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Want Double Session Friday Prayers In M’sia? It’s Up To State Religious Departments To Decide

Want Double Session Friday Prayers In M’sia? It’s Up To State Religious Departments To Decide

Tasneem Nazari

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Islamic religious authorities in each state can decide on their own on whether to hold single or double Friday prayer sessions. This is to allow more members of the congregation to participate in the weekly prayer.

What you need to know: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said that at the Federal Territories level, Friday prayers are held in a single session only.

This was decided on by the Special Muzakarah Committee Meeting of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI), which also decided to allow the installation of tents within mosque compounds to allow more space for Friday prayers – of course these are subject to health and safety standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government.

Meanwhile, for other states, it is up to their respective Islamic religious authorities to decide on the matter.

Why it matters: Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysians have not been able to perform their religious duties to the fullest in order to stop the spread of the virus. Nationwide places of worship were closed to the public in mid-March. 

Places of worship were opened again around 3 months later in mid-June, but even then only at limited capacity.

How it got here: On 22 June, Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was asked during his daily Covid-19 press conference if the government would consider taking a cue from Singapore, which allowed Friday congregational prayers to be held in two sessions starting June 26.

In Singapore, the two half-hour sessions are limited to 50 people per session, with a half-hour interval between the sessions to ensure safe crowd management.

At the time, the Malaysian government had only allowed for Friday prayers to be held with the congregation filling up one-third of the prayer halls or 40 people in certain places.

Read more:
Minister says state Islamic authorities to decide on splitting Friday prayers into two sessions (Malay Mail)
Ismail Sabri: Religious affairs minister to look into two Friday prayer sessions (The Star)
It’s Not Sinful To Miss Friday Prayers If You Weren’t “Invited”, Says Selangor Mufti (TRP)

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