Jais says ordered Shah Alam mosque to cancel closure over Covid-19

A mosque staff member distributes hand sanitiser to worshippers during Friday prayers at Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque in Shah Alam March 13, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A mosque staff member distributes hand sanitiser to worshippers during Friday prayers at Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque in Shah Alam March 13, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — A mosque in Seksyen 27, Shah Alam in Selangor has been ordered to withdraw its previous decision to close over the Covid-19 outbreak affecting the country, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) reportedly said.

Jais director Mohd Shahzihan Ahmad reportedly said that the Shah Alam mosque’s notice of its closure was issued without the department’s prior knowledge.

“I have ordered the retraction of that order and for activities to continue,” he was quoted saying by local daily Sinar Harian

He also reportedly urged the mosque management to advise those who are awaiting test results or had tested positive to undergo quarantine.

The Masjid Al Munawwarah mosque in Seksyen 27, Shah Alam was reported saying that it was temporarily closing the mosque for all activities including for Muslims’ obligatory prayers five times each day, following evaluations on the health risk and Covid-19 pandemic after one of the mosque’s congregation tested positive for Covid-19 after a holiday trip in Vietnam.

The mosque had said all its congregation were advised to pray at home or other nearby mosques and suraus pending further actions from health and religious authorities. 

The mosque also reportedly said all activities will resume as usual after sanitisation work is carried out and with the authorities’ approval or if conditions permit.

In the same Sinar Harian report today, Mohd Shahzihan said mosque closures would only be announced after Jais weighs all considerations relating to such matters. 

He added that Jais had ordered all mosques in Selangor to continue with congregational prayers with tighter control measures and that all mosques have to be cleaned immediately with the cooperation of the health ministry.

On Friday, Jais announced that it had circulated a guideline for all mosques and suraus in Selangor to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections among its congregation and that it was also restricting large-scale gatherings to curb the spread of the virus.

Among other things, Jais had also on Friday said it was deferring all large-scale events including in religious primary schools and pre-schools in Selangor under its supervision, and with students and teachers there to practise social distancing with students and encouraged to wash their hands.

On Thursday, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari announced that the Selangor state government has decided to cancel non-critical large-scale public events, and that precautionary steps would be taken for public events that cannot be avoided.

On Friday, the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPs) directed Muslims not to perform Friday prayers in the state’s mosque in response to the Health Ministry’s recommendation to avoid mass gatherings.

Also on Friday, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department overseeing Islamic Affairs Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad said the Friday prayers would proceed as usual on that day, but with certain guidelines in place such as shorter sermons, abstaining from attending prayers if one has symptoms of illness, and the provision of hand sanitisers and masks at mosques.

 

Malaysia recently experienced a spike in Covid-19 cases that has now pushed up the total tally to 238 cases as of yesterday, with 77 of these cases so far traced back to a recent large-scale religious gathering at the Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling in Kuala Lumpur.

An estimated 16,000 people had attended the “ijtimak tabligh” gathering that was held at the Sri Petaling mosque in Kuala Lumpur from February 28 to March 1, with a reported 14,500 being Malaysians and the rest being foreigners from the region.

As of yesterday, the Health Ministry said that a total of 4,942 participants from the Sri Petaling mosque had been identified and had either undergone tests or are currently under self-quarantine, and that efforts to track down other participants are still ongoing.

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