KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Imams at mosques in the country today resumed their normal practice of reminding worshippers to close the saf (gaps) before performing the congregational Friday prayers as Malaysia transitioned to endemicity.

After almost two years of observing the physical distancing rule when congregational prayers were allowed to be performed in mosques and surau due to the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, worshippers were permitted to close the saf.

However, checks made by Bernama at the Khalid Bin Al-Walid mosque here found some worshippers had spread their prayer mats a little distance from other congregants probably due to habit.

They started to move closer to each other only after being reminded by the imam, while still adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP) such as wearing face masks.


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that beginning today, congregational prayer activities in mosques, surau and non-Muslim places of worship would be allowed without physical distancing.

In Putrajaya, worshippers who were mainly public servants and the residents performed Friday prayers without physical distancing at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin mosque, led by imam Rodhi Abd Ghani.

Congregants started to pour in at around 1pm, while mosque management was heard making frequent reminders to encourage worshippers to continue complying with the SOP.


When met by Bernama, Rodhi said the permission to close the gaps when performing congregational prayers was much-awaited news for Muslims in the country.

In Melaka, mask-wearing worshippers arrived at the An-Naim mosque in Durian Tunggal, Alor Gajah in droves as early as 12.30pm to perform Friday prayers without the one-metre physical distancing.

Following the SOP, they were seen checking in via the MySejahtera application before entering the mosque and bringing their prayer mats.

In Kelantan, Tengku Temenggong Kelantan Tengku Tan Sri Mohamad Rizam Tengku Abdul Aziz performed Friday prayers along with 3,000 congregants at the Tengku Razaleigh mosque in Gua Musang, today.

Tengku Mohamad Rizam, who is the Kelantan Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIK) president said mosques should be elevated as a crucial institution as their establishment transcends ideologies of thoughts.

“The mosque committee needs to plan and implement programmes that can help increase Islamic brotherhood in the community,” he said during a ceremony to hand over the mosque to MAIK today.

In Terengganu, state religious affairs commissioner M Rozi Bidin said committee members at the 509 mosques and 1,546 surau in the state had made preparations to facilitate congregants to perform Friday prayers and the obligatory congregational prayers without having to observe physical distancing.

A worshipper, Kamaruddin Azizan, 45, told Bernama when met at the Seberang Takir mosque in Kuala Nerus said that he was grateful and felt overwhelmed with emotions when he could perform congregational prayers without gaps after two years.

In Penang, Bernama checks at the Al-Mustaghfirin mosque in Sungai Tiram found that Muslims performed Friday prayers without physical distancing while adhering to the prescribed SOP.

Mohd Jalil Abdul Rahman, 55, said there were many more worshippers at the mosque today compared to previous Fridays as they were allowed to close the gaps while praying.

In Perak, congregants filled the Sultan Azlan Shah mosque in Ipoh and heeded the call by the imam to close the gaps before the start of the prayers.

In Pahang, the imam of the Tepian Putra mosque in Kuantan, Mohd Zulkarnai Shamsudin said worshippers were encouraged to bring their prayer mats and wear face masks even though they were allowed to close the gaps of the mats without touching each other.

In Perlis, Khairil Azrizal Bahari, 40, when met at the Nurul Naim mosque in Felcra Lubuk Sireh said he could finally grant his son’s wish to perform Friday prayers at the mosque.

In Negri Sembilan, state Islamic Religious Affairs Department, Datuk Mohd Zaidi Ramli said about 1,500 worshippers started to arrive at the state mosque in Seremban at 12.30pm to perform Friday prayers without having to observe the physical distancing rule.

In Selangor, Muslims started to arrive at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah mosque and the state mosque at around 12.30pm.

“Alhamdulillah, we started the month of April with good things. It has been a long time since I last performed prayers with so many worshippers filling the mosque,” said a retiree Samad Mahat, 70, when met by Bernama.

In Kedah, Hasanudin Ishak, 56, who was met at the Al Bukhary mosque in Alor Setar said the permission to close the gaps when praying provided more space to accommodate more worshippers.

In Sabah, checks at the state mosque and the At-Taqwa mosque located inside the Communications and Multimedia Ministry integrated complex in Kota Kinabalu found that Friday prayers were performed according to the latest SOP. — Bernama