President Arif Alvi on Wednesday urged religious scholars to take urgent action to halt congregational prayers in the country and curb the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan.
The president made the request after Grand Imam Shaikh of Jamia Al Azhar and Supreme Council in Egypt issued a fatwa regarding the matter.
President Alvi had approached the scholars for guidance. He said the religious scholars should act on the basis of principles of Islam from Quran and Sunnah.
“Countries that have stopped congregational prayers: UAE, Saudia, Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt,” said President Alvi.
The “government of a country can impose a ban on congregational prayers, including regular and Friday prayers, and halt gatherings across the country,” read the fatwa.
It urged elderly people to stay indoors and not partake in prayers as in the light of available evidence, these gatherings are a reason for the spread of the virus.
The fatwa also quoted authentic hadith from the Prophet where it highlighted the fact that during natural calamities Muslims were directed to pray inside their houses.
“The coronavirus is more dangerous than rain, therefore a ban can be placed on congregational prayers,” it read.
Pakistan has been facing a rise in coronavirus cases, as the country’s tally shot past 1,000 on Wednesday.
However, Sindh — where the provincial government is taking stern steps to curb the spread of COVID-19 — remains the worst affected with over 400 confirmed cases.
There have been eight deaths so far from coronavirus in the country, with the latest reported today in Punjab.
Meanwhile, in several Arab countries, the azaan has been amended and now it urges people to pray in their homes.