Coronavirus: UAE Fatwa Council lays out regulations for Muslims amid Covid-19 outbreak

New fatwa bans spread of rumours and gives alternatives for public prayers

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The UAE Fatwa Council issued a fatwa on Tuesday that prohibits congregational worship and calls for all Muslims in the country to comply with government rules to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The new fatwa bans Muslims who feel unwell from going to public places or attending any prayers, including those typically held on Friday, Eid and Ramadan.

On Monday, the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority, along with the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf), banned public prayers in all places of worship across the UAE, in an effort to limit Covid-19 infections among worshippers.

Tuesday’s fatwa goes further and bans rumour-mongering, calls for Muslims to help others and follow instructions issued by Saudi Arabia in relation to Umrah and Hajj.

UAE cancels public prayers to battle coronavirus

UAE cancels public prayers to battle coronavirus

The fatwa covered six points that must be followed by “all groups and segments of society”. They include “abiding by all health and regulatory instructions issued by UAE authorities to prevent the transmission and spread of the virus.”

The fatwa said those infected or who were feeling unwell should avoid public places, take all necessary precautions to quarantine themselves and “commit to treatment set out by health authorities.”

The fatwa exempted elderly or immunocompromised people, children and people with disabilities from attending congregational prayers – though all UAE residents have already been banned from attending prayers at places of worship. The rule extends to Friday prayers, Eid prayers, and Tarawih, held in Ramadan. Instead,

people can pray at home. The fatwa said the Dhuhr prayer could be performed in place of the Friday prayer, which has been suspended across the country for a month.

"As for the Hajj and Umrah, all Muslims should follow instructions issued by Saudi Arabia, out of its sovereign and legal responsibility to take care of pilgrims,” the fatwa said.

It called on everyone to co-operate with authorities and support efforts to eliminate the disease and prevent the spread of rumours.

“Official information must be obtained from official sources and those who mess with the security and stability of the country and spread rumours must be inhibited,” the fatwa said.

Finally it called on everyone to “extend a helping hand to those who need it” and said businesses should not take advantage the circumstance by raising prices – particularly for medicines and medical treatment.