The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, in consultation with the leadership of the various Muslim communities in Ghana, has directed major mosques in urban areas not to hold Jumu’a prayers until further notice.
Despite the easing of restrictions by President Akufo-Addo to allow 100 worshippers, major mosques have been advised not to hold Friday prayers due to the high risk of losing control of the large congregational sizes.
This was in a statement issued in Accra by Alhaji Mammah Gado Mohammed, the Chairman of the National Chief Imam Advisory Board, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday.
The directive is aimed at preventing overcrowding in mosques to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Chief Imam called for the urgent formation of COVID-19 taskforces or committees for effective monitoring and enforcement of the new protocols at all levels of the masjid administrations – regional, district, community, neighbourhood and institutional.
The Chief Imam’s directives asked that where applicable Jumu’a prayers should be held at minor/lower masjids (mosques) concurrently in all communities with high Muslim concentration, with the number of worshippers not exceeding 100.
However, Jumu’a prayers at institutional mosques such as the Police and Military where there is sufficient control may be observed.
The statement said community or neighbourhood masjids may open for daily routine prayers bearing in mind the preventive measures as well as the social distancing protocols.
It urged mosque leaders to ensure mandatory wearing of face masks before entering the masjid and check the temperature of worshippers using the thermometer gun where available.
It encouraged that persons with high temperature should be referred to the Mosque COVID-19 Committee.
It discouraged the use of ablution kettles and rather asked that mosques provided sachet water and dustbins to prevent littering.
All masjid should be fumigated before opening and mosques who failed to comply would remain closed, it said.
The statement entreated Muslims to strictly observe the new protocols and guidelines while they await further directives on other grey areas.
“Let us all help to protect each other,” it said.