Religious Affairs Minister Dr Zulkifli Issues COVID-19 Guidelines Regarding Friday Prayers

It comes after a man who had attended a religious gathering of 10,000 people at Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

Cover image via Bernama & The Borneo Post

The current COVID-19 situation in Malaysia with 123 active cases remains under control, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

In light of which, today, 12 March, Religious Affairs Minister Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri said that Friday prayers can continue.

The minister, however, added that there are several conditions that should be undertaken.

For example, the people should perform (wuduk) ablution at home before heading to the mosque and the sermon needs to be shortened to reduce the chances of the congregation being exposed, Dr Zulkifli said.

Wabak Covid 19: Solat Jumaat

Posted by Datuk Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri on Wednesday, 11 March 2020

He issued a four-point guideline, in which he notes:

If the COVID-19 outbreak remains under control (according to MOH), Friday prayers should continue under several conditions:

  1. Khutbah (sermon) is shortened
  2. People should perform wuduk (ablution) at home
  3. Those with COVID-19 symptoms do not need to attend Friday prayers because they are considered as sickly
  4. Mosque management or the congregation is obligated to prepare hand sanitiser and face masks as a preventive and safety measure.

Image via The Borneo Post

The minister added that in the event when the Ministry of Health declares that the situation in the country has worsened, then Friday prayers can be cancelled and replaced with Zohor prayers

If the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread without control (according to MOH):

  1. Friday prayers are allowed to be not performed, but should be replaced with Zohor prayers at one's own house.
  2. In this matter, there are several guidelines:
  • The ban has to be issued by an authoritative figure such as MOH
  • The ban has to include all manner of activities and assemblies whether official or not
  • The outbreak has already shown its effects and there are several individuals who are tested COVID-19 positive in the area
  • The authority figure such as MOH has already conducted comprehensive tests on the congregation who attended the mosque or surau in the expected period of the outbreak.

The guidelines regarding Friday prayers comes after a man who had attended a religious gathering of 10,000 people at Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur tested positive for the coronavirus disease:

A Bruneian man who attended the event was the first to test positive:

SAYS Copy Editor Alyssa J. Oon contributed to this story.

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