Defying all orders from the state to restrain from religious gatherings to minimize the spread of COVID-19, prominent ulemas and religious scholars from across Pakistan on Tuesday stated that the five daily prayers and the Friday prayers would be held in mosques. They, however, mentioned that all preventive measures advised by the government will be implemented.
The statement from the ulemas, cited by Dawn, comes as the government announced it would continue the lockdown imposed in light of the coronavirus outbreak, easing restrictions for some industries which it said were ‘low-risk’.
Authorities in all provinces had officially limited congregations in mosques, including for Friday prayers, to five or less for the past two weeks. However, there are several instances witnessed of violation of government orders, and confrontation with police trying to enforce these orders, have been reported since then.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting between representatives from the Jamiat-e-ulema Islam, Jamiat-e-ulema Pakistan, Jamaat-i-Islami and Tanzeem-e-Islami among other religious parties at the Karachi Press Club, Mufti Taqi Usmani, a renowned religious scholar and former judge of the Federal Shariat Court, said it was decided that prayers would be held while observing precautionary measures, the newspaper reported.
Stating the details of the precautionary measures, Usmani said there would be proper distancing between rows and individuals during congregations. He urged the elderly to pray at their homes and other people to return to their homes as soon as prayers were over.
“In the present conditions, five daily prayers along with precautionary measures are essential,” he added.
Prominent religious scholar and chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneebur Rehman said the lockdown was not “applicable to mosques”, adding that arrangements would be made for Friday congregational prayers and tarawih in Ramazan.Calling the congregational prayers a “necessity”, a statement released after the meeting said that it was important to continue the prayers while observing precautionary measures.