- On April 3, 2020
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Source: Graphic Online | 21 March 2020
For the first time in a long while, Muslims across the country were not able to congregate for the Friday prayers also known as Jummah.
All mosques were closed and worshippers had to resort to their individual prayer sessions as they usually did on regular days.
This was in observance of the directive banning all social gatherings, religious meetings and funerals for the next four weeks announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Sunday, as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 after the number of confirmed cases in Ghana kept increasing.
The directive was reinforced by the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Shrabutu, who a day after the President’s address, also issued a statement urging all Muslims to adhere to the government’s directive.
Though many Muslims the Daily Graphic spoke to wished they could congregate for worship, they said they supported the directive as they believed it was to prevent the disease from spreading as had happened in other countries.
In the absence of general Friday worhsip, most practitioners prayed in their homes in small numbers. Some prayed aspects of Jummah with their families and others prayed the usual Zuhr or afternoon prayers.
One worshipper who usually prays at the main mosque at Abossey Okai, Mustapha Suleimana said the directive was to encourage social distancing, one of the precautionary ways of preventing the pandemic from spreading.
“ The ban in Ghana, I believe, is also in line with similar directives in many parts of the world. Today, most Friday prayers were restrictive to few people.
“Given how fast the disease spreads, it is better for us to stay away and observe our routine prayer schedules until such a time that it’s safe to attend Jummah.”
The Managing Director of the Voiceless Consult, Mr Akilu Sayibu, a Muslim, said the idea was to prevent a serious situation rather than wait for it to happen in large numbers before the country rushed to deal with it as had happened in other countries and warned against fanatical preachers who wanted to misinform the people.
Samuel Duodu reports that the Northern Regional Capital, Tamale, a predominantly Muslim populated area, was not with the usual bubbly movements on Fridays for Jummah prayers as worshippers stayed away.
The usual large crowds that congregated at the Central Mosque, the Ambariya and the Ahmadiya mosques in the metropolis were all missing.
Though the loud speakers fixed at the tower of the various mosques blurred with the sound of the Landani calling for prayers, that was meant to serve as a reminder for people to pray in their closets.
The Northern Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Abdul Salaam Ahmed, told the Daily Graphic that the decision not to hold the usual Friday congregational prayers was taken at a meeting held last Wednesday and attended by all Imams in the metropolis following the President’s directives.
Some of the Muslim faithful, who spoke to the Daily Graphic on the issue, said once directives given by the President were part of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), they had no other alternative than to adhere to it.
Halid Salifu, a devout Muslim, who said Friday congregational prayers were a constant feature on his schedule, said he saw it as divine as the directive was taken to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Mohammed Ibrahim, a journalist said the ban was in the right direction because per Islamic practices, there was no way they could avoid body contact during the prayers.
Mamunatu Issah, a student underscored the need for people to abide by the directives to stop the virus from spreading.
” We live to worship the Almighty Allah and, therefore, once the ban on congregational prayers is to save lives, we must adhere to it”.
In line with Quran
From Wa Emmanuel Modey reports that a resident of Limanyiri , a suburb of Wa, Hajia Amata Seidu, said the directive was in line with what Prophet Mohammed said to his followers to be obedient to authority during an outbreak of an epidemic in the Quran .
Referring to Hadith in the Quran, she said, there was a time that Prophet Mohammed and the authorities during an epidemic issued a directive to restrict movement that the people obeyed. She, therefore, asked all, irrespective of their religious background to abide by the President’s directive. “I really missed my religious duties because it has been a routine practice of regularly listening to the sermon and praying between 12.30 and 1.30pm on Fridays”, she said.
Alhaji Issahaku Moomin Tahiru, the Wa Municipal Chief Executive ( MCE ), when visited said he was lost for words to describe what was happening.
He said although he missed their religious services last Friday, he felt it was in the right direction to preserve the health of the people.