A Muslim man offering prayers in mosque
A Muslim man offering prayers in mosque | Credit: Getty Images

SRINAGAR — Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam on Saturday said Valley’s clergy in a unanimous decision has decided not to close masjids for Friday congregational and mandatory five times prayers a day. He, however, said that Imams have been advised to restrict their Friday sermons to just five minutes only while as people have been urged to maintain highest level of hygiene.

Islam stated this soon after chairing a crucial meeting of Ulema from all sects, ideologies at his Soura residence. The meeting started at 2 PM and lasted till 5 PM. Islam said a unanimous consensus was arrived at: there will be no closure of masjids and shrines across Kashmir.

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“Friday prayers will be held in masjids and shrines but Imams should restrict their sermons to just five minutes and conclude prayers in another five to ten minutes,” he said, adding that only ailing and elderly people must avoid Friday prayers and instead offer the same at their respective homes.

He said that similarly Nawafils and Sunnah prayers should be offered at homes by the people. “Ablution should also be done at homes. Mandatory (Farz) prayers should be held in masjids five-times a day. This is what we decided after a marathon meeting of Ulema,” Islam said.

The representatives of all the religious bodies were present in the meeting that include Muhammad Yaqoob Baba and Abdul Lateef Alqandi of Jamiat-e-Ahlihadith while as others who were present include Nazir Ahmed Qasimi, Khursheed Ahmed Qanoongoo, Prof Muhammad Tayib Qamili, Imam-e-Hai Syed Ahmed Naqshbandi, and dozens of other Islamic scholars.

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He said that people are advised to avoid large social gatherings which include Nikhah and marriage ceremonies. “Not more than six people should be present from both bride and groom’s side while Nikah ceremonies should be observed in a very austere manner,” he said.

The Grand Mufti said that there is no need to organize large condolence meetings like the ones witnessed during Chahrums etc. On Shab-e-Meraj and Shab-e-Baraat, Grand Mufti said that both the occasions should be observed at homes and there is no need to organize big religious gatherings in masjids or anywhere else. He advised people to follow the health advisory in true letter and spirit.

He said that Government has imposed strict curfew and confined people to their homes while as poor are suffering. “People are already suffering because of poverty and confining them to their homes is mere injustice. We request the government to make rational choices when imposing restrictions.”

Please go back to barracks: Grand Mufti to security forces

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The Grand Mufti urged security forces to “go back to the barracks“ in a bid to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the Valley.

“It’s high time for the seven lakh security forces personnel to go back to their barracks for the biggest cause of humanity,” Grand Mufti said after chairing the meeting of Ulema at his Soura residence. “My humble request to top brass of Army and CRPF is to direct their men camping in Kashmir to go back to barracks for the sake of humanity.”

He urged the top brass of security forces including Army and CRPF to cancel leaves and travel of all their men to ensure no “travel takes place.” “It has been seen security forces personnel are involved in travel from their respective places to Srinagar in large numbers every day. This travel can be the biggest carrier of COVID-19 and should be avoided forthwith,” he said.

The Grand Mufti urged the J&K government to impose section 144 on security forces men including police men also. “Those who have already arrived from their respective homes back to Srinagar should go through screening and should be isolated without any delay,” he said.

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