An assessment by the office of the National Chief Imam has revealed that various mosques observed COVID-19 preventive protocols during Friday’s congregational prayers.
The office says practices such as social distancing, the wearing of face mask, one man one mat, and a limited number of hundred worshipers were observed across various mosques.
President Akufo-Addo addressing the nation on Sunday, May 31, 2020, eased the COVID-19 restrictions which included public gathering after eleven weeks.
As a result, guidelines were issued as places of worship were reopened for religious activities.
The guidelines included a mandatory wearing of face mask, observance of social distancing, and 100 maximum number of persons for a service at a time.
The spokesperson for the National Chief Imam Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, in a Citi News interview after the first Jumah prayers were held yesterday, Friday, June 5, 2020, said there was maximum compliance from the Muslim community.
“All the mosques were able to conduct the Jumah prayers without breaking the COVID-19 protocols. For example, at a place called Fan Milk Junction where I was told the owner of the mosque gave some cards up to 100 before you enter the mosque, your facemask is checked and then you wash your hands before you are given the card to enter and when the cards reached 100, no one was allowed to enter.”
“I personally led my congregation. At my mosque, there is a gate and no one entered without a face mask and anyone who came there had his name registered and then we also observed the social distancing. In our mosque, the number was not up to 100. The Police Mosque also said their prayers and it was very encouraging. I was told in Kumasi, even a big mosque where we feared the number will be too big, I received information it was organized well,” he said.
Imam halts sermon to throw out congregant without face mask
However, there was drama at the Ussifiyya Mosque in Kumasi on Friday, June 5, 2020, after the Imam paused his sermon during the Friday prayers and asked one of his congregants to leave the mosque for failing to put on a face mask.
Imam of the Ussifiyya Mosque, Sheik Yussif Alhassan Umar, who ensured that all the measures announced by the Government were adhered to by attendees at his mosque, used part of his sermon to reiterate the need for all to ensure compliance with the guidelines.
While delivering the Friday sermon and noticed that a member of his congregation was not wearing the face mask which has become mandatory at his mosque, he paused and walked him out.
“There was a meeting after directives by the Government and I told all the members that we have to try as much as possible to do what we can do to apply the directives because it is prevention for all of us. And we are denying people entering the mosque without the mask, how can you a member enter the mosque without the mask?”
“No one is above the law. If you are commanding somebody not to enter the mosque without the mask, how can you enter without the mask? You have to lead by example. That is why I sacked him. And when I sacked him, he went out to get the mask before I allowed him to sit in the mosque,” Sheik Ussifiyya explained.