Pakistan Ulema Council issues fatwa to postpone political, religious gatherings 'immediately'

Published March 17, 2020
A health worker checks a woman's temperature amid coronavirus fears at a counter at the Cantonment railway station in Karachi. — Reuters/File
A health worker checks a woman's temperature amid coronavirus fears at a counter at the Cantonment railway station in Karachi. — Reuters/File

The Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) on Tuesday said that in light of the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, all political and religious gatherings should be postponed "immediately". The direction was part of a fatwa issued by the PUC after a meeting presided over by Chairman Hafiz Tahir Sherani.

In the decree, religious scholars have told people to follow the measures issued by the government in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. The decree further says that Urdu sermons during Friday congregations should be discontinued while Arabic sermons should be shortened.

A safe distance should be kept between the rows of worshippers, who should pray on the floor — which should be washed with soap and water — instead of prayer mats. It would be preferable, the fatwa said, to pray in an open space. Furthermore, the elderly and the sick have been advised to pray at home.

The cleanliness of bathrooms and ablution sinks at mosques should be ensured and soaps and sanitisers should be placed for worshippers. Philanthropists have been asked to donate sanitisers, soaps and other cleaning supplies.

The decree further said that people should greet each other by saying Assalam Alaikum instead of shaking hands or hugging, as experts have advised against both practices.

The fatwa strictly forbade the hoarding of hand sanitisers, masks and soaps and directed people to report those who were involved in the practice. It also told people to avoid rumours as they spread fear.

So far, 212 cases of the novel coronavirus have emerged in Pakistan, a majority of which have been detected in Sindh.

Opinion

Danger lurks
27 Sep 2021

Danger lurks

The colonial mindset continues to percolate.
Dance of death
Updated 27 Sep 2021

Dance of death

India is happily flirting with extermination.
Climate of change
Updated 26 Sep 2021

Climate of change

The world faces a climate emergency as the toll on people’s lives and livelihoods keeps growing.

Editorial

Phasing out coal
Updated 27 Sep 2021

Phasing out coal

Move affords Pakistan an opportunity to renegotiate its deals with Beijing to convert them into cheaper, clean energy projects.
27 Sep 2021

Poor online score

A RECENT report by Freedom House, the US-based watchdog that assesses democratic trends around the world, has placed...
27 Sep 2021

Child’s mental capacity

CONVERTING to another faith is one of the most consequential decisions an individual can make in their lifetime. It...
Updated 26 Sep 2021

Intransigent Taliban

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has delivered an effective speech at the UN General Assembly session detailing the salient...
26 Sep 2021

Deadly misinformation

THE distinction between ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ news is now a concept impossible to escape. In an...
26 Sep 2021

Covid arrests

THE unilateral decision taken by Karachi’s East Zone police to arrest citizens without Covid vaccination cards ...