The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has suspended Jumuah prayers for four weeks amid the Covid-19 outbreak in South Africa, it announced on Wednesday.
The decision followed consultations with health experts and stakeholders but it would be reviewed “on a regular basis”, the MJC said in a statement.
“We recommend that special consideration be given to spatial planning inside mosques. As South Africans, we are required to fulfil our civic responsibility to work towards the containment of the coronavirus before it spreads out of control.
“Uppermost in sharia, is the preservation of life and implementing social distancing to prevent the further transmission of the virus.”
The MJC said this was not a call to close all mosques, adding it respected those who decided to do so.
Strong measures should be put in place to limit the amount of people attending, it said.
“The sick, elderly, small children, women and those with pre-existing respiratory illnesses must refrain from coming to mosque until we can overcome this crisis.”
The KwaZulu-Natal Ijtima – an annual Islamic congregation that was set to take place at the Stromia Road Grounds – was postponed and a new date would be announced once the Covid-19 crisis was over, the organisers said on their website.