Coronavirus: Top Saudi religious council recommends home prayers in Ramazan

Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars has urged the Muslims worldwide to pray at home during Ramazan if their countries require social distancing to combat coronavirus, state news agency SPA reported on Sunday.

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“Muslims shall avoid gatherings, because they are the main cause of the spread of infection…and shall remember that preserving the lives of people is a great act that brings them closer to God,” it said in a statement.

Earlier, the Saudi Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al El-Sheikh had said Muslims will offer Taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramazan and Eid prayers at home if the coronavirus situation continued.

“Ramazan’s Taraweeh (evening) prayer can be performed at home if it cannot be performed at mosques due to the preventive measures taken to fight the spread of coronavirus,” he said.

On Saturday, Pakistan announced that mosques across the country would remain open for Taraweeh during the month of Ramazan.

While presiding over a meeting with ulema in Islamabad, President Arif Alvi had urged citizens and religious leaders alike to exercise discipline and take precautions against the coronavirus pandemic when coming to mosques.

“As per the foundations of Islamic society, we as a nation should exhibit discipline, coherence and national uniformity as we continue our battle against the coronavirus,” the president said, adding that we [as a nation] can curb the spread of the virus in the holy month of Ramazan by staying away from crowds and unnecessary gatherings.

A 20-point agreement had been announced after the meeting.

“For the Taraweeh prayers, people should avoid congregating outside mosques or on footpaths along the road. People should avoid gathering in large numbers outside mosques after prayers,” he said.

President Alvi had also asked religious leaders across the country to ensure that there was a space between people when they congregated inside mosques for prayers.

“The floors of mosques across the country will be cleaned with chlorine to disinfect them. Markers will also be made on the ground for the people to stand when they pray,” he said.

“Prospering nations do not follow rules and regulations forcefully but with free will, therefore administration can help us in enforcing the decided SOPs but it is the job of citizens to ensure that all precautionary measures are fully implemented,” he affirmed.

With input from REUTERS.

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