Dhaka, Bangladesh
Congregation in mosques restricted

Congregation in mosques restricted

Devotees asked to offer daily prayers at home

Mazharul Islam Mitchel: Maximum mosques, including the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, in the city hosted the daily prayers on a limited scale from Monday in line with an official order meant for preventing mass viral infection. The Islamic Foundation Bangladesh has advised the devotees not to attend congregation in mosques, as reports have it that such religious gatherings of various faiths led to large-scale attack by the menacing pandemic Covid-19. Some mosques in the city also closed after hearing about the notice, sources said. The Islamic Foundation Monday urged all Muslim devotees to offer prayers at home to help prevent rapid spreading of coronavirus. The foundation also called for keeping limited the participation of the devotees in Jummah to 10 and five-time regular prayers to 5. The Ministry of Religious Affairs issued Monday an emergency notice restricting the congregation, saying: ''A maximum of 10 devotees can attend the Jummah prayers on Friday in mosques.'' The ministry also asked other religious believers not to congregate at any place to perform religious rituals rather they were asked to say prayers at home. Earlier on Saturday, the foundation urged all Muslims to say prayers on the night of the holy Shab-e-Barat at their respective home in the wake of novel coronavirus outbreak. '‘All have been specially requested to say prayers on the night of Shab- e-Barat on April 9 staying at their respective home,’' said an IF statement. This correspondent visited some mosques in Mirpur, Kalyanpur, Paltan, Motijeel, Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Badda and Gulshan areas and found that maximum mosques opened their gates only five minutes before daily prayer time. Sumon Hayder, a resident of Duaripara, told The News Today that the Duaripara Wasa Staff Mosque was closed. Only few WASA staff residents had chance to enter the mosque. The mosque committee also requested to offer sunnat and nafal prayers at home and go to mosques during the congregations. Finishing the faraz namaj, they announce 'go back home quickly'. Harunur Rashid, a committee member of Jheelpar mosque in Mirpur-12, said they had requested all devotees to say prayer at home. Maximum mosque committees also requested sick devotees for staying home, he added. Harun also said Imam, Muezzin (Ajan reciter) and only mosque khadem (helper) may come to the mosques, and also added that the recitation of ajan by the muezzin will be held at every prayer time. The number of Muslim mosque-goers last Friday was much lower compared to the usual gatherings during Jumma prayers. Those who went to the mosques were seen wearing masks while offering prayers and many stood in rows maintaining a short distance from each other. Imam Mawlana Mufti Muhiuddin Kasem of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque said that nearly 50,000 to 1 lakh Muslims pray at the mosque every Friday. ''But today we have less than 3,000 devotees, which is painful for me and all of us,'' he said. “We are passing through a difficult time. We should repent and follow the guidance of Islam,” the imam further said. He echoed the Islamic Foundation instructions on only healthy people attending prayers at the mosques. “Now nobody knows who is healthy and who is not. Therefore, we should maintain social distance and avoid large gatherings.” Kasem said mosques will remain open and will call the devotees to prayer. The imam, muezzin and mosque caretakers will also be at the mosques during prayer time. But Mawlana Kasem reminded people to obey the government order of staying home. “It is our religious obligation to coordinate with the administration and law enforcers.” The imam of the national mosque also urged the affluent people of society to lend a hand to the marginalised people. Maulana Nurul Amin, an imam of Chan Khaa Jame Masjid in Bangshal’s Shikkatuli, said they offered special prayers for the safety of the people after Jumma. “We read the khutba in short as per the instructions of the government and urged people to be conscious about the virus,” he added. “Under these circumstances, only Almighty Allah can save us. We recited duas which are to be read at times of danger, as recommended by the Prophet (pbuh),” he said. Abdul Hamil, a devotee at a mosque in Old Dhaka, said the Muslims are going to the mosques by exercising caution. “We are in a panic. We wore masks while offering prayers,” he said.

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