AFP: A leading Iranian cleric has told the faithful they must pray and give to the poor to avoid the earthquakes that have often ravaged the country, a Tehran daily reported on Saturday. TEHRAN (AFP) — A leading Iranian cleric has told the faithful they must pray and give to the poor to avoid the earthquakes that have often ravaged the country, a Tehran daily reported on Saturday.
The comments by hardliner Ayatollah Ahmad Janati in his sermon at the main weekly Muslim prayers in Tehran on Friday came a week after a fellow cleric warned that immodestly dressed women were causing quakes.
"No one can predict earthquakes with certainty, except those who are pious," the reformist Aftab e-Yazd newspaper quoted Janati as saying.
"But with prayers… and alms-giving… it can be prevented," said Janati, who is also politically influential as the chairman of the constitutional watchdog, the Guardians Council.
"According to some revelations, continuous prayer and alms-giving keeps away such calamities. So, we should give alms and sleep peacefully," he said.
In a Tehran prayer sermon last week, another senior cleric, Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi, warned that the failure of women to abide by Iran's strict dress code was leading to increasing extramarital sex, which was in turn triggering more quakes.
"Many women who dress inappropriately … cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes," Sedighi said.
A strict dress code for women has been in force in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution although it has not stopped urban women from appearing in the streets wearing tight coats and flimsy headscarves.
Iran straddles several major faultlines and has seen some devastating earthquakes in recent years.
In December 2003, a massive quake hit the southern city of Bam, killing 31,000 people — about a quarter of its population — and destroying its ancient mud-built citadel.