The Council of Ulema (Tajikistan’s highest Islamic institution) has told mosques to suspend public gatherings, including Friday prayers, beginning on April 18 to protect against the coronavirus, even though the country has not reported any coronavirus cases yet.

A decision adopted by the Council of Ulema on April 17 also imposes suspension on performing Taraweeh (additional ritual prayers performed by Muslims at night after the Isha prayer during the holy month of Ramadan) and public gathering such as iftar and others.  

“It is also necessary to temporarily suspend collective prayers in mosques,” the decision says.  

Recall, all mosques in the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, were closed for collective prayers on March 4 but excluding burial rites, following the decision that was made by the Council of Ulema on March 3 in connection with the danger of a coronavirus epidemic.

The proper appeal was published on the website of the Islamic Center of Tajikistan. “In order to prevent infection and the spread of the virus among the inhabitants of the country, it was decided to temporarily refuse to perform collective prayers, except for performing janaza”, the statement said. 

However, the mosques reopened for collective prayers on March 20.