Low Friday prayer attendance in Sultanate amid COVID-19

Azlan Othman

Attendance was low for the weekly Friday prayers, while hand sanitisers were placed at mosques, suraus and prayer halls across Brunei, as the nation witnessed an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Several congregants also wore face masks and had even brought their own prayer mats.

Broken rows with huge gaps in between were visible at the Jubli Perak Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Kampong Jangsak, Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam Mosque in Jerudong and Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Damit Mosque in Bebatik Kilanas. The low turnout resulted in more availability of car parking space.

Imams delivered a brief Friday sermon, urging the local Muslim community to maintain high levels of personal hygiene through regular hand washing, wearing of masks during bouts of coughing or colds, covering the mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing, and staying at home when showing signs of infection.

The Muslim community was also urged not to panic or be easily influenced by information gained from the Internet and social media outlets, without checking its veracity.

Apart from guidelines and advice issued by authorities such as the Ministry of Health (MoH), Muslims were advised to seek guidance as well as seek for Allah the Almighty’s mercy, forgiveness and protection through praying.

Meanwhile, with local pharmacies and shops running out of hand sanitisers and face masks, several people are hoping that the relevant government agencies will distribute these items for free, given the rise in the number of local cases.

Mohd Shah, a pensioner, told the Weekend Bulletin that he had been to several shops and pharmacies in a futile search of hand sanitisers and face masks. “I went to a shop in Kilanas which sells five face masks for BND1, but they were all sold out before I even arrived.

“We can’t take the risk of going to Miri, just to get hand sanitisers or face masks. I even put on gloves when using the ATM machines,” he added.

A bottle of hand sanitiser at Jubli Perak Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Kampong Jangsak. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN