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Scholar urges Muslims: Avoid gathering while observing fast

An Islamic scholar has urged Muslims to stay indoor while observing fasting in the month of Ramadhan so they cannot be infected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio WEdnesday, Aleem Mohammad Pasigan, grand mufti of the Davao Region, said Muslims must not go to mosques to perform prayers and other activities and must do their activities at home to prevent the spread of the virus.

Pasigan said that assemblies must be suspended as the city is under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which prohibits religious activities as it is considered as mass gathering.

“We are urging our Muslim brothers, for this year’s Ramadan, to pray only in your houses, because we are not certain if our mosque will be allowed to open,” he said .

He also reminded Muslims to spiritually reflect through fasting, praying and abandon any sinful acts.

Aside from community prayers inside the mosques, among the activities that could be affected by this call is the holding of iftar, the meal that signals the breaking of the fast, which usually is done with the entire community doing it at once in either just outside the mosque or a similar place.

Based on the Hijrah calendar, the calendar of the Islamic world, fasting for the month of Ramadhan started Friday and will be completed after 29 or 30 depending on the sighting of the next new moon for the month of Shawwal.

Based on its April 15 guidelines, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged religious groups to conduct their activities usually.

In observing Ramadhan, WHO said Muslims can use technology like television, radio, Internet and other similar modes as it pushed for the cancellation of gatherings.

“WHO recommends any decision to restrict, modify, postpone, cancel, or proceed with holding a mass gathering should be based on a standardized risk assessment exercise. These decisions should be part of a comprehensive approach taken by national authorities to respond to the outbreak,” it said.

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