ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday held a meeting with religious scholars in which it was decided that ‘restricted’ congregational prayers will be held across the country to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri also advised the old and sick people to pray at home with their families.
President Alvi chaired the meeting at President House. and scholars from all four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) attended the meeting through video link from governor houses across the country. Those from Islamabad and Rawalpindi were physically present.
According to a statement issued after the meeting, the president highlighted the preventive measures which needed to be taken by the people to stop spreading the disease. “He emphasised that the only solution to the present crisis was to maintain social distancing and act upon the guidelines provided by Islam to cope with such situation,” the statement read.
The statement further stated that the ulema assured their complete support and said that they would comply with the instructions given by the government.
Authorities have held multiple consultations with scholars over whether prayer congregations should continue, as social distancing is vital to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has already infected more than 1,000 people in the country. A large number of people are expected to gather in mosques tomorrow to attend Friday’s congregational prayers.
Earlier, President Alvi, through Egypt’s ambassador in Pakistan, had sought guidance from Al-Azhar institution, an authority on Islamic injunctions, for a word on the suspension of congregational prayers at mosques amid the spike in coronavirus cases.
The institution issued an edict on the matter yesterday, in which it stressed that public gatherings, including congregational prayers at mosques, could result in the spread of coronavirus and the governments of Muslim countries had full jurisdiction to cancel such events.
The fatwa also emphasised on amending the Azaan (call to prayer) with words ‘Salaat Fi Buyut-e-kum’, meaning ‘pray in your homes’ instead of the usual ‘Hayya Ala Al Salah’ (come to prayer). Also, families within their homes can arrange group prayers, it added.