The Muslim Council of Britain has issued a strong recommendation for Muslim communities across the UK to suspend all congregational activities, given the latest advice on the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This unprecedented step comes after public health advice of stopping “non-essential contact” with others and the Chief Scientific Advisers advising the public to avoid gatherings “big or small”.
The obligation for Friday prayers is very important to Muslims up and down the country. Given the overwhelming majority of Muslims identify with their local mosque, its centrality to communal activities should not be understated. The choice therefore to suspend all congregational activities, is not one that has been taken lightly.
The Muslim Council of Britain has taken into account views from all key sources:
– The UK’s Chief Scientific Advisers, who have called for extraordinary social distancing measures.
– The British Islamic Medical Association, representing Muslim medical and health professionals, who bring together a knowledge of communities as well as medical expertise, and who have said it is “unsafe and harmful to continue business as usual, or even with significant adjustments”.
– Many Muslim scholars, consulted through groups such as the British Board of Scholars and Imams, as well as a number of institutions and international bodies, believe that the individual obligation to perform Friday prayers in mosque congregations be temporarily lifted.