Friday prayers to continue, says minister

It is also proposed for the mosque to provide hand sanitiser and mask as the safety and preventive measure

by AFIQ AZIZ/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

FRIDAY prayers will continue as usual as long as Covid-19 is classified as “under control” by the Health Ministry.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri (picture) said only those who have the Covid-19 symptoms are exempted to attend Friday prayer as they are categorised as the ill patient.

Zulkifli also recommended for some adjustments to be made, such as shortening the Friday sermon timing so the interactions among the crowd could be minimised.

“It is also proposed for the mosque to provide hand sanitiser and mask as the safety and preventive measure, while people should also perform ablution at home instead of at the mosque,” Zulkifli said.

The ministry, he said, has proposed five paperwork to the National Fatwa Committee to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, especially in relation to Muslim and Islamic activities.

It involves Friday prayer, handshakes, wedding events, funeral management involving Covid-19 cases and other recommendations pertaining to the outbreak.

“We estimate this will be included in the fatwa council within the next two to three days before announcing it to the public,” he said.

Zulkifli was asked to comment on the Covid-19, which has infected a Bruneian citizen who attended a four-day Tabligh gathering from Feb 27 to March 1, 2020, at Masjid Sri Petaling, Selangor.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said around 10,000 people from several countries had participated in the event in which more than half were Malaysians.

Dr Noor Hisham has advised those who had attended the gathering to swiftly contact their nearest district health office or Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre to avoid further spread of the disease.

Relating to this, Zulkifli advised Malaysians to postpone their gathering plan.

He said this also applied to non-religion act ivit ies, except for any crucial and unavoidable programme.

In terms of performing the weekly Friday prayer, Zulkifli recommended that the Friday prayer will be an obligation, he added.

On March 5, Muslims’ two holiest sites in Mecca and Madinah were closed for a 23-hour cleaning, a week after Saudi Arabia banned visitors in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak on Feb 27.

The region is central to the faith of 1.8 billion Muslims across the world receiving millions of visitors daily.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation declared the Covid-19 a global pandemic after it has rapidly spread to more than 121,000 people from Asia to the Middle East, Europe and the US, killing about 4,300 within the last three months.

In Malaysia, while 26 cases have been fully recovered — the health authority reported an increase of positive cases in its second wave since Feb 27.

As of yesterday, 158 confirmed cases were recorded with 123 of them are undergoing treatment. Another 600 samples are still under examination.

Meanwhile, Zulkifli — the first mufti appointed to helm a ministry — clocked in for his duty yesterday.

The former Federal Territories mufti said he will continue with policies from the previous Pakatan Harapan government that are beneficial for the country.

Zulkifli started the first day with a long list of appointments, with 15 meetings mainly with the agency leaders under his supervision including Pusat Pungutan Zakat, Lembaga Tabung Haji and a group from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia.