ADVISORY ON COVID-19
MOSQUES TO PROGRESSIVELY RESUME CONGREGATIONAL AND FRIDAY PRAYERS IN PHASE 2
21 June 2020
Cautious approach taken, together with strict safe management measures to ensure safety and well-being of congregants
1. On 18 June 2020, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) issued an advisory on the resumption of more activities in places of worship during Phase 2.
2. Muis has put in place safe management measures at mosques in Phase 1 and congregants have complied with the various safety precautions put in place. With support from the community, mosques will now resume congregational worship with limited prayer spaces of up to 50 persons at a time in Phase 2. Muis will continue to adopt a cautious and phased approach to ensure the mosques remain safe, and in full compliance with national guidelines.
3. In line with this, mosques1 will resume Friday prayers and daily congregational prayers from Friday 26 June 2020, with enhanced Safe Management Measures2 to ensure safe congregational prayers while accommodating larger numbers of congregants. This includes booking of prayer slots through the online prayer booking system, mandating access to mosques only via SafeEntry using NRIC/FIN, and strongly encouraging the use of the TraceTogether app.
Resumption of Friday Congregational Prayers with Limited Prayer Spaces
4. Friday congregational prayers will resume from 26 June 2020, with a maximum of 50 congregants per session at each mosque:
- To enable more congregants to perform the Friday prayers, two half-hour prayer sessions will be held every Friday, with about a half-hour interval between the two sessions, to ensure safe crowd management
- Sermons and prayers will be shortened to a maximum of 20 minutes
- When delivering sermons, imams will stand at least 2 metres away from the first row and will be required to wear a face shield
- Congregants will pray in marked designated individual spaces 1 metre apart
- Only congregants with a valid booking will be admitted into the mosque
- Congregants should not mingle with others and should leave the mosque immediately after the prayer sessions
5. As we progress in Phase 2, we hope to gradually increase the congregation limit if the situation remains stable, and mosques are able to implement the safe management measures.
Daily Congregational Prayers with Limited Prayer Spaces
6. From 26 June 2020, mosques will also hold daily congregational prayers. Mosques will offer 50 slots for each of the 5 daily congregational prayer immediately after the Azan (prayer call). Only congregants with a valid booking will be allowed entry for these daily congregational prayers.
7. Private worship beyond congregational prayer sessions will continue to be available and subjected to the same limit of 50 persons at any one time.
8. The Fatwa Committee has provided guidance on the religious justifications in view of the congregational worship with limited prayer spaces.
9. The following fatwas have been issued by the Fatwa Committee to guide the implementation of Phase 2 on the resumption of congregational prayers:
(a) Safe distancing between congregants during prayers
(b) Holding multiple sessions for Friday prayers
(c) Groups excused from performing Friday prayers and the religious ruling (hukum) for those unable to attain prayer slots
Prayer Booking System
10. Muis has developed an online prayer booking system to manage the demand and ensure orderly conduct of the congregational prayers. The system allows for reservation of available prayer spaces for daily and Friday congregational prayers. Bookings can be made through an electronic form with their name (as in NRIC), email address and contact number. More details and a step-by-step guide on the prayer booking form are available in Annex B.
11. To enable more worshippers to perform their Friday prayers, the system will limit the number of bookings an individual can make for Friday prayers to only one reservation within a 3-week window.
12. For individuals who are unable to obtain a slot for the Friday prayers, the Fatwa Committee has advised that it is sufficient and permissible to perform the regular noon (Zuhur) prayer in place of the Friday prayer. This concession also applies to those who are vulnerable and at risk of infection, such as seniors aged 60 years and above and those with pre-existing chronic conditions. These vulnerable groups, as well as children below the age of 12, are strongly discouraged from attending Friday prayers for the time being. They may instead perform the Zuhur prayer in their own homes on Fridays.
13. In Phase 2, the 30 mosques offering Social Development programmes and provide Zakat financial assistance will continue to support families in need. If necessary, Social Development Officers will arrange in-person meetings with clients strictly on an appointment basis. Weekend Islamic learning classes for children (i.e. the aLIVE Programme) will continue to be conducted via Home-Based Learning. Religious talks and lectures (kuliah) will also continue to be offered online.
14. Muis encourages worshippers to abide by these measures to proactively minimise the possible spread of COVID-19 in our mosques. We seek the support and understanding of the Muslim community to work closely with mosque officials to be socially responsible and safeguard public health as we perform our religious obligations in our mosques.
- MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA
1 Masjid Abdul Ghafoor, Masjid Bencoolen, Masjid Ba’alwie and Masjid Burhani will remain closed for the time being.
2 The full range of safe management measures is appended as Annex A.
6 PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES
Take heed of precautionary measures.
- Wash Your Hands Frequently
The most effective method to prevent transmission remains through good personal hygiene of regular hand washing with hand sanitizers, or soap and water if hand sanitiser is unavailable. Avoid touching your face unnecessarily, and especially if your hands are not clean.
- Minimise Physical Contact
The hands are the way that these viruses most efficiently spread. As a general good practice, we advise people not to shake hands during this period but adopt alternative greetings. You may hold your hands close to your chest as a sign of respect in place of shaking hands.
- Avoid Crowds
Avoid public crowded places if you feel unwell. The Prophet s.a.w. once forbade a sick individual from leaving his house [H.R. Muslim]. This prohibition is to prevent the virus from spreading to other areas and infecting individuals. If you are feeling unwell, Islam has provided you with the flexibility of not attending Friday prayers. Instead, you are to pray the Zohor prayer in its place.
- Bring Your Own Praying Gears
Congregants are advised to take extra caution to minimise any risk of infection. The virus may remain on carpet surfaces if used by a congregant who is infected. This occurrence is highly likely if the area has not been properly disinfected and cleansed. As such, we encourage the use of personal clean mat to cover the prostration area. Female congregants are also advised to bring your own personal prayer clothing.
- See the Doctor If You're Unwell
If you feel unwell, you should see a doctor immediately and refrain from going to the mosque. In particular, you should avoid coming into close and sustained proximity with others.
- Make Du’a
In times of such adversities, it's important to remind ourselves that nothing happens except with the Decree of Allah. What has been commanded to us by Allah is to pray and rely upon Him, combined with our efforts in ameliorating the situation. One of the prayers the Prophet has taught us in facing such trials and adversities is:
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“In the Name of Allah with Whose Name there is protection against every kind of harm in the earth or in the heaven, and He is the All-Hearing and All-Knowing.”
- H.R. Abu Daud & At-Tirmizi