The Jakarta Post
To contain the spread of COVID-19, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has called on all Muslims nationwide to maintain health protocols when celebrating and praying on Idul Adha (Day of Sacrifice), which falls on Friday.
Repeating previous calls from the Religious Affairs Ministry and Muslim groups, the MUI fatwa commission secretary, Asrorun Niam Sholeh, advised people living in areas at high risk of COVID-19 transmission to pray at home.
“Those living in considerably safer areas are allowed to perform mass prayers in mosques but they must comply with strict health protocols. Use masks, perform wudhu [ablution rituals] at home, bring our own sajadah [praying mat] and maintain a physical distance,” Asrorun said through a written statement on Tuesday.
“We need to focus on our health. If we are unfit or carrying preexisting diseases, it is advisable for us to pray from home.”
Residents who wish to perform qurban (animal sacrifice) for Idul Adha are suggested to go to abattoirs in order to prevent crowds during the ritual. In addition, the MUI recommended that qurban be done by professionals.
“We must pay attention to the cattle’s health conditions,” Asrorun said, adding that the cattle should meet the requirement for qurban – proper age and good health.
He also called on qurban procession committees or religious social institutions to distribute the qurban meat directly to those in need and prevent any large crowds from forming during the qurban.
The MUI had previously warned that, given the current pandemic, distributing the meat immediately after the ritual might pose a health risk. Thus, it suggested the qurban meat be processed into canned food or cooked as rendang before being distributed.
The council through its fatwa permits the distribution of qurban meat at a later time after Idul Adha, suggesting that any excess meat should be preserved instead of thrown out.
During this year’s Idul Adha, Indonesia’s second-largest Islamic group, Muhammadiyah, encouraged Muslims to convert their qurban into sadaqah (alms) to help those who have been hit hard by the pandemic.