Bangladesh clerics want to keep mosques open despite virus threats
Published : Monday, 30 March, 2020 at 12:57 AM Count : 495
Alems and Ulemas (clerics) want to keep all the mosques open amid undeclared lockdown across the country to prevent coronavirus infection.
They have opined to keep the mosques open even, if possible, in a limited scale. Many of them have said that mosques cannot be closed if the situation deteriorates further.
The Alems and Ulemas expressed the opinions during a meeting with the officials of Islamic Foundation at Agargaon in Dhaka on Sunday.
The meeting lasted till 3:00pm starting at 11:00am.
At many places in Bangladesh, clerics continue offering collective prayers, ignoring the severe health risks they pose.
Contacted, Islamic Foundation's director general Anis Mahmud said a meeting was held with the country's leading Alems and Ulemas, but no decision had been reached. "We expect to reach a consensus on Monday. Certainly, we will inform the mass media about our consensus," he said.
The meeting was attended by Sholakia Eidgah Khatib Maulana Fariduddin Mashud, Shaikh Zakaria, Islamic Research Centre's director general Mufti Mizanur Rahman Sayeed, Mufti Delwar Husayn, Maulana Mahfuzul Huq, Dr Moulana Kafiluddin Sarker Salehi, Baitul Mukarram Mosque's senior pesh imam Mufti Mizanur Rahman, Pesh Imam Muhibullahil Baqui Nadvi, among others.
Islamic Foundation's DG and other senior officials were present at the meeting.
The Islamic Foundation convened the meeting for the second time to know about the opinions of the clerics regarding the closure of the mosques in Bangladesh or request the devotees to refrain from going to the mosques.
A fatwa issued by the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al Azhar University recently permitting the suspension of Friday prayers to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus and restrictions imposed by several Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia on their citizens suspending collective prayers were raised at the meeting.
Besides, the opinions of several leading clerics living outside Dhaka were also heard over mobile phones at the meeting.
However, the clerics declined to pay any heed to the fatwa of Al Azhar University's Grand Imam and the restrictions imposed by several Muslim countries' on their citizens to offer collective prayers at mosques.
The clerics attending the meeting asserted that all the mosques in Bangladesh must be kept open at any cost, if possible, in a limited scale. Mosques cannot be closed in anyway even if the situation worsens further, they said.
The clerics said azan (call to prayers) at the mosques must be continued. They asserted said they would not accept any argument either for closing the mosques or suspending the azan.
The Islamic Foundation is collectively trying to convince the Ulemas of Bangladesh to unanimously agree on temporarily halting congregational prayers, but no consensus has so far been reached.
Earlier on March 24, the Islamic Foundation held another meeting with the Alems and Ulemas. At that time, three requests were publicized taking their opinions. Those were limiting the number of devotees at the congregations, going to mosques with adequate personal safety measures, and requesting the sick, elderly and children not to go to mosques.