Mosques across Perlis today Fri (13 Mar) are set to be vacant as the king of the northernmost state in Peninsular Malaysia has decreed that Friday prayers are to be replaced by Zuhur prayers at home.
President of the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPS) Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail said that the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, issued the decree after being consulted by the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) on COVID-19, as well as irshad (religious guidance) from the Perlis Fatwa Committee.
Tuanku Syed Faizuddin, who is also the Raja Muda or younger king of Perlis, added that the move was made in tandem with MOH’s advice to avoid any large-scale gatherings including those of a religious nature.
Muslims on an individual level should also practice precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus, he said.
Singapore’s national religious authority has also implemented the cancellation of Friday prayers today in a range of preventative measures to halt the spread of COVID-19.
The Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) yesterday issued a directive instructing mosques islandwide to cease all operations and services from 12am today to 11:59pm on Tue (17 Mar).
Mosques across Singapore will be closed during the period for the purpose of cleaning and disinfecting.
The directive, penned by Senior Director at the Mosque and Community Development of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore Mr Helmy Md Isa, will take effect immediately.
This directive was issued following two new cases of Singapore citizens who were tested positive with COVID-19. The two men had attended a mass religious gathering held at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur from 27 Feb to 1 Mar.
A review will be conducted next Mon (16 Mar) on the state of hygiene and cleanliness at the mosques before an order to reopen mosques is given.
To maintain critical mosque services, mosque staff are permitted to work from home and to carry out their work online as an alternative to physical contact.
Mosques are also expected to make the necessary arrangements to ensure the security of mosque premises during the shutdown.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a broadcast yesterday evening (12 Mar) urged Singaporeans to adopt precautionary measures before attending any gatherings, including religious ones.
Mr Lee in his speech said that in critical times such as the present COVID-19 situation, he hopes that Singaporeans will “understand and support practical measures” such as reducing the number of congregants or shortening sermons in places of worship as a means to protect the health and safety of devotees.
“In South Korea, the cases spread through the Shincheonji church group. In Singapore, two of our big clusters happened in church groups … The issue is of course not religion itself, but that the virus can spread quickly to many people in crowded settings, like religious gatherings and services.
“That is why Saudi Arabia temporarily stopped umrah pilgrimages and the Pope live-streamed his sermons to avoid crowds on Saint Peter’s Square.
“I hope Singaporeans understand that during this period we may need to shorten religious services, or reduce our attendance at such gatherings. Please work with your religious leaders to make these practical adjustments,” he said.