Hyderabad: The Corona scare has cast its shadow on all walks of life, including worship. Most of the mosques in the State capital are seeing thin attendance during the congregational prayers. Initially people continued to flock to the mosques but following appeals by religious scholars to maintain social distancing as advocated by the government, the footfalls have come down. An event like Shab-e-Meraj (night of Ascent) observed on Sunday night, saw fewer people turning up.

Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rehmani, noted Islamic scholar and secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, has come out in favour of offering namaz at home with a view to arrest the deadly march of the Coronavirus. “Islam gives utmost importance to human life and doesn’t want any harm to come to others even by our inadvertent actions”, he says.

In an appeal issued on Monday, Maulana Rehmani urged Muslims to offer prayers at their homes instead of gathering at mosques in the interest of the society at large. In fact there is a provision in the Sharia that the old, sick and also those suffering from contagious diseases are permitted to offer namaz at home. They should not come to the mosque and put the life of others at risk. For the purpose of congregational prayers it would suffice for the Imam, the mouzen and one or two persons to offer namaz in the mosque. The same procedure could be followed during the Friday namaz, which usually sees bigger assemblage. He further advised the Juma khutba (sermon) to be shortened so that the whole thing could be wound up at the earliest.

Maulana Rehmani has also advised people to do away with the Islamic etiquette of ‘musafaha’ (shaking hands after prayers) under the present circumstances. The precautionary measures are in places in several mosques in the city. “We have to cooperate with the authorities in combating the virus. After the farz namaz everyone should disperse to offer the remaining prayers at home”, says Maulana Ahmed Ubaidur Rehman, Khateeb of Masjid-e-Teeposh in Nampally.

A strong votary of health and sanitation, he has been using the Friday sermons to urge people to maintain personal hygiene. “Cleanliness is part and parcel of faith. A strong and healthy believer is better in the eyes of Allah than a weak one”, he says.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan.

Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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