A group of more than 50 senior clerics in Pakistan have warned the government against a ban on religious congregations amid a coronavirus outbreak and said authorities should obey religious norms and allow more worshipers in mosques to ask forgiveness from God. The government has banned prayer congregations of more than five people as part of its steps to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has infected more than 5,715 people in Pakistan.
Despite the government’s request to observe social distance, more than 53 senior Rawalpindi and Islamabad clerics belonging to Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia on Monday held a meeting in Jamia Darul Uloom Zakria here to discuss the ban on worshipers, Dawn News reported.
The meeting, which was attended by clerics representing various seminaries, forbidden groups, forbidden people and political and non-political parties, warned authorities against the ban and said government leaders must obey religious norms and seek forgiveness.
The warning comes before the government can make plans to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the holy month of Ramazan, which will begin in the last week of April. Pir Azizur Rehman Hazarvi, president of Jamia Darul Uloom Zakaria in Islamabad, said,
“Closing mosques, closing Friday prayers and Taraweeh cannot be accepted by villagers.”
Hazarvi, who is also the protector of Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), insisted that to get rid of the virus, it was very important to seek forgiveness from Allah and increase the population in mosques.
A video clip released by scholars on Tuesday showed leaders of various political and non-political organizations, including JUI-F, Aalmi Tanzeem Khatam-i-Nabuwat, seminaries such as Taleem ul Quran Raja Bazar and representatives of the forbidden group Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat sits next to each other. The meeting did not recognize the official direction of a maximum of five people in the mosque for joint prayers because the cleric said that the testing time required more time for prayer and announced that in addition to the five daily prayers, Friday and Taraweeh worshipers would continue.
However, the scholars agreed to take precautions such as the use of hand sanitizers, removing rugs and carpets, washing the floor, cleaning hands with soap and maintaining social distance. Hazarvi said,
“Senior scholars have noted that all efforts will be made to avoid clashes and confrontations with government and state institutions.”
The Lal Masjid cleric, Maulana Abdul Aziz also continues to challenge the Islamabad Region (ICT) administrative authority by openly scoffing at prescribed preventative measures, the report said. Every week, Aziz releases recordings of large congregations collected for Friday prayers, condemning restrictions imposed. by the government. As a result, the number of mosques organizing large Friday congregations has increased in Islamabad.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Health Services on Tuesday said 342 new COVID-19 cases had been registered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 5,716.
Punjab recorded a maximum number of 2,826 cases, followed by Sindh in 1,452, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 800, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) 233, Balochistan 231, Islamabad 131 and Kashmir (PoK) occupied by Pakistan 43. While 1,378 people had recovered, 96 died and 46 were in critical condition, the ministry said. A total of 69,928 tests have been carried out, including 3,157 over the past 24 hours, he said.
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