ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Thursday endorsed the government's decision to suspend congregational prayer of more than five people to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the country.
After holding an emergency meeting in Islamabad to review the situation created by the global pandemic, the council chairman, Dr. Qibla Ayaz, addressed a news briefing wherein he highlighted the sanctity of human life in Islam.
The government has repeatedly urged people to pray at home and temporarily avoid religious congregations, such as the Friday prayers, after the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. According to official statistics, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan are now close to 2,500 with 136 recoveries and 35 fatalities.
According to an official handout circulated by the council that works as a constitutional body responsible for giving legal advice on Islamic matters to the government, the CII head noted that it was not right to consider that mosques had been shut down.
However, he added that the government's decision to limit the number of worshippers must be honored by people under the existing circumstances.
He also urged the administration not to treat religious clerics harshly and seek their assistance on the matter.
The council chairman noted that COVID-19 was not spread by any sect or group, and it was not right to blame the pilgrims or members of the Muslim missionary movement for the outbreak.
He said that the victims of the virus should be buried in accordance with their religious beliefs, adding that the bodies should be washed with precautionary care and the relatives of the deceased individuals should be allowed to participate in the funeral prayers.
Ayaz also noted that those who lose their lives to the infectious respiratory disease should be called martyrs and buried with respect.
The council chairman emphasized it was important to help minority religious communities in Pakistan, urging devout individuals with financial means to use their money set aside for religious rituals and activities to help people facing economic hardships.
He also noted that mosques should act like community centers to assist the unemployed and needy.