Congregation prayers to start in Ramadan
Prominent Mufti, Muneeb Rehman announced congregation prayers to start in mosques with the start of fasting month Ramadan. He announced this soon after the government lifted lockdown from specific workers like tailors, mechanics builders, tailors, electricians, plumbers, etc. As these exceptions were given, Mullahs also announced that they would be attending the prayers from now onwards and also during Ramadan. All through this announcement, the words that were used were harsh, and he even targeted the government and armed agencies to stay in limit and let people do their religious obligations.
These congregation prayers are mostly longer than 8 hours, and people join them the insignificant number, now that mufti has announced to hold Taraweeh in all mosques around the country, people with strong religious beliefs are bound to come out. Mufti has a following big base as he also announces the start of the fasting month every year. The risk of COVID-19 to hit a significant number has now skyrocketed after this announcement.
Mufti and other religious scholars now have refused to comply with a lockdown on Taraweeh prayers anymore. Mufti Muneeb and Mufti Taqi Usmani notably announced that congregation prayers would be held in all mosques, particularly Taraweeh, during Ramadan.
Mullahs have become so powerful that they State can’t control them; in more than two dozen countries congregation prayers aren’t made, but in Pakistan, the mullah community is not complying. The number of COVID-19 cases is rising, and the government has no plan of lifting lockdown in significant cities of Pakistan as educational institutions are closed, and so market this announcement by mullah community is going against the government.
Every kind of religious gathering is stopped in almost all Muslim countries as they know the gravity of this pandemic; the same was supposed to be done by the Pakistan religious community. Still, now that they have announced the congregation prayers to be held regularly, it makes us question the ability of government to keep the lockdown over the country.
It should be pointed out that Hajj is canceled for this year, and Makkah was also closed down for the time being to deal with COVID-19 and to stop its spreading. If Hajj could be canceled due to pandemic, why couldn’t be mosques closed for the time being, not only congregation was announced to he held it’s also was announced that mosques are not liable to lockdown anymore. He also used street language “chawal” for Pakistanis on live Television.
The thing that should be noted that the COVID-19 cases increase allegedly because of religious gatherings of many sects. What would be the point of keeping the rest of lockdown over the country, risking business and economy if people are going to gather together in a significant number for congregation prayers, is the question that comes to the mind of everyone. Risk of people taking COVID-19 with them to their families would be much higher if such prayers are held risking all people who are staying at homes.
People are divided in their opinions regarding this announcement by Mufti, and some are calling him a hero for daring to stand against government in the name of Islam and Ramadan, others are calling him selfish and senseless for risking lives of many when even religion states that one should stay away from gatherings in times of pandemic.
More than 20 countries have banned the congregation prayers and also not yet announced the lifting of ban even when Ramadan is coming. The question arises of how other Muslim countries can have control over their people to lay down a full lockdown and why it doesn’t seem possible in Pakistan. Mullahs have always been threatening governments in time of needs, and they know how to pull a string to fulfill their demands, would they be able to do this now and come out of their houses despite lockdown is yet be answered.
By: Zaynab Shinwari