By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The Darul Iftah (Islamic advisory council) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has temporarily suspended all congregational prayers under its jurisdiction amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
BARMM Grand Mufti (council chief) Mohammad Abuhuraira Udasan issued a bilingual (Arabic and English) advisory on Thursday, saying the suspension will run from March 19 until April 10.
“The COVID-19’s rapid spread (prompted) the Bangsamoro Darul-Iftah to call for the suspension of all congregational prayers…to protect our people from the deadly virus,” Udasan said in his one-page announcement disseminated via traditional and social media networks.
He said the deferral also covers the regular Friday congregational prayers in all “small and big mosques” in BARMM, particularly in the components provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulum, Tawi-Tawi provinces, the cities of Cotabato, Marawi and Lamitan as well as 63 barangays in North Cotabato.
Udasan emphasized that the suspension was “temporary” because after the three-week observation, it can be lifted if there will be progress in the preventive measures being implemented against the virus.
Currently, there are 1,280 persons under monitoring (PUMs) and 43 Covid-19 patients under investigation (PUIs) in the region, with one confirmed death in Marawi City, the BARMM’s information bureau said.
A country-wide suspension of Islamic convergences, including Friday mass prayers, was announced on March 16 by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) in collaboration with the federations of ulama and imams in the Philippines.