Muslim congregants reminded to wear face masks at all times, bring own mats for congregational prayers

Dr Abdul Rahman addressing a press conference about Aidilfitri SOP in Sarawak. Screenshot taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Units (Ukas) livestream.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 11: Faithful congregants performing prayers in mosques and surau on Hari Raya Aidilfitri Eve and the first day of Syawal are required to wear face masks at all times and bring along their own prayer mats.

Assistant Minister of Islamic Affairs and Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi reminded about this following tighter restrictions on Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Sarawak to curb the spread of Covid-19 issued by the Sarawak Islamic Council (SIC).

Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations and visits in Sarawak have been limited to the first day of Syawal which is expected to fall on May 13 this year and only for close and immediate family members only.

“Takbir Hari Raya and Sunat Aidilfitri prayers are allowed in mosques and surau but the number of worshippers allowed to attend congregational prayers has been scaled back according to the capacity of premises and adhering to physical distancing of at least one metre.

“All worshippers must have their body temperatures taken and check-in through MySejahtera or manual book recording before entering the premises,” he emphasised during a press conference here today.

Mosques and surau staff, he continued, should open up all doors once the prayer sessions are completed to enable congregants to leave in an orderly manner.

“Do not crowd together when entering and exiting the mosques and surau,” he said.

Dr Abdul Rahman also urged congregants to avoid exchanging physical greetings with one another and they are encouraged to perform their prayers at home.

For Takbir Hari Raya, he added, one session will begin after the first Syawal Maghrib prayer at night and should not go beyond 10pm while another session will be held after first Syawal dawn prayers in the morning until the start of Sunat Aidilfitri prayers.

“Feasting after Aidilfitri prayers in mosques and surau are not permitted but they are allowed to distribute packaged food,” he explained.

Among the activities not permitted including Takbir from house to house, open house and Tahlil after Aidilfitri prayers in mosques and suraus.

On Raya visiting, Dr Abdul Rahman reminded the public that the number of visitors which is limited to close family members only must be capped at 50 per cent of house capacity at any one time by taking into consideration physical distancing requirements.

Graveyard visits during this Raya are not encouraged unless necessary.

As for areas under Enhanced MCO (EMCO), Dr Abdul Rahman emphasised that Sunat Aidilfitri prayers at mosques and surau, Raya visits and graveyard visits are strictly not allowed.

“The Council has the right to adjust and amend the guidelines from time to time according to needs.

“The restrictions and guidelines will come into effect throughout Syawal 1442H or upon any further instructions issued by the Council,” he added. — DayakDaily