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Sudan’s imams shorten Friday prayers as 'historic' coronavirus precaution

March 22 - 2020 KHARTOUM
The Grand Mosque in central Khartoum (File photo)
The Grand Mosque in central Khartoum (File photo)

On Friday, Imams and preachers in several mosques in Khartoum embraced the guidance issued by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments to shorten the prayer time for the sake of health and safety of the people. It is believed to be the first time in the history of Sudan that such a measure has been invoked.

The guidance provides that imams should read short phrases of the Koran and people keep a distance between them during prayers as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). The guidance is grounded on Islamic jurisprudence such as Sunnah that justifies taking such actions in terms of plague or pandemics.

It is believed to be the first time in the history of Sudan that preachers and Islamic scholars have unanimously agreed on such a decision, which stipulates (as in all Abrahamic religions) that the lives of people take precedence above anything else.

Last week, the authorities in Khartoum declared a state of health emergency in Sudan and prohibited all mass gatherings, including rallies, marches, religious ceremonies including weddings and funerals.

The authorities also decided to shut down sports and wedding halls, as well as clubs and shisha (hookah) lounges, as precautions against the spread of the epidemic.

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