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.
Imam Qari Asim, Chair of Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) said:
“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. None should feel pressured to attend a mosque during this pandemic as Islamic law (Shari’ah) provides dispensation for protection of life.
MINAB’s strong advice to mosques is to undertake a further risk assessment in light of the continued rapid spread of the virus, and even more rigorously follow safety guidance, and increase social distancing where necessary. Mosques should continue to livestream their services and offer online teaching and pastoral care.
Those who are vulnerable and elderly should, in particular, pray at home. God Almighty judges us on our intentions and will reward us for our spiritual sacrifices even if we can’t participate in communal prayer. Our collective sacrifice during this pandemic is to defeat the virus together by taking care of each other.”