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ISLAMABAD: While expressing satisfaction over the government’s approach towards lockdown, Ulema and Mashaikh of different schools of thought assured Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday they would fully implement the agreed guidelines on congregational prayers during Ramazan in letter and spirit.
They gave the assurance to the government at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Ulema of different sects attended the meeting, which was held at PM Office, while some joined it through video link.
The Ulema told the prime minister that a distance of three feet between worshippers would be maintained during collective prayers and Taraweeh at mosques. Earlier during a consultative meeting between religious scholars and President Arif Alvi, a 20-point plan was approved for preventive measures against coronavirus during prayers in Ramazan that bound mosque committees to form congregational rows by maintaining a distance of six feet between worshippers.
A source privy to the meeting at the PM Office said that Ulema thanked the prime minister for adopting a balanced approach for lockdown by allowing some businesses to run and giving some relief to mosques to hold congregational prayers, especially during Ramazan.
Mr Khan accepted a suggestion for a relief package for khateebs and muezzins at mosques, besides deferring utility bills of mosques and Imambargahs, the PM’s aide on information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan later told the media. She said the prime minister also assured the Ulema that the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) would also conduct classes for the students of seminaries.
At the meeting, she added, it was agreed that the coming Friday would be observed as “Yaum-i-Tauba and Yaum-i-Rehmat” so that the nation sought forgiveness and blessing of the Almighty to save the humanity from the deadly coronavirus.
The meeting was attended by Pir Aminul Hasanat Shah, Pir Shams-ul-Amin, Pir Naqib-ur-Rehman, Maulana Mohammad Hanif Jalandhari, Maulana Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, Maulana Hamidul Haq Haqqani, Hafiz Ghulam Mohammad Sialvi, Allama Raja Nasir Abbas, Sahibzada Pir Sultan Fayyaz Hussain, Mufti Maulana Syed Charagh Din Shah and Maulana Ziaullah Shah.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Mufti Munib-ur-Rehman, Allama Shehenshah Hussain Naqvi and Mufti Taqi Usmani also attended the meeting through a video link.
Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood, Special Assistant to PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz were also present.
Later, PM Khan, while chairing another meeting to review the Covid-19 situation, said: “Ulema themselves have taken responsibility of implementation of the guidelines.”
According to the 20-point agreement, there will be no carpets in mosques and Imambargahs. People will be encouraged to bring their own prayer mats; social distancing will be observed; people will be advised to refrain from discussions in mosques; mosques which have compounds will hold prayers outside rather than inside the building; elderly and sick people will not come to mosques; Taraweeh arrangements will be made only on mosque premises, not on roads; people will be encouraged to offer Taraweeh at home; mosque floors will be washed with chlorine disinfectants; prayer mats will also be disinfected with chlorine mixture; congregational rows will be formed with a six-foot distance between worshippers; committees will be formed to ensure preventive steps are followed; ablution should be performed at home; mandatory wearing masks at mosques; no handshakes or hugs will be allowed; worshippers will refrain from touching their faces; people will be encouraged to perform Aitekaf [prayers in isolation] at home; no preparations for sehri and iftar will be made in mosques; mosque administration will remain in contact with local police and cooperate with them; mosque administration and police will be asked to ensure social distancing is maintained during prayers and the government can review and change any part of its policy on mosques during Ramazan if these measures are not followed or the rise in Covid-19 cases is exponential.
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