Posted on August 15, 2020
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, our community has implemented unprecedented measures to preserve lives and to keep our community safe.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, with the support of his cabinet, civil society and religious institutions, sought guidance from medical experts in an attempt to preserve lives and to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
The Muslim Judicial Council, as a leading religious legal authority, took a decision to temporarily suspend congregational prayers in our Masājid in an attempt to flatten the COVID-19 pandemic curve. As enumerated exhaustively, this decision was based on the principles of the preservation of faith and life being an uppermost in our application of Shari`ah (Sacred Law).
Furthermore, as a responsible religious authority, the MJC has engaged consistently with government, medical experts and other informed stakeholders to create safe and viable conditions for the return to congregational worship for our community. This is based on the updated evaluation of the risk levels as set out in government’s risk-based adjustment strategy.
We have promised our community that with the assistance of the medical experts and other stakeholders, the MJC will monitor the shifts of the pandemic on the ground, and the changing context of our society.
Based on current scientific information at our disposal, we note that the national infection rate is declining and that the recovery rate is steadily improving. This can only be attributed to the Mercy of Almighty Allah and the hard decisions made early on in the pandemic. The MJC is therefore pleased to announce the outcome of our latest consultative engagements, which took place on Friday 14 August 2020. It has been agreed that the risk-based assessments indicate that it is relatively safe for our community to return to congregational prayers.
The re-opening of Masājid needs to take place within the confines of the law as set out by the Minister of Health and Cooperative Governance. Furthermore, all the necessary health protocols as set out by the government departments needs to be observed and adhered to in order to ensure the continued safety of our community. This includes rigorous implementation of the 50-person limit that has been gazetted for public religious gatherings.
We encourage Masājid to formulate their Jumuah programs in accordance these Government provisions and health protocols, and to inform their respective communities accordingly.
We thank the Muslim community as a whole for adhering to the unprecedented call of government to abide by the lockdown regulations. The unwavering support and discipline of our community in playing a role in the National effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic is admirable.
We note with pride the significant contributions made by the Muslim community in supporting the most vulnerable in our society, irrespective of race, religion or creed through relief activity, health care and other socially beneficial programmes.
We continue with the prayerful hopes that Allah, the Almighty, eases the plight of all humankind, restores peace and safety to our country and that our Creator enables us to be agents of His Mercy and Compassion.
Office of the Secretary General
Muslim Judicial Council (SA)