ISLAMABAD: People in the federal capital will be able to sit in mosques for the last 10 days of Ramazan in i'tikaf after the district administration granted conditional approval for the annual religious practice.
Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that there are more than 900 large and small mosques in the federal capital. However, he said that it was not possible to maintain proper social distancing for those sitting in smaller mosques for i'tikaf.
Hence, he said that i'tikaf will not be allowed in such mosques lest they help spread the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), which has so far infected at least 759 people in the city and claimed at least six lives.
“Only those mosques will be allowed [to let people in for itikaf] which are spacious and which ensure the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the district administration,” Shafqaat said.
In this regard, he said that the Faisal Mosque, which can accommodate 10,000 worshippers in its main hall, has sufficient capacity.
On the other hand, sources in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) said that under normal circumstances, around 500 people can sit in i'tikaf in Faisal Mosque, but under the SOP and social distancing requirements, around 150-200 people can still easily sit in Itikaf in the mosque. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 8,000 people used to sit in i'tikaf in large and small mosques of the federal capital.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2020.
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