Friday prayer ban an option, says Putrajaya as it issues guideline on Covid-19

Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri says the relevant health authorities will be empowered to prohibit Friday congregations if the Covid-19 situation worsens.

PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya says it will consider issuing a directive to mosques to cancel the weekly Friday prayers if the Covid-19 pandemic does not show signs of improvement in the coming days.

Newly appointed minister in charge of Islamic affairs, Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri, also issued a four-point guideline for Muslims attending religious congregations, following health authorities’ confirmation that a man who attended a three-day convention at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur had contracted Covid-19.

The guideline includes an advisory for Muslims to perform their ablutions at home before coming to the mosque, as well as a directive to shorten Friday sermons.

Zulkifli also announced that mosques must provide hand sanitisers and face masks as a precaution.

“Those showing Covid-19 symptoms should not attend Friday prayers,” he added.

Yesterday, the health ministry appealed to some 5,000 participants of the tabligh movement, a loose missionary group which makes Masjid Seri Petaling their base for weekly gatherings, to report to the nearest government clinic to conduct tests.

Zulkifli said in the event that the situation worsens, Friday congregations would be cancelled and could be replaced with the regular noon prayer.

But he said such a directive could only be issued by the health ministry.

“It also includes all official and non-official events and gatherings,” he said.

He said officials are aware of Covid-19 cases being detected at mosques and have conducted tests on those suspected of exposure to the virus.