BAGAN SERAI: The authorities have been instructed to investigate the status and presence of a group with Malaysians in its ranks that gathered in Makkah over claims that Imam Mahdi would appear during Arafah Day.

Minister in Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Senator Datuk Idris Ahmad said the Consulate General of Malaysia (Haj Affairs) in Jeddah was ordered to begin investigating the group, including its leader Habib Shah Firdaus Habib Ahmad, who is believed to be still there.

"We hope after their apprehension, they will be subject to action and sent home because this is all nonsense," he said after attending the Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS) Perak Youth Muktamar in Bukit Merah Laketown Resort today.

According ot him, the public is advised not to be easily influenced and to check before participating in any Tarekat (practices).

"I hope the public will check up on the teacher beforehand if they want to participate in any Tarekat. Should you wish to learn, you should find a teacher who is "mursyid" and practises what he preaches," he added.

It had been reported that there were several deviant beliefs, including the appearance of Imam Mahdi on the last Arafah Day, being propagated at al-Naqsyabandiah al-Khalidiyyah Tarekat Practices Centre in Labu, Negeri Sembilan, which has been shut down for six months.

Negeri Sembilan mufti, Datuk Mohd Yusof Ahmad was reported to have said that information indicated that the centre's leader Habib Shah Firdaus Habib Ahmad, along with 300 of his followers had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform the umrah and to wait for the appearance of Imam Mahdi on Arafah Day and Awal Muharram.