Since the world-famous Al-Azhar University announced on Wednesday that the government has the right to ban daily prayers and Friday sermons in mosques due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, religious leaders in Pakistan said daily prayers they will continue to offer themselves in the mosque.
In the fatwa, Al-Azhar said that the public gatherings and prayers on Friday led to the spread of the coronavirus. He noted that older people should stay home and avoid visiting mosques for daily or Friday prayers.
Al-Azhar University also encouraged people to offer prayers in their homes and said that the call to prayers (azan) should be changed in those circumstances. The fatwa was issued after President Arif Alvi contacted an accredited institution on the subject during the coronavirus pandemic, as experts have called for bans at public gatherings, including in places of worship.
Countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iran have already imposed various restrictions or have banned daily and Friday prayers in mosques.
On the other hand, religious leaders from all schools of thought at a press conference in Karachi shared a statement that mosques will be open for daily prayers and on Fridays. However, they said the government may impose restrictions based on age or health status. They said that people should offer Farz in mosques, and Sunnis, Navafil and Wajib in their homes.
They also noted that people should go to the mosque after bathing in their homes. Regarding Friday’s sermons, religious leaders said those who were sick or cared for older family members could instead offer daily Zuhar prayers. They also said that people over 50 and children should not come to the mosque.