“Alhamdullilah” was the emphatic words of some of the musallees who finally stepped foot into the masjid after 70 days of lockdown in South Africa. A handful of mosques in Cape Town opened their duas for Jumuah – the first Friday prayer during level 3 of the lockdown, in which many restrictions have been eased.
Masjidul Khair in Rondevlei in Mitchells Plain had a turnout of 40 people, who entered the mosque under the watchful eye of compliance officers. Upon entering, musallees lined up 1.5 metres apart, waiting for their temperature check, screening and to sanitise their hands. Only those wearing masks and with their own musallee were allowed. It was a tedious process, but one that proved to be efficient.
The masjid’s imam Shaykh Riad Fataar expressed his satisfaction with Friday’s proceedings and the manner in which musallees had adhered to the regulations, as set out by the masjid, the MJC and government.
“Today was a trial run but we can see that people are in need of spirituality. Unfortunately, many people with comorbidities called me to ask if they could attend and we strictly said no,” he said.
“Alhamdullulah, the community responded by assisting us and ensuring the regulations are applied.”
Fataar said after two weeks of planning the logistics, they now know “it is possible”. Shaykh Nabeel Majiet is providing support to oversee the process, with the help of a compliance officer.
“We can maintain the social distance and the necessary precautions. We conducted Jumuah in one part of the masjid at 12h45 and the second Jumu’ah commenced in another area. The third jumuah was conducted in a third area. After the third Jumu’ah, the masjid will be disinfected. When musallees are complete, they sanitise again and leave through a different door.”
“We hope that next week will go smoother, and we will do our best, insha-Allah,” he added.
Taariq Karriem from Mitchells Plain could not contain his excitement after completing Jumuah salah.
“I’m so happy…I’ve been at home for over 70 days so it is a relief to be able to pray in the masjid. Its heartsore being away from the masjid. I can’t express how grateful I am for being able to be here today.”
Fataar acknowledged the widespread objection to masajid being opened and the caution emphasised by the MJC for mosques not to open for at least another month, due to the Western Cape being the current epicentre of the virus. However, he emphasized that there must be equal respect for the masajid who decided to conduct congregational prayers and those which choose to remain closed.
VOC is aware of two other masajid in the Mitchells Plain area who are hosting Jumuah namely Masjid Quba Rondevlei and Westgate Masjid.
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