Mosques should not open to members of the Muslim community for Friday Juma because it is a congregational prayer. So said Dr Waffie Mohammed, who chairs the Council of Scholars, in light of government’s announced restrictions on people assembling in groups of more than ten.
Mohammed said, “Whilst it is permissible according to the law to conduct Juma with small gatherings, the council is of the opinion that we should close for Juma for the next two weeks.
It is optional for people to attend – but not more than ten.
He pointed out, “This virus, in its early stages, is not detectable in terms of the symptoms. People coming to the masjid in large numbers can become infected, and since Juma is a gathering, we have decided to keep the mosques close for two weeks. It is for the safety and protection of everyone.”
Speaking on behalf of the ASJA mosque in San Fernando, Imam Atiff Sulaimani said, “However, let it not be said that we are closing the doors of the masjids. That is not so at all.
“All respective imams will facilitate the call to prayer for Friday Juma and five times salaah every day. The majority of the mosques in TT are suspending the Juma prayer and five-times daily prayer for two weeks. Depending on the situation, it can be readjusted.”
Sulaimani called on the Muslim community to pray in their homes.
The Juma congregation prayer is compulsory for all Muslims and is done only in the mosque, not done in people’s homes, Sulaimani said. But the five compulsory prayers take place both in the mosques as well as in homes.
Sulaimani said although the decision was taken to avoid large gatherings in the mosque, the Juma prayer will be conducted by the imam with five to ten people. The same will be done, he added, for the morning, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and night prayer. The weekly prayer is compulsory for male Muslims but not women. Several imams Newsday spoke to supported the decision to close the mosques to the public for Juma.
The Darul Uloom Islamic Institute has called on women and children not to attend.
Mufti Khayam Hosein, who manages the Darul Uloom Institute, said, “We have asked the women and children to stay away from Juma. It is not compulsory upon them.
“We will be limiting the number of people for Juma tomorrow.”