By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
20 March 2020
In view of the global threat posed by Covid-19, the governments of Gulf countries have implemented mosque lockdown. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Iran have suspended five time collective prayers and Friday congregations in mosques in order to prevent the spread of Corona virus. In Saudi Arabia, only two holy mosques on Makka and Madina will remain open with certain restrictions. Following the decision of the Gulf countries, Pakistan also decided to keep Friday congregations in the country comparatively small, advising the old people and children not to come to the mosque as a precautionary measure.
In India, however, the decision of Mosque Lockdown did not receive general acceptance. In Kolkata, the decision of Mosque Lockdown was opposed and criticised by a section of ulema.
According to newspaper reports, the trustee of Nakhoda Masjid in Kolkata had advised Muslims to come to the mosque with their own prayer mats. He had also advised them to perform Wudhu at their homes and after the Namaz leave the mosque quickly. He had referred to the restrictions put by the Gulf countries. Reacting to the advisory issued by Nakhoda Masjid trustee, the President of Majlis-e-Ulema-Islam Maulana Mokhtar Alam Rizvi said that according to a Hadith, the mosque was the best place, and so putting restriction on entering it at the pretext of precaution against diseases was against the principles of Islam. If Corona Virus is a threat to health and life, medical remedies should be taken.
Restrictions on prayers was not acceptable, he said. He further said that the holy Prophet said that there is no Adwa that is diseases do not spread without the permission of Allah. There was no need to panic and Muslims should spend more time in mosques and pray for the protection of people from the epidemic. He exhorted Muslims to offer collective prayers in mosques. He further said that those who were advising Muslims to offer prayers at their homes were committing exploitation (Istehsal) of the Deen.
Another religious scholar, Maulana Sharafat Abrar Dinajpuri also criticised the statement of Nakhoda Masjid trustee saying that routine of the mosques should not be compromised. He advised Muslims to offer collective prayers in mosques, especially Friday prayers. He even advised Muslims to spend more time mosques.
Generally, the decision of Mosque Lockdown has not gone down well with Indian Muslims and there is no report of suspension of five collective prayers in mosques or Friday prayers.
S. Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com
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