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

Window of opportunity
05 Mar 2021

Window of opportunity

How do we ensure growth revival built on a sustainable, efficient and stable foundation?
March for freedom
Updated 05 Mar 2021

March for freedom

Those demanding ‘azadi’ are moving society forward.
More of the same
Updated 04 Mar 2021

More of the same

Civil society groups and political parties tend to treat their paid employees as casual labour.

Editorial

Ravi project
Updated 05 Mar 2021

Ravi project

THE assault by an enraged group of farmers on a provincial revenue team assigned to acquire land for the...
05 Mar 2021

Climate change

PAKISTAN received much less rainfall in January 2021 as compared to previous years, making it the 17th driest month...
05 Mar 2021

Antimicrobial resistance

WITH the focus on Covid-19, many health issues, though otherwise recognised as serious medical problems, tend to be...
04 Mar 2021

Senate upset

THE Senate election results have delivered a stunning blow to the PTI. While the ruling party has seen an increase ...
ME ‘security pact’
Updated 04 Mar 2021

ME ‘security pact’

THERE has been an overflowing of bonhomie between the Gulf Arabs and Israel over the past few months, much of it...
04 Mar 2021

Students’ protest

A GROUP of university students in Karachi and Hyderabad caught the media’s attention when they announced a...