The Jakarta Post
Most mosques in Tangerang, Banten are holding Friday prayers on March 20 despite a warning from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to suspend the mass prayers, especially in areas hit by COVID-19.
Friday prayers at mosques are commonly believed to be obligatory for Muslim men in place of noon prayer. Before praying, a sermon is given that can last up to 45 minutes.
Keepers at Great Al-Azhom Mosque in Tangerang said they would still hold Friday prayers with a shorter sermon. They also advised the congregation to bring their own prayer mats.
The MUI previously issued a fatwa advising Muslims against praying in congregation in areas where COVID-19 had spread “uncontrollably”, including skipping “Friday prayers in those areas until the situation returns to normal”.
The council has also urged the government to map areas with outbreaks of COVID-19 following the fatwa.
Al-Azhom mosque keeper Chaerudin, however, said the decision to hold Friday prayers was made after consulting with MUI Tangerang.
“Because as of now, Tangerang is not a red zone [where COVID-19 has spread uncontrollably]. So we’ve agreed to hold Friday prayers,” Chaerudin said Friday as quoted by kompas.com.
He also said the mosque would be disinfected and cleaned beforehand, adding that the mosque’s keepers would check the body temperature of attendees at the mosque gates.
“If someone has a fever, we will tell them to go home,” he said, as the fatwa also prohibited individuals with COVID-19 from attending congregational prayers. (mfp)