In Kerala, Friday prayers cut short; mosque panel booked for allowing 500 odd crowd
Elsewhere in the state, most mosques were deserted as people offered prayers from their homes following the Kerala government holding a meeting with many religious bodies requesting them not to hold gatherings in the wake of the Covid-19 virus.Updated: Mar 20, 2020 22:59 IST
There was lesser attendance than usual at mosques for Friday congregational prayers following sermons by top clerics urging people to offer only obligatory prayers in mosques and rest in their homes.
In Kerala, the police registered a case against a mosque committee in Kannur for allowing mass prayers attended by over 500 people. Mass prayer was also held in Pilathara Juma masjid flouting the directive of the district administration, police said.
Elsewhere in the state, most mosques were deserted as people offered prayers from their homes following the Kerala government holding a meeting with many religious bodies requesting them not to hold gatherings in the wake of the Covid-19 virus.
At the historic Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, little impact of Covid-19 threat was seen, as usual, Muslims turned up for prayers in large numbers.
“There were at least 4,000 to 5,000 people who offered Namaz at Mecca Masjid as was the case with every Friday. However, there were no Jummah Urdu sermons by the religious heads after the prayers and the people dispersed quietly,” Mohammad Shafeeq, who offered the prayers at the mosque said.
At the other major mosques in Hyderabad, however, Friday prayers were cut short and ended quickly without any further speeches. The prayers were restricted to within the mosque and the Muslims did not spill over to the roads which happen on normal Fridays.
The J&K government had expanded the restrictions to more areas and rural towns to prevent people from moving out as a precautionary measure on Wednesday. On Friday, there were more restrictions on ground and people were not allowed to move on the roads. At many places, police had sealed roads leading towards the main markets and only government employees and people associated with essential services were allowed to move on the roads, officials said.
Prominent mosques in Uttar Pradesh known for holding massive congregations wore a deserted look on Friday as the majority of Muslims preferred to offer ‘namaaz’ either at the smaller mosques near their homes or stay at home. Some prominent mosques also remained shut while others reduced the ‘namaaz’ timings.
This break with the tradition was an outcome of the appeals which Shia and Sunni clerics made a day before, asking the ‘namazis’ to cooperate in keeping a check on the coronavirus outbreak in Uttar Pradesh.
“It was a general appeal which we made in the public interest. I am happy that the ‘namaazis’ listened and offered ‘namaz’ in the mosques closer to their houses or at their homes,” said Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali, a Sunni cleric and Imam of Eidgah, the most preferred place among Sunni Muslims to offer ‘namaz’.
Being Friday, the mosque close to the Patna Junction and elsewhere in Bihar also witnessed a good gathering of devotees, though the number reduced from earlier.
Anisur Rahman Qasmi, Nazim of Imarat Shariah, Phulwarisharif said that instructions had been issued to devotees to maintain distance at the time of prayer and maintain hygiene. “Many people offer prayers at home. We also educate those who come about preventive steps in view of coronavirus. We tell them to perform ‘wuzu’ at home, carry own carpet and maintain a safe distance while offering namaaz,” he added.
Friday prayers were offered in all parts of West Bengal but with precautions in regard to Jamaat. The Bengal Imams Association announced on Thursday that prayers will be held at mosques as usual.
Pirzada Jiauddin Siddiqui of the famous Furfura Sharif shrine in Hooghly district, said, “People offering prayers maintained a distance from each other although the Quran say that Jamaat brings blessing upon us. The imams have asked people to pray from home.”
In Durgapur town of West Burdwan, where there is a high concentration of Muslims, people kept a distance of one metre from each other while offering prayers, said Dr A F Azizur Rahaman, president, Durgapur Muslim Welfare Society.
The Karnataka State Board of Auqaf had also directed all mosques in the state that Jamath Salah (Friday special prayers) shall be offered in minimum time and (people) disbursed at the earliest. In Goa also, shorter prayers were offered at local mosques.
(With state inputs).