Pakistan to open mosques during Ramadan with precautionary measures

King Faisal Mosque, Islamabad

Pakistan’s President has agreed a plan with senior imams to allow congregational and Taraweeh prayers to take place during Ramadan while still adhering to precautionary measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

President Arif Alvi on Saturday met with prominent ulema and religious leaders to build consensus after many mosques defied government guidelines to keep masaajid shut.

According to the plan:

  • Social distancing will be observed.
  • Congregational rows will be formed with a 6ft distance between worshippers.
  • Mosque administration and police will be asked to ensure social distancing is maintained during prayers.
  • Mosques which have compounds will hold prayers outside rather than inside the building.
  • Elderly and sick people will not come to mosques.
  • Taraweeh preparations will be made only in mosque premises, not on roads.
  • People will be encouraged to offer Taraweeh at home.
  • Mosque floors will be washed with chlorine disinfectants.
  • Ablution should be performed at home.
  • Masks will be worn at mosques.
  • No handshakes or hugs will be allowed.
  • Worshippers will refrain from touching their faces.
  • People will be encouraged to perform itikaaf at home.
  • No preparations for sehri and iftaari will be made in mosques.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad after the meeting, the president said: “Ramazan is a month of worship and Muslims love this month a lot. It was necessary that government’s recommendations and ulema’s recommendations be collected before any decision was taken…

“When the government and scholars agree with consensus on something, such as preventive measures for congregational prayers during Ramazan, it becomes imperative for people to follow them.”

On Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met senior religious leaders from across the country to reiterate the government’s commitment to reopen mosques under a 20-point set of guidelines to ensure proper physical distancing.

“The religious leaders’ delegation fully supported the prime minister’s position on the lockdown,” said a statement released by Khan’s office after the meeting. “The religious leaders assured [the government] of their full cooperation.”

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Meanwhile, yesterday Pakistan saw its highest rise in deaths in a single day from the coronavirus, with 17 new cases taking the country’s death toll from the highly contagious virus to at least 192, according to government data.

Monday also saw the highest single-day rise in cases in Pakistan, with 705 confirmed cases taking the country’s tally to 9,214.

The country has been easing its lockdown in order to stave off an economic crisis from stagnating growth.

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