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Coronavirus: Mosques to remain open in Pakistan as govt, clerics agree over restrictions

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri on Thursday announced that the countrywide mosques would remain open amid coronavirus pandemic with limitations applied to congregation within their premises during five-time prayers and Friday prayer, ARY NEWS reported.

The decision was taken after consultation with the clerics during a meeting with President Arif Alvi via video conference, said the minister who added that top religious leaders had assured their complete support for preventive measures announced by the government.

He said that clerics had an important role to tackle coronavirus spread and they extended their complete support by announcing holidays in seminaries and postponing all conventions.

We are not shutting down the mosques but limiting congregations during prayer timings, he said adding that people aging above 50, children and sick should refrain from visiting mosques for collective prayers.

Citing worldwide examples of limitations being placed at offering collective prayers in mosques, the minister said fatwas have come from clerics of two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia and Al Azhar University for restricting collective prayers in time of the pandemic.

“Restrictions have been applied at the two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia, Al Aqsa Mosque, Karbala and mosques in other Muslim counties,” he said adding that even Azzan was tweaked globally, asking the people to stay at home for prayers.

Read More: Turkey suspends mass prayers, orders cultural spaces closures

He further clarified that the mosques will not be shut completely as recitation of Holy Quran and azkar would continue within their premises.

Speaking on Hajj 2020, he said that they were still in contact with the Saudi authorities on the matter and for the time being all agreements relating to accommodation, travel and other Hajj arrangements have been postponed.

It is pertinent to mention here that Saudi authorities on Thursday barred Pakistan from finalizing agreements relating to Hajj 2020 arrangements amid coronavirus pandemic.

According to a letter written by Saudi Hajj Minister Dr. Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten to Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri, Pakistan was asked to stop finalizing its agreements regarding housing, food and travel arrangements for now.

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