England has gone into national lockdown from 5 January due to the escalation of coronavirus cases. Mosques can remain open during the third national lockdown and key life-cycle ceremonies can continue. Five daily prayers with Jama’at and Jumma’ prayers can be performed at mosques whilst strictly following social distancing and other precautionary measures. Madrasshas (face to face teaching) must remain closed during the third lockdown.
Allowing the nation’s sacred spaces to remain open for communal prayer is welcome and we are grateful to the government for this considerate decision. Mosques are centres of hope and healing and keeping mosques open will play a huge role in protecting the mental well-being of communities.
However, covid-19 poses a serious threat to health and life, with higher cases within BAME communities, and therefore voluntary closure of mosques should be considered by those mosques where risk assessments suggest that remaining open will pose a serious risk to the wellbeing of worshippers. Preservation of life is an important Islamic principle and we owe a duty of care to each other and the wider community.
MINAB’s strong advice to mosques is to undertake a further risk assessment, where possible, in light of the continued rapid spread of the virus, and strictly follow safety guidance.
Mosques should continue to offer as many of their services online as possible.
MINAB is offering the following support to Mosques:
1) to conduct a risk assessment at their premises (virtually and with site visits as feasible)
2) training for Madrassah staff to improving teaching, safeguarding and digital training
3) securing funds and grants from other charitable funds to support efforts in providing social action and welfare projects to respond to Covid-19
Those who are vulnerable and elderly should, in particular, stay at home. Allah Almighty judges us on our intentions and will reward us for our intentions and spiritual sacrifices. Our collective sacrifice during this pandemic is to defeat the virus together and take comfort in Allah’s power and mercy.