ISLAMABAD: Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz on Monday said that since the third Covid-19 wave was more dangerous than the previous two ones, the religious segments had a serious responsibility to follow the precautionary SOPs (standard operating procedures) and spread the message among the citizens.

“Now that the situation is getting out of control in many countries, specifically in the regional states, Pakistan too cannot take the fresh threat lightly and the nation is looking towards mimber and mehrab for solace,” he added.

Reading out Covid-19 guidelines at a news conference, the CII chairman said that taking precautions under the circumstances was a strict Sharia requirement.

However, he slammed certain elements which were spreading rumours and false information about coronavirus vaccine.

“The people who are creating suspicions over the coronavirus vaccine are playing with humanity and the lives of Pakistanis,” he said, apparently referring to some prayer leaders who are spreading messages through social media that the vaccine is a conspiracy of the ‘West and the enemies of Islam and Pakistan’.

Qibla Ayaz slams elements spreading rumours, false information about Covid vaccine

Dr Ayaz said it was a faith of Muslims that such pandemics were controlled by Allah Almighty, but it remained a “Sharia directive” to observe precautions and get medical support.

“Taking all possible precautions and adopting advices suggested by health experts in an epidemic situation are a strict Sharia requirement,” he said, adding: “Prayers can be performed at home and it is essential to follow these guidelines in the current scenario.”

The CII chairman said the masses had to alter some of their traditions as suggested by the health experts to prevent the deadly virus from spreading. He said ulema had a special role in society and people were looking towards them for prayers and seeking guidance.

“Religious scholars played a leading role in ensuring victory in the fight against the last wave of Covid-19 and we all are expecting a stronger role by them this time too,” he said, adding that people should avoid going to the areas that have high infection rate and children should not be sent to mosques.

“There are no Islamic traditions to shake hands or embrace, but the directives are to welcome someone with words of ‘Assalamalaikum’, and now when the government has imposed restrictions, shaking hands and embracing should be abandoned for the time being as it can lead to spread of infections,” he added.

The CII chairman said the managements of mosques had to ensure that distance between the worshippers was maintained and clerics should keep the sermons and prayers as short as possible, adding that gatherings on the last days of Ramazan had to be limited.

He said all individuals should perform Sunnat prayers and offer Taraweeh at home.

The 12-point guidelines read out by the CII chairman included suspending public gatherings at shrines and processions, as well as other social events such as marriages.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2021

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