Parliament: Social distancing for Friday prayers to be maintained for time being


THE social distancing rules among congregants performing Friday prayers will be maintained for the time being, according to Religious Affairs Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.

He said this was deemed necessary after taking into consideration the views of the National Security Council (MKN) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) following the spread of COVID-19.

“To justify this, we have referred to international Islamic scholars, including the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, the Mufti of Egypt as well as the ulama in Saudi Arabia,” he said in reply to Khalid Abd Samad (PH-Shah Alam) who wanted to know about the standard operating procedures (SOP) for Friday prayers, during question time at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

Zulkifli said throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO), the Special Muzakarah Committee of the National Council on Islamic Religious Affairs of Malaysia (MKI) had convened seven meetings to discuss the issues related to religious activities.

Never in history that the committee had to convene so many meetings in a short period of time, he said.

Nevertheless, he said it was through those meetings that the SOP had been able to be drafted with the cooperation from the MKN and MOH, which include the methods for worship during Ramadan, prayer rows, sacrificial rituals, Aidilfitri prayer, online solemnisation ceremony, and COVID-19 screening and test for Muslims during Ramadan.

“Taking into account the need for Muslims to understand the COVID-19 pandemic from the religious point of view, I have personally taken the initiative to author two books title Inilah Doaku and Soal Jawab Fiqh COVID-19.

“These books are available for free at the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs). It was also reported that over 50,000 visitors of our website had downloaded the books, not including those who had circulated it via WhatsApp and Telegram Messenger,” he said in reply to Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli (PAS-Dungun) who asked about the government efforts to solve religious issues related to COVID-19.