ISLAMABAD                  -               Renowned religious scholars of different schools of thought on Tuesday urged people to act responsibly by taking precautionary measures such as avoiding public gatherings in order to help the government contain the spread of COVID-19.

Talking to Radio Pakistan, they appealed for national unity and urged the masses to adopt preventive measures against the coronavirus.

Chief of All Pakistan Ulema Council Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said that the religious scholars of Pakistan were fully committed to cooperating with the government in order to prevent the spread of the pandemic. “The government is concerned about the current situation and we have assured it our full support in these times of crisis,” he said.

“I appeal to the people to stay at home and do not come out unnecessarily,” he said, adding that it is the teaching of holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to observe all precautionary measures in the wake of pandemic and not to create problems for others.

Staying at home is the best strategy right now,” he said, and added, “The government is very clear in its decisions and it is now responsibility of the people to follows all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).”

Religious Scholar Dr Dost Muhammad said humanity holds the utmost importance in Islam, adding that the COVID-19 was a global pandemic, “And as a Muslim we should take all precautionary measures to contain the spread of infection.”

He added Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi had taken timely steps by meeting ulema and devising SOPs for arranging special prayers in the holy month of Ramadan. “Now it is the responsibility of the mosques administration to make it sure that all the instructions and precautionary measures are followed properly and social distancing is ensured during prayers,” he stressed.

Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology Dr Qibla Ayyaz also said the meeting between the prime minister and religious scholars remained successful. “The ulema supported the government in its efforts to control the spread of coronavirus,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had appealed to the religious scholars to maintain social distancing during prayers and convince the general public to properly follow the guidelines.

Religious scholar Dr Muhammad Sajjad said the government had taken concrete measures to prevent the spread of the virus. “The religious leaders have a significant role to play in order to convince the general public to follow the government’s advisories properly,” he said, and added, “Islam gives utmost significance to humanity. It is not mandatory to offer Traweeh prayers at mosques, and it is preferable to arrange prayers at home with family in this situation.”