By ROCAYA SUMNDAD OTICAL YAHYA
Amid the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for which President Rodrigo R. Duterte has placed the country under a State of Public Health Emergency, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) has suspended temporarily the Islamic congregation prayers in all mosques and prayer rooms in Metro Manila and other areas in the Philippines where a community quarantine and lockdown is declared.
In a Memorandum Circular issued on Monday, NCMF Secretary Saidamen B. Pangarungan temporarily suspended Muslim mass religious gatherings including Ijtima or Johoor (large religious gathering) of Tabligh followers, Multaqa (mass Islamic seminar), and Madrasah and Toril (live-in or boarding religious classes).
Pangarungan said the temporary suspension is made purusant to Presidential Proclamation No. 922 and the Islamic Principle of Necessity/Emergency, “and after consultation with our Ulama and Imam Association of the Philippines and Imam Council of the Philippines.”
Presidential Proclamation No. 922 prohibits mass gathering, whether planned or spontaneous, in the National Capital Region from March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020 to prevent the exponential spread of the deadly Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country.
He revealed that four of the nine fatalities of COVID-19 in the Philippines were confirmed to have frequented the prayer room of a shopping center in San Juan, Metro Manila. “The Philipppines now has more than 140 cases with 12 fatalities as of the latest count,” added the secretary.
Pangarungan revealed that 215 Filipino Muslims were reported to have attended the Ijtima-Tabligh congregation at the Jamed Sri Petaling Mosque in Malaysia where 197 participants were confirmed infected by COVID-19 and more than 1000 people are afflicteed in Malaysia.
On the Islamic view of Necessity or Emergency, the Muslim commission secretary quoted a narration from Prophet Mohammad who said: “If you hear of an outbreak of PLAGUE in a land, do not enter it. If the PLAGUE breaks out in a place you are in, do not leave that place.”
Historically, he said, even Mesjid el Haram in Makkah, KSA, was CLOSED forty times for health and other emergencies. (RSP)