Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Noor-ul-Haq Qadri has said that the federal government has decided to ‘restrain’ Friday congregational prayers as new cases of the novel coronavirus continue to emerge across the country.
Addressing a news conference here on Thursday, Dr Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said, “It has been decided with a consensus that Friday prayers will be ‘restrained’. Only mosques’ administration staff and a limited number of worshippers will be allowed to pray inside mosques.”
Mosques will not be closed but prayers and zikr will continue inside them, he clarified adding that the decision had been taken in consultation with ulema belonging to various schools of thought.
Minister Religious Affairs said, “Ulema have been told to tell people to pray inside their homes. It is not only the job of the government to control coronavirus but also of the people.”
He said that various programmes, classes and examinations across various religious seminaries across the country had been postponed in light of the outbreak.
Dr Qadri said that the government was in constant touch with the Saudi foreign office. “Saudi authorities have asked us not to take any final steps [regarding Hajj agreement] before they give the green signal,” he said.
He said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will take the final decision on Hajj 2020 after holding consultations with the heads of various Islamic countries.
“Islam teaches us that the one offering the prayer is more important than the prayer itself,” he said. “Governments across the world are making decisions according to the evolving situation. We are doing the same,” he added.