Major UK mosques close doors to congregational prayers

East London Mosque Editorial credit: Victor Moussa / Shutterstock.com

Many of the biggest mosques in the country have decided to shut their doors to congregational prayers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The mosques include London Central Mosque, East London Mosque, Birmingham Central Mosque, Manchester Central Mosque and Edinburgh Central Mosque.

The move comes following increasing criticism of mosques for remaining open to mass gatherings which risk spreading infections.

In a joint statement the mosques said they had unanimously agreed that the Shari’ah states the “preservation of life takes precedence over the public commission of significant acts of worship” and that “harm must be removed.”

They stated: “For these reasons, the undersigned are cancelling all major activities at their mosques, effective from the date of this statement, as a temporary measure. This includes: Jumu’ah prayers, daily congregational prayers, madrasah and educational classes, conferences and other regular lectures.

“We ask everyone to pray salah at home, this includes Jumu’ah, which should be replaced with the normal dhuhr (mid-day prayer consisting of 4 raka’at) prayer. Our mosques and Islamic centres shall ensure that telephone and online consultations with imams are regularly available during this period…

“The onset of mass self-isolation gives the opportunity to reconnect with Allah Ta’ala in moments of seclusion rarely gifted in today’s world, allowing us to rediscover the Qur’an in preparation for Ramadan, praying Jema’ah with our family or performing additional acts of worship that have been largely ignored.”

The statement was signed by:

  • The Islamic Cultural Centre & London Central Mosque
  • Al Manaar –Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre
  • Al Muntada Al Islami
  • Al Nagashi Mosque & Centre
  • Al Salaam Islamic Centre
  • Al Farooq Education and Community Centre, Glasgow
  • Banbury Sheikh Bin Baaz Masjid
  • Birmingham Central Mosque
  • East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre
  • Edinburgh Central Mosque
  • Finsbury Park Mosque
  • Glasgow Central Mosque
  • Green Lane Mosque
  • Jamiat e Ulama Britain
  • Manchester Central Mosque
  • Markazi Jamiat Ahlehadith UK
  • Masjid Al Tawhid
  • Mayfair Islamic Centre
  • Muslim Welfare House
  • West London Islamic Centre, Ealing

Nevertheless, major mosques around the country remain open with some scholars arguing that masaajid should not close until the government orders them to.

Lancashire Council of Mosques, for example, issued a statement to that effect but 5Pillars understands that it is holding an emergency meeting tonight to discuss the situation further.

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