Across India, mosques remain deserted as Muslims pray at home on Friday

Published on Mar 27, 2020 05:31 PM IST

The law board had tweeted on Thursday that “Muslims are recommended to offer Zuhur at home instead of praying Jumah at mosques. DON’T come out for congregational prayers.”

A Muslim woman wearing a protective mask following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease leaves after attending the Friday prayers at the Jama Masjid in the old quarters of Delhi on March 20, 2020.(Reuters file photo)
A Muslim woman wearing a protective mask following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease leaves after attending the Friday prayers at the Jama Masjid in the old quarters of Delhi on March 20, 2020.(Reuters file photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Amid the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, mosques on Friday afternoon remained deserted following an appeal by state governments and also the Personal Law Board that people should stay away from congregational prayers.

The law board had tweeted on Thursday that “Muslims are recommended to offer Zuhur at home instead of praying Jumah at mosques. DON’T come out for congregational prayers.”

Last Friday, several mosques saw people congregating for prayers despite health directives against crowding and appeals for maintaining social distance.

Every Friday, thousands of Muslims gathers to offer prayers. However, today the numbers could be counted on fingers. At most places, only five persons, comprising the imam, muezzin, and three mosque management people offered prayers.

In Kashmir, the grand mosque in downtown Srinagar, made an announcement and asked people not to visit the mosque. The announcement was made on loudspeakers on Thursday evening and all the gates were shut on Friday. Similarly, in the interiors across Jammu and Kashmir, all mosques remained shut.

‘Muezzins’ (those who call devotees to the mosque) have been advised to continue the five-time ‘Azaan’ as mandated by Islam, but not allow any gathering inside the mosque building or the compound.

The historic Mecca Majid near Charminar in Hyderabad, which usually hosts thousands of people on Fridays, wore a deserted look. The Jamia Nizamia, a renowned Islamic University had issued an edict stating that despite high significance attached to Friday prayers, “Islam also gives great importance to the preservation of human life. Islam urges Muslims not to become the cause of harm to anyone.”

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi had also made an appeal to people not to come to mosques for Friday prayers but confine themselves to their respective houses to conduct prayers.

However, in a related development an offence was registered against a Muslim cleric and 27 others, for allegedly defying the Covid-19 lockdown, by offering prayers at a mosque in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal city, police said on Friday.

The Imam of Zainab Masjid in Islampura and others organised prayers at 8 pm on Thursday, defying Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the nationwide lockdown, which has been put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus.

(With inputs from states)

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