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Mosques withstand pandemic as Friday prayers carry coronavirus threat

by Pakistan Latest News Update

JAKARTA/ISTANBUL/MOGADISHU: The coronavirus stopped communal Muslim prayers for the primary time in dwelling reminiscence in lots of mosques from Indonesia to Morocco on Friday, however in some locations, believers have defied medical recommendation to affix collectively in worship.

In Islam’s holiest sanctuary in Makkah, the often crowded courtyard across the Holy Kaaba within the Grand Mosque, in the direction of which all Muslims pray, was silent and empty.

At Riyadh’s huge al-Rajhi mosque, solely the imam, the muezzin who provides the decision to prayer, and different workers have been praying inside as an alternative of the hundreds who usually attend.

“This feeling is indescribable … the minarets are crying. The mosques were once full of worshippers,” mentioned the muezzin, Nasser Mohammed, weeping.

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The Blue Mosque of Istanbul, with its pencil minarets and cascading domes, Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock underneath its gilt roof, and the large Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca with its ornate sq. minaret had all shut their doorways.

However in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest metropolis, mosques have been crowded as a cleric advised his congregation by way of loudspeaker: “We are not too weak to let this one virus empty our mosques.”

Elsewhere, Muslims flocked to mosques from Cairo to Mogadishu, regardless of the dangers.

“I am not telling you to reject the preventative measures, but there is too much exaggeration of coronavirus,” Sheikh Abdi Hayi in Mogadishu mentioned in his sermon, as individuals prayed on the road, unable to affix the throng inside.

However because the pandemic unfold, some governments suspended communal prayers or closed mosques completely, leaving lots of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to wish at residence, at work, in parks or on the street.

A non secular gathering in Malaysia final month, attended by 16,000 individuals, generated 670 coronavirus instances in 4 nations in Southeast Asia. Weekly prayers have been later referred to as off in Malaysia

Crowded shrines in Iran helped speed up the unfold of one of many largest outbreaks of the coronavirus to date.

‘I’m not operating away from corona’

Many Muslims within the Indonesian capital Jakarta prayed at residence, and Southeast Asia’s largest mosque, the Istiqlal, stopped prayers.

Its imam, Nasaruddin Umar, cited an edict from the nation’s clerical council. “There’s enough of a reason to avoid such religious gatherings,” he advised a information convention.

Nevertheless, elsewhere on the earth’s most populous Muslim nation, individuals crowded into their mosques.

Outdoors the Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, named for the 15th century Ottoman sultan who captured town from the Byzantine empire, 85-year-old Mustafa Emin Ozbakan stood bereft.

He has been praying there since 1941. “I’m not running away from corona. Even if I ran, if death is in your destiny, you can have a traffic accident or die some other way,” he mentioned.

‘Islamic promotes life, not death’

In Cairo, the place mosques stayed open, spiritual authorities urged imams to shorten sermons and prayers and mentioned the trustworthy ought to carry out their ritual ablutions at residence.

However Mohamed Mosleh, a 31-year-old praying on the al-Azhar mosque, mentioned he was not involved.

“Why should I be afraid to go out, shop, work, pray or go anywhere else? But only after taking precautions, taking care of my hygiene, and all those rules that Islam dictates,” he mentioned.

However from Morocco to Libya, governments have shut mosques, a step by no means earlier than taken even in occasions of battle or revolution.

Some mosques broadcast an altered model of the decision to prayer, exhorting the trustworthy to remain at residence.

An Algerian knowledgeable in Islamic regulation, Mohamed Mouloudi, mentioned it was the fitting resolution: “Islam promotes life, not death.”

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In Jerusalem, the place the Dome of the Rock and the neighbouring al-Aqsa have closed, clerics allowed prayer within the sacred compound that comprises the 2 mosques. Some worshippers scuffled with Israeli police, who tried to restrict the numbers.

In Syria, already laid low with battle, the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus closed for the primary recorded time in over a thousand years.

Buthaina, 44, who had prayed there for years, felt as if she had misplaced her residence. “I don’t want to leave. I just want to sit here a bit,” she mentioned after praying exterior.

In Nairobi, Kenya’s largest mosque was additionally closed.

“We, as Muslims pray to God to help us overcome this disaster because as you can see, we are praying on the verandas, all the mosques are closed,” mentioned worshipper Abdalla Hakim.


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