More states allow prayers

Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri. -filepic

PUTRAJAYA: Starting today, Friday prayers and other congregational prayers are allowed to resume at selected mosques and surau in the Covid-19 green zones in the Federal Territories under strict conditions.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, who announced this, said the prayers are allowed at selected mosques and surau, and limited to between three and 30 people. Apart from the Federal Territories, this permission has been granted in Penang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak, Bernama reported.

Zulkifli said the congregational prayers included tarawih and Hari Raya Aidilfitri prayers.

He said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had consented to the proposal, which had been reviewed by the Special Muzakarah Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia.

“This is in line with the decision made during the National Security Council meeting and my meeting with the Prime Minister on May 12, ” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Zulkifli said the mosques and surau where Friday prayers are performed should ensure that the police and the state religious authorities are present to control the situation.

“The mosques and surau committee members must ensure that the SOPs set by the National Security Council and the Health Ministry are fully complied with, ” he said.

However, as for other states, Zulkifli said the decision to adopt the proposal would depend on the respective religious authorities as stipulated in the Federal Constitution, that matters about Islamic affairs are under the jurisdiction of the Heads of State.

In Ipoh, Perak Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council chief executive officer Shahrul Azam Shaari said the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah had consented to Friday prayers to be held in mosques and surau in the state from today after getting the views of the state fatwa committee, reports Bernama.

He added the Sultan also consented to the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri prayers to be held at the mosques.

However, he said the permission to hold the prayers is subject to several conditions, including only 12 people being allowed to congregate, including the imam and khatib (mosque officials).

“The mosques and surau are still not open to the public, ” he said, adding that those over 60 are not encouraged to attend, while those with health issues are not allowed to attend the prayers, he said here yesterday.

The duration for the Friday prayer, from the call for prayer (azan) and sermon (khutbah), and the takbir and sermon for Aidilfitri prayer should be over within 20 minutes, he said, adding that the sermons prepared by the Perak Islamic Religious Department for both the prayers should be brief and should not take more than 10 minutes to be read out.

In Seremban, the Negri Sembilan Islamic Affairs Council will allow Friday prayers to be held in certain mosques and surau from today onwards.

However, the number of people allowed will be limited to between four and 12, and they must only be committee members and officials of the mosque or surau.

Council chairman Datuk Mohamed Husein said the same rule would apply for Hari Raya Aidilfitri prayers.

“We have received the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, the four Undang and the Tunku Besar of Tampin for this.

“For now, we still have to restrict the numbers as the Covid-19 threat is still there, ” he said yesterday.

He said for Friday prayers today, only the state and district mosques would be allowed to open.

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