Jummah Prayers In Pakistan: An Islamic Approach To Community Welfare During The Covid-19 Pandemic
It’s Friday. The confusion around Jummah congregations stands as relevant as it did last week, except for in Sindh where a ban was imposed late last night. Amidst the exponential spread of the COVID-19 in Pakistan and all around the world, several major Islamic countries cancelled all forms of religious gatherings including Friday prayers as well as pilgrimages1. Earlier this month, several countries including Saudi-Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, and UAE cancelled daily and weekly congregational prayers. Pilgrimages to Makkah and Madinah were also halted until further notice. However, Friday prayers were observed in Pakistan and the rest of South Asia. On March 19, a massive collective prayer reportedly attended by 25,000 people in Rajpur, Bangladesh, generated widespread outcry all over the world2. Videos circulating across social media showed large groups of South Asian Muslims observing Friday prayers in congregations. Some media reports showed groups of people in Pakistan and India debating how it is obligatory upon Muslim men to observe prayers in congregations, inside mosques.