President Dr Arif Alvi reached out to Egypt’s Al-Azhar, requesting the suspension of congregational Friday prayers in mosques to control the spread of the coronavirus across Pakistan.
“I am thankful to Grand Imam Shaikh of Al-Azhar and Supreme Council for responding to my personal request to provide guidance to us with regard to Farz Jamaat and Juma prayers in mosques during coronavirus attack,” shared the President in a tweet on Wednesday.
President Dr Alvi stated that the countries already suspending congregational prayers include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
According to the fatwa, public gatherings, including congregational prayers at mosques, can result in a spread of the coronavirus and the governments of Muslim countries have full jurisdiction to cancel such events.
The fatwa also stated amending the Azaan (call to prayer) with words ‘Salaat Fi Buyut-e-kum’, meaning ‘pray in your homes’ instead of ‘come to prayer’.
It states it is a must for Muslims to follow health instructions put forth by the state in case of crisis and refrain from following rumours and unofficial information.
“In view of risks to the lives of people, the officials in Muslim countries have full authority to cancel Friday prayers and other congregational prayers.
“Furthermore, the older people should remain at their homes and follow the stated medical guidelines as all evidences clearly show that public gatherings, including prayers, constitute a conducive environment for virus,” it said.
The coronavirus is a highly communicable disease. In this case, the fatwa said, saving human lives and protecting them from all risks and threats was in line with the great concept of Islam.
The fatwa cites Abu Dawood narrating Ibn Abbas, who recounted that Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) said that fear of sickness is an excuse for missing Juma payers. Moreover, Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Auf stated that the Prophet (PBUH) forbade those with unpleasant smell to avoid going to mosques in order to protect other faithful from disturbance.