With the coronavirus case tally closing in on a thousand in Pakistan, multiple neighbourhoods across the country witnessed the call to prayer being recited from mosques and homes simultaneously at an unusual time last night.
After 10pm, which is well past the time of Isha Azaan across Pakistan, several observers heard multiple calls to prayer in various parts of the country.
Twitterati used the hashtag '#Azaan' to share their experience of witnessing the call to prayer in their neighbourhoods at an unexpected time.
In the beginning, it was unclear how this was being coordinated in so many different parts of the country simultaneously, but it emerged that some religious leaders had called on citizens to recite the Azaan from their balconies and rooftops at 10pm every night starting from Tuesday.
One such example is a video message from Saylani Foundation Chairman Maulana Bashir Farooq.
In his message, Farooq said that in times of distress and when disaster struck, the call to prayer was recited aloud in the night, in an effort to asks for Allah's mercy and forgiveness.
"I request those who can hear me right now, that — to fight this difficult situation upon us — we recite the Azaan together at 10pm. Hopefully, tens of thousands of people will recite the Azaan tonight," he said.
When contacted by DawnNewsTV, Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz corroborated Farooq's message and said that while there are no Hadith suggesting that this was practiced in Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) time, "There is evidence suggesting that people of Central Asia took up the practice later, when disaster and distress struck." He added that there was nothing wrong in doing so at an individual level.
Prayer leader of the Parliament House Mosque, Maulana Ahmadul Rahman, also said that there was no evidence of the practice in Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) time, but added that there was nothing wrong in reciting the call to prayer as a means to God's mercy.