Rivers Muslims suspend Friday Jumaat service over covid-19


By Brave Dickson

Muslims in Rivers State have decided to suspend Friday Jumaat service following restricting measures by the government to forestall the spread of covid-19 in the state.

The state Islamic Leader and Vice President-General, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nasir Awhelebe Uhor said their decision to suspend Friday Jumaat service was because they can not pray without body contacts.

The state Islamic leader who made this known to our correspondent shortly after a meeting of Muslim leaders in the state on Wednesday said it will also be difficult for the Friday Jumaat service to have less than 50 worshippers because their brethren were yet to be well enlightened on the restriction order.

He said: “The only alternative left for Jumaat service is to suspend it because we can not stagger Jumaat service by way of fixing more than one service session in order to have less than 50 worshippers in a mosque.

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“It is just one congregational service every Friday in mosques and since enlightenment of Muslims on covid-19 restricting measures is low, we may likely have more than 50 worshippers in a mosque during the Friday Jumaat service.

“Another area we are not okay with the government restricting measures is the social distancing aimed at preventing body contacts.

“In Islam, the Quran enjoins us to pray with body contacts. Once we adopt social distancing, our prayers will not be accepted because Allah did not enjoin us to do so.

“That is why we have decided to suspend our Friday Jumaat service and we are appealing to our Muslim brethren to stay at home and pray.

“We are not against government measures in stopping the coronavirus from spreading into the state even though we are affected by some of the measures.

“The measures will force a change in the way we conduct our religious services especially the prayers.”