Islamic Ministry has ordered mosques in the Greater Male' Area to maintain social distancing protocols during congregation amid the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Ministry said with the COVID-19 situation worsening in the country especially in the Greater Male' Area according to relevant authorities, the Ministry upon the recommendation from the council of Islamic Scholars has decided that congregations for prayers in mosques must be made according to social distancing protocols.

The Ministry said that this order would go into effect starting today at noon prayers and should be practiced until relevant authorities deem that the pandemic situation has died down.

It also said that the council of religious scholars had also noted that closing down the mosques in the area even amid the rampant pandemic would have negative effects on the general population.

The Ministry had highlighted the following instructions for mosque-goers which include;

  • Completing ablution from home
  • Taking prayer mat to the mosque
  • Maintain social distancing while entering and exiting the mosque
  • Maintaining social distancing while making the congregation for prayers
  • Making congregation from the first line instead of all over the mosque
  • To remain home if an individual has a cold, fever, or cough
  • Elderly persons and individuals with respiratory illnesses should remain home
  • No handshaking in or out of the mosques
  • Avoid using copies of the Holy Quran kept at the mosques

The ministry also advised Imams to begin congregational prayers five minutes after the call of prayer and not to prolong any prayer for more than seven minutes. The ministry also advised Imams to recite short chapters (Surah) of the Holy Quran during congregational prayers.

As for the City Council, the Islamic Ministry said the council must make sure that mosques that are allowed to hold communal prayers do not have carpets and ensure that the mosques are mopped and cleaned before each congregation. Also, the city council must make sure to make arrangements for mosques goers to wash their hands with soap at the premises. The Ministry said that the air conditions must not be used in the mosques unless absolutely necessary and that doors and windows must be opened to allow ventilation.

This comes amid a significant increase in the number of cases reported in the Greater Male' Area where authorities are already imposing both a vehicular ban and a curfew to deter the spread of the illness.