I live next to a mosque. For as long as I can remember, and long before that, five daily prayers have been prayed here and in many mosques across Bosnia&Herzegovina. Five times a day, I can hear the adhan, the call to the prayer. Five times a day, I can respond to the call and share the joy of the prayer with my neighbors and everyone that decides to come and join us in the congregational prayer.
The past few weeks have been different. Adhan can be heard but no one comes to the mosque. Those are the instructions of the chief of the Islamic Community in Bosnia&Herzegovina, the Grand Mufti, Husein Kavazovic. Taking into consideration the pandemic situation and the consequences of the virus that ravages the world, the Grand Mufti and the Mufti Council agreed to stop all congregational activities in Bosnia&Herzegovina aside from Jummah prayers that take place under very firm restrictions.
Mosques are the places of worshipping the God. Congregational daily prayers helped people to understand the importance of mosques and establish the connection, firstly with God, and then with the leaders of the prayers and other people there. It made them love the mosques more, so when the decision was made and the activities were stopped, everyone was somber. How could the people who never missed a prayer in congregation now stop coming to one? Still, respecting the instructions of the Grand Mufti and understanding the risk of the outbreak, no one complained. The Grand Mufti advised people to pray at home, but also instructed imams to maintain continuity of praying in mosques and worshipping Allah (swt).
Jummah prayers in all mosques take place in a way that only the basic conditions for the prayer to be valid have to be fullfilled. Only four people can attend, three members of the jamaat council and imam whose job is to lead the prayer and read the khutbah. The members of the jamaat council need to be over 18 and under 65 years of age, and if one of them is not feeling well, someone has to attend the prayer instead of them. The imams are instructed to make the khutbah short and convenient for the situation. The Grand Mufti, also known as Rais-al-Ulema, leads the prayer in Gazi Husrev-bey’s Mosque in Sarajevo, and his khutbah is broadcast live on television and radio so those who are not able to attend can hear it and grasp important lessons out of it.
Imams are instructed to recite Salat al-Tunjeena (the prayer of deliverance), a powerful prayer upon the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), every day before the Fajar adhan and salutations upon the Prophet (pbuh) before the Isha adhan. During the weekends, online kuttabs take place. The imams are instructed to stay in touch with the children of their jamaats and for this purpose, the Islamic Community issued the online educational platform called Onlinemekteb. In case of the death of the person infected with Coronavirus, the Mufti Council agreed on the Fatwa on Ghusl Mayyit, Shrouding and Janazah. Every aspect of performing these activites was mentioned and explained, and the persons performing them were notified and guided.
Come to prayer,
Come to success.
Every day, five times a day we can hear these words. The muezzin is calling us to come to success. Soon we will be able to do that. Soon we will be able to pray in our mosques, with our neighbors and friends. But right now, the bigger success is to stay at our homes and follow the instructions of our community. We hear and we obey. InshaAllah, we will get through this and fill our mosques and masjids with prayers, love and joy once again
- A kuttab is an Arabic word meaning elementary school, primarily used for teaching children in reading, writing, grammar, and Islamic studies.
The Grand Mufti of Bosnia&Herzegovina before the Jumah prayer on Friday 27.03.2020. in Gazi Husrev-bey’s Mosque (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)