President Alvi presides meeting to decide on religious congregations

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi is meeting with scholars to decide if religious congregations and Friday prayers should be suspended amid coronavirus outbreak.

The meeting is underway at the President House, attended by religious scholars from all provinces, Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan through a video link while the scholars and molvis, living in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, are present at the Presidency.

Mr. Alvi and scholars will also discuss the recent fatwa issued by Al-Azhar University of Egypt that permits Pakistan to suspend the congregation and sermons of Fridays during the pandemic coronavirus.

The decision will be announced after consulting the scholars. The President is accompanied by Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, and Dr. Qibla Ali, Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman.

Last week, Mr. President consulted Al Azhar Institution regarding suspension of congregations during the virus.

The institute gave its answer yesterday and said that public gatherings in congregation can result in transmission of virus. It further said that jurisdiction has right to suspend them.

The fatwa mentioned to amend the Azhan (call to prayer) as well. It says that Haya Ala All Salah (come to prayer) should be changed to Salaat Fi Buyut-e-kum (Prayer at home) during the pandemic to restrict people to their homes.