CORONAVIRUS: Saudi ‘Suspends’ Praying in Mosques, Islamic Scholar Reacts

Amid global anxiety and fear over coronavirus, a renown Islamic Scholar, Dr. Abubakr Imam Aliagan, said the Sultanate Council and Muslim authorities should not contemplate shutting down mosques in the country because of the killer epidemic.

Aliagan who is a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Ilorin was reacting to the suspension of congregational prayers at Saudi mosques while speaking to PRNigeria.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday suspended the performance of the customary five daily prayers and the weekly Jumuat (Friday) prayer at other worship centres excluding the two holy mosques in Makkah and Madina.

The measure is aimed at curbing further spread of the coronavirus, which has already claimed over 170 lives in The Kingdom.

Aliagan told PRNigeria that Nigerian Muslim males should be allowed to observe their compulsory prayers in mosques.

He disclosed that Muslims have already been endowed with a natural immune system to fight coronavirus.

“While health officials are advising people to wash their hands, Muslims regularly wash their hands five times daily. These, they do, before observing their obligatory prayers.

“Again, our sisters are always adorned in Hijab, some even use Niqab and gloves. So, we the Muslims already have a potent immune system against coronavirus. That is to say that we don’t have any problem..

“Even in France, I learnt that those that are completely free from contacting coronavirus are Muslim ladies and women who cover their face, use hand gloves and don’t shake hands with people,” he said.

The religious cleric who is also an Imam of a Jumuat (Congregation) Mosque, noted that the action of the Saudi Government is in line with Islamic teachings on preventing the spread of an epidemic in any area.

He said: “The Holy Prophet specifically mentioned that if there is an epidemic at a certain location, we should not go close to that danger area or place. While those that are living there should not come out until the epidemic is wiped out. The prophet, by implication is saying we should avoid the spread of epidemics with necessary precautionary steps.”

He argued that the Saudi authorities’ directive is only aimed at forestalling the wildfire spread of the disease.

“I don’t think the Muslim Ummah and its authorities in Nigeria should toe the line of Saudi by banning congregational prayers in mosques. The situation in our country is quite different from what we have in the Arab world or even at some western countries. The killer scourge easily ravages their immune system and body. However, I am still saying we should go along with what the Prophet counselled. Which is that we should not take epidemics or any killer disease for granted. We should take all necessary precautions. Any advice from health officials should strongly be adhered to and abided by,” Dr. Aliagan added.

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