.

“The fires will be extinguished if there is rain. If there’s no rain, [we’ll] make artificial rain. But artificial rain needs aircraft, it needs salt, it needs [the right] cloud conditions. If there are no clouds, yes well it can’t be done. So the requirements are that the clouds must contain 70 percent water, only then can aircraft fly and seed the clouds with salt, then it will fall (rain)”, said Wiranto. (dkp/gbr)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Riau Darurat Kabut Asap, Jokowi Gelar Salat Minta Hujan”.]