Clerics announce resumption of congregational prayers at mosques

Updated 19 May 2020

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Express the hope government will not create any hurdle. — AFP/File
Express the hope government will not create any hurdle. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Prominent clerics and noted scholars on Monday announced resumption of five-time congregational prayers at mosques across the country, hoping the government this time would not put any hurdle and saying uncertainty about the end of coronavirus could not stop people from activities of daily life and regular business.

The congregations were banned when the countrywide lockdown was imposed in March to contain the spread of coronavirus. However, with the beginning of Ramazan in April, the government agreed on Taraveeh prayers in an agreement with clerics under the defined standard operating procedures (SOPs) which allowed only limited number of people at mosques.

The fresh announcement by the clerics came in Karachi where some prominent ulema met at Jamia Dar-ul-Uloom Karachi and decided to begin congregational prayers. The meeting expressed the view that nothing was sure about the coronavirus pandemic and in this situation, Muslims couldn’t leave prayers and their rituals out of fear.

“We appeal to the people to avail these last few blessed days of Ramazan,” said a statement issued after the meeting quoting Mufti Taqi Usmani as saying. “It’s time to return to Allah and offer prayers with all sincerity and keenness. No one knows that when this virus would come to an end. So in this situation we cannot quit everything in the name of precaution and fear. It’s time to reopen Masajid and offer congregation prayers.”

Express the hope government will not create any hurdle

Those who met him at Jamia Dar-ul-Uloom Karachi included Qari Mohammad Usman, Maulana Mufti Zubair Ashraf Usmani, Qari Allah Daad, Dr Qasim Mahmood and Qazi Ahsan Ahmed. Mufti Usmani appealed to the people to take all due precautionary measures while offering prayers at mosques.

President Dr Arif Alvi had in April convened a meeting of the governors and ulema from all provinces to discuss proposals about congregational prayers, particularly Taraveeh, during Ramazan. The meeting decided to allow Taraveeh with restrictions, limited people and SOPs. President Alvi had announced that neither the state machinery nor clerics would stop citizens from visiting mosques as almost all demands of the clerics related to holding of Friday prayers, Taraveeh and daily congregational prayers were accepted with the condition of social distancing and other precautionary measures.

In a fresh development, representing the call of clerics from across the country, Mufti Usmani appealed for a formal announcement by the government to lift the ban on congregational prayers and Taraveeh as it would give people some confidence and help remove fear from society.

“We hope for cooperation from the government. The government should also announce lifting the ban on congregational prayers and Taraveeh and advertise this announcement. It would help in removing all those fears and reservations which run high across society,” he said, adding: “In these challenging times, there is a strong need for unity between the government and citizens of the country to make their due contributions.”

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2020