KARACHI: Ruet-i-Hilal Committee chairman Mufti Munib-ur-Rehman and other clerics addressing a press conference on Thursday.—APP
KARACHI: Ruet-i-Hilal Committee chairman Mufti Munib-ur-Rehman and other clerics addressing a press conference on Thursday.—APP

KARACHI: Prominent clerics and noted scholars have advised the people to prefer collective sacrifice of the animals arranged by different organisations this Eidul Azha instead of individual fulfillment of the ritual in an attempt to maintain social distancing and contain the spread of coronavirus.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday, Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Munib-ur-Rehman, along with other ulema and clerics, came up with a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which, he claimed, had been agreed between the clerics of all schools of thought and the Sindh government. He appealed to the people and the provincial administration to cooperate with each other amid the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Sacrifice of an animal is a key part of Islamic rites and prayers,” he said. “The donations or giving in the name of charity or welfare cannot be considered an alternative of this fareeza (religious duty). So the people should sacrifice animals and don’t take khairat (charity) or donation as its alternative. But to meet this commitment, we need to be cautions and follow those steps which are helpful for everyone,” he said. “We advise the people to go for collective sacrifice of the animals arranged by different welfare and religious organisations instead of doing so at their houses or neighourhoods.”

Mufti Muneeb said the clerics had held multiple meetings with the Sindh government represented by provincial ministers Nasir Hussain Shah and Saeed Ghani, which helped in devising the SOPs to meet challenges which would emerge after Eidul Azha amid the growing number of coronavirus cases.

Say only serious buyers should go to animal market

“These SOPs should be followed by everyone — from buyers and traders of animals to the local administration to organisations arranging collective sacrifice of the animals,” said Mufti Muneeb. “The two sides [clerics and the Sindh government] have agreed that all cattle markets would be set up away from cities or residential areas at open grounds or land with four walls. The traders would make arrangements to keep their animals disinfected.”

He said the provincial government had assured them of developing a quicker and vigilant system to dispose of offal and waste of sacrificial animals. He appealed to the people collecting hides of sacrificial animals to quickly perform their jobs.

“We request the people not to treat cattle markets as picnic spots. A restricted number of serious buyers should visit the markets and children should not be allowed to visit the markets. Similarly, don’t exhibit your animals in your neighbourhoods. The buyers and traders must wear face masks and maintain social distancing,” he added.

On the occasion, Maulana Adil Khan regretted the way the federal government had been handling the issue of devising SOPs for annual religious events.

He said that despite repeated attempts from the clerics and contacts with the government functionaries in Islamabad several times, the federal authorities had not been able to respond positively.

“So we convey message in this press conference for whole Pakistan and not for Sindh alone,” he said. “We were asked by the Sindh government to suggest measures. We finally have done our job. We wonder what’s taking so long for the federal ministers for religious affairs and interior to do the same job. It’s quite disappointing that Islamabad has not shown much willingness on this crucial issue.”

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2020