One-week closure of mosques, suraus, religious halls to curb virus spread

Azlan Othman

Mosques, suraus and religious halls will be closed for one week beginning from Subuh prayer until Isyak prayer on March 23 following a meeting by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) yesterday that discuss the State Mufti’s Fatwa (decree) 02/20 to curb the spread of COVID-19 virus.

This was announced by Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman yesterday.

The minister told the media, “With the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the MUIB in accordance with the advice from the Ministry of Health and based on the Syarak law pertaining to the Fatwa, mosques, suraus and religious halls will be closed for one week.

“Before such a period ends, MUIB will assess the situation concerning this outbreak.”

Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin said during such closure, the cleaning process of these mosques, suraus and religious halls will be carried out in stages according to the schedule.

Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman speaks at the press conference. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“Prayers in congregation including the Friday prayer on March 20 will be suspended during the period.

“However, Azan or call for prayer will still be heard and mosque affairs must work as normal,” the minister said.

The minister also said between Maghrib and Isyak prayers as well as before the Friday prayer, a Doa Tolak Bala prayer to protect the nation against the calamity will also be held. “Such an additional prayer can also be held in houses and not just at the mosque,” he added.

If a COVID-19 patient passes away, Imams should be contacted immediately to avoid large crowds.

Proper attire must also be worn to prevent the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said this also applies to Chinese temples and churches in the country for one week.