ISLAMABAD: An important meeting between religious scholars from all denominations is currently underway to decide on whether religious congregations and Friday prayers should be suspended during the coronavirus outbreak.
President Arif Alvi is presiding over the meeting at President House.
Scholars from all four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) are attending the meeting through video link from governor houses across the country. Those from Islamabad and Rawalpindi are physically present in the meeting.
The president will apprise the scholars about the fatwa issued by Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, permitting suspension of Friday prayers to control the spread of the novel coronavirus across Pakistan.
After consulting the scholars, the president will announce important decisions regarding these matters. In this regard, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri and Chairman of The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Dr Qibla Ayaz are advising the president.
Earlier, President Alvi, through Egypt’s ambassador in Pakistan, had sought guidance from Al-Azhar institution, an authority on Islamic injunctions, for a word on the suspension of congregational prayers at mosques amid the spike in coronavirus cases.
The institution issued an edict on the matter yesterday, in which it stressed that public gatherings, including congregational prayers at mosques, could result in the spread of coronavirus and the governments of Muslim countries had full jurisdiction to cancel such events.
The fatwa also emphasised on amending the Azaan (call to prayer) with words ‘Salaat Fi Buyut-e-kum’, meaning ‘pray in your homes’ instead of the usual ‘Hayya Ala Al Salah’ (come to prayer). Also, families within their homes can arrange group prayers, it added.