Mass praying with social distancing acceptable in the situation: Fatwa Majlis

First Hajj since the Covid-19 Pandemic, July 2020 | Photo: Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Male’, Maldives —The highest union of Islamic scholars in the Maldives, Fatwa Majlis has stated that it is acceptable for prayers to continue at the mosques with social distancing considering the pandemic situation the country is facing.

The Fatwa Majlis has today released their stance according to Islam in conducting prayers in the mosque with social distancing.

According to Fatwa Majlis, several difficulties are faced in attempting to conduct some of the religious social activities during the Covid-19 pandemic as Covid-19 virus is highly infectious and can easily spread from one person to another while performing religious functions.

Fatwa Majlis stated that the members have explored and thoroughly researched on the opinion of the Islamic scholars and religious texts on praying with social distancing in the mosque during a pandemic. The Majlis informed that the Fatwa (statements) released by the Islamic religious authorities around the world indicates that it is acceptable to halt prayers in the mosque in order to curb the spread of the contagious Covid-19 virus.

The Fatwa Majlis stated that at situations like this, Muslims are advised to obey the information given by the trustworthy health experts as defying the advises would result in poor health and possibly death.

According to Fatwa Majlis, the Prophets Sunnah guides that all empty spaces must be filled with each row being completed during in mass prayer along with no distancing between each individual, standing shoulder to shoulder.

However, Fatwa Majlis has stated that filling each row with no space between individuals is a Sunnah and not obligatory (Wajib). Along with this, Fathuvaa Majilis states that the scholars agree that even with distancing the prayer is still accepted.

While it is obligatory to adhere to the advises given regarding the condition of health, even if it is something related to the health of the people, or the health of those who pray, or something that needs to be done before entering the mosque, the Fatwa Majlis states that it is obligatory to listen to the instruction of a health expert.

Fatwa Majlis stated that if a trustable health expert has instructed to not gather at places, then it would be sinful for people to do the opposite and that the person must take individual responsibilities for such actions.

The Islamic Ministry of Maldives had taken the decision to perform daily prayers with social distancing in the Male’ area on March 1st. However several citizens and Islamic Scholars have criticized this movement saying that praying with gaps in between each other is not encouraged and has never been done in Islamic religion. On the other hand, others counter that Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia are following social distancing prayers at present due to the pandemic.