Fazl endorses ban on congregational prayers

Updated March 28, 2020

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“When doctors recommend maximum precautions, people are supposed to abide by these guidelines." — DawnNewsTV/File
“When doctors recommend maximum precautions, people are supposed to abide by these guidelines." — DawnNewsTV/File

PESHAWAR: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has urged people to follow guidelines of medical experts and authorities while offering prayers to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“When doctors recommend that people should take maximum precautionary measures and not go near affected people then people are bound to abide by these guidelines and follow instructions of the district administration in this regard,” he said while talking to Dawn from his residence in Dera Ismail Khan on Friday.

The JUI-F leader has restricted movement to his home since cases of Covid-19 surfaced in the country.

A source said that the Maulana has been with his family while his party has suspended activities till April 5. He said the JUI-F chief offered Friday prayers along with his family members at the mosque inside his residential compound.

Maulana Fazl said that scholars representing all schools of thought had already given their unanimous opinion on this issue and recommended that only muezzin, prayer leader and members of mosques’ administration should offer prayers in congregation.

He was of the opinion that if congregational prayers at mosques could result in spreading the virus, then people should not visit mosques and instead offer prayers at home.

He said that the coronavirus had engulfed the whole world and the disease had been declared as a pandemic. “The pandemic has forced every human being to seek blessings of God,” he said, adding that “our religion gives certain relaxations during extraordinary circumstances”. He said that people should not ignore guidelines of health experts and avoid unnecessary movements and activities.

“In the prevailing situation people can offer congregational prayers along with family members at their homes,” he said, adding that he fully endorsed decree of religious scholars in order to contain the disease.

Meanwhile, presence of the faithful in big mosques, including historic Mohabat Khan Mosque, Derwish Mosque, remained very thin during Friday congregations. Ulema urged people above the age of 50, those suffering from any disease and children to offer their prayers at their homes. Sunehri Mosque was closed for Friday prayers.

KHAR: Following the administration’s instruction to avoid visiting mosques, scores of people in Bajaur tribal district offered Friday prayers at their homes.

According to reports obtained from different areas of the district, scores of people did not visit mosques and opted to offer Friday prayers at their homes due to the fear of Covid-19 epidemic in the region.

In Mansehra, many prayer leaders shortened their sermons and recited short verses in Friday prayers in compliance with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s advisory issued to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the province.

“We are bound by our religion to obey government’s advisories and if it decrees not to offer even Friday congregations in order to contain the spread of Covid-19, we would follow its order in letter and spirit,” said Maulana Shafique, the prayer leader of the central mosque on Abbottabad Road.

Prayer leaders during Friday sermons urged worshipers to stay at their homes to follow the government advisory to avoid Covid-19 endemic.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2020