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UUCSA applies to be friend of the court in mosque matter

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The United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) has applied to be a friend of the court in the High Court, should a bid to have mosques reopened be heard. It comes after Johannesburg advocate Zehir Omar threatened to approach the courts to have the regulations, which prohibit mosques from being open during the lockdown, overturned. Omar represents the Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa and the Jamiatul Ulama (not the mainstream ulama body). Last month, the two Islamic organisations wrote a letter to the Presidency appealing for the lockdown regulations to be relaxed, in the same way, that it allows the public to use taxis or to go to the supermarket.

“We took this decision with the primary Niyyah of furnishing the court with authentic fataawa (jurisprudence) and supporting references from the Shariah on the preservation of life and health in Islam, that emphasises the relevance of the Shariah in managing the Covid19 crisis in South Africa,” said UUCSA director Shaykh Ighsan Taliep.

A friend of the court is a party who merely provides information to the court to aid the court in making a decision.

Shaykh Taliep said the organisation have provided the court with research and information of the public policy and governance decisions made by Muslim majority countries and ulama around the world in relation to the Covid19 pandemic. The ulema body has also commented on the difficulties with the proposed amendments to the regulations in light of the prevailing circumstances in the country. It has also provided the court with the expert opinion of Professor Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Witwatersrand, one of South Africa’s leading experts in respiratory viruses.

“We believe, that our application, asserts the presence of the Muslim community within the broader South African nation which we are an integral part of, and signals the importance to UUCSA, of a ruling on any matter, now or in the future, that would affect the broader Muslim community.”

Taliep acknowledged that the mosque debate had become an emotive one.

“We appeal to the Muslim community to reflect carefully upon it, with utmost sincerity, and pray to the Almighty to favour us with the wisdom and understanding that will bring us closer together, rather than move us further apart.

“Let us unite as a community and country in the fight against the Covid19 pandemic. And when we disagree on issues, let us do so with the respect and decorum befitting of the rank of Ulama and reflecting the character and akhlaaq of the Prophet Muhammad [May the peace and blessings of Allah SWT be upon him]”


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