Perak, Johor to allow mini congregations in first Friday prayers since MCO

Mosques nationwide have been shut since March, but may reopen soon under strict health guidelines.

PETALING JAYA: Islamic authorities in two states have allowed mosques and suraus to conduct Friday prayers starting tomorrow, but with strict guidelines which effectively prohibit the Muslim public from attending.

Authorities in Perak and Johor said only 12 people including the mosque imam and employees will be allowed to attend such prayers.

A similar condition also applies for Hari Raya prayers.

The states said mosques will remain shut to the public.

It is understood that several other states will follow suit with similar arrangements, some two months after the movement control order (MCO) declared on March 18 shut down mosques and suraus across the country.

Mosques will also have to implement various Covid-19 containment measures such as taking body temperatures and ensuring social distancing during prayers.

In statements by the Perak Islamic Religious Council & Malay Customs and the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ), mosques were also given permission to use external speakers to broadcast the Friday and Hari Raya sermons to nearby residents.

JAINJ said the unprecedented rules were justified by Islamic jurisprudence, based on the principle of avoiding harm.

It also said some scholars from the Shafi’i school of thought allow for a minimum number of 12 congregants to conduct the Friday prayer.

Last week, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Islamic authorities were fine-tuning SOPs for congregational prayers in mosques.

“The guidelines will be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay rulers as the heads of Islam for the federation and the respective states for approval.

“I believe with SOPs, mosques will be ready to be opened. The same goes for churches, Buddhist and Hindu temples and gurdwaras,” he said.

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