Special Representative to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Maulana Tahir Ashrafi on Sunday stated that Eidul Fitr would be celebrated across Pakistan on the same day while the same would apply for the commencement of the holy month of Ramazan.
For the past several years, the nation had been surrounded by the controversy related to the sighting of the moon at the start and culmination of Ramazan. The disagreement divides the residents of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas from the rest of the country resulting in two different dates for the celebration of Eid. Addressing a news conference, Ashrafi observed that a meeting to sight the Ramazan moon had been called in Peshawar on Tuesday.
He said the nation this time would observe the holy month on the same date. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, first of Ramazan is likely to fall on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. The PM’s aide observed that this year no mosque or seminary would be closed during Ramazan, however, he urged all the believers to follow the Covid-19 precautionary measures to contain the spread of the pandemic. “The coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) are being followed in all the masajid (mosques) and madrassas (seminaries) across the country,” he said.
Ashrafi said it was the first time that the meeting of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee would be held in Peshawar, adding that all ulema were in contact in this regard and that discussions with Religious Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Ruete-Hilal Committee Chairman Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad were being held. He clarified that the government was not cancelling the registration of any mosque or madrassa and that a few elements had been running a campaign on social media in this regard.
He said citizens of 60 years of age could offer prayers in mosques this year in Ramazan and recalled that the age limit last year was 50 years. Commenting on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks wherein he had linked vulgarity to rape, Ashrafi said that some segments of the society launched a baseless campaign against the premier by angling his statement and attempted to show as if he had committed a crime. He said Imran Khan was the head of an Islamic democratic country and had rightly declared vulgarity as a major cause of sexual assault or rape. He said the premier had not held women responsible for rape and added that some elements elaborated his statement incorrectly and tried to portray him anti-women.
Meanwhile, scholars of various schools of thought have refused to implement some of the points of the Covid-19 SOPs, calling them against the Shariah. They said on one hand, business and shopping centers in the country had been allowed to remain open with SOPs, while on the other, shrines were closed. A joint declaration issued by a convention organized by the Tahafuz-e-Namoos Rasalat Mahaz in Lahore stated that any SOPs that violate the Shariah will not be implemented.
The declaration said that mehfils will be held with full devotion and rows will not be spaced during the congregational prayers. It said that the wuzu khana (place of ablution) and taharat khana (washrooms) will not be closed. Furthermore, no age limit will be accepted for the worshipers praying in mosques. The religious scholars demanded that the shrines of Sufi saints should be opened otherwise “Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat would itself open these spiritual centres”. They further said that the SOPs which were not against the Shariah will be adopted and followed.