28 August 2020
With additional zones, 13,000 spaces for Friday prayers available each week
1. Since 26 June 2020, Friday congregational prayers have resumed safely at 65 mosques, accommodating up to 50 congregants at any one time. Recently, a trial to allow for an additional prayer zone at four mosques was allowed, to increase the limit for congregational worship to 100 persons across two zones. The four1 mosques have successfully implemented the Safe Management Measures (SMM) as prescribed by the Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth for a trial. This trial was designed to test the readiness of places of worship and for worshippers to perform congregational prayers in larger numbers safely.
2. For the past 10 weeks (26 June - 28 August) approximately 84,000 spaces have been provided for Friday prayers. Worshippers have adapted well to the additional safe measures and behaved responsibly, cooperating with mosque frontline officers to ensure the smooth conduct of daily and Friday congregational prayers.
Increasing congregant numbers safely
3. With the success of this trial, Muis will continue with its cautious approach to reopening, by expanding the pilot to allow another 20 mosques to offer two prayer zones for Friday prayers. With this, a total of 24 mosques will now offer praying capacity for 100 spaces (2 zones) for 3 sessions on each Friday. Another 10 mosques will also begin offering three prayer sessions. This will provide a total of 13,000 places each week for Friday prayer starting 4 September 2020, a 34% increase spaces available each week. The list of mosques is found in Annex A.
4. Muis and the mosques would like to thank worshippers who have abided by the safe measures and guidelines that are put in place to ensure the safety of all visitors to our mosques. We hope to progressively offer more spaces in stages, complying to SMM guidelines for multiple worship zones in our mosques.
Registration in advance
5. As more spaces become available, Muis will open Friday prayer registration for more than a week each time, to make it easier for the public to obtain a slot. Registration for Friday prayer booking for 4 September and 11 September will open on Tuesday, 1 September 2020 at 10 a.m. for worshippers who have yet to secure a space since 24 July (inclusive). Registration for congregational prayer slots at all mosques will be open via the MuslimSG app and via https://ourmosques.commonspaces.sg
6. In the past weeks, Muis has found that some members of the public have made bookings but fail to turn up, particular in the third prayer session, thus depriving people of the prayer slots. Congregants who have obtained a slot but are unable to come for prayer are asked to cancel their bookings early, so that others may have an opportunity to register. Congregants may cancel bookings at any time up to one hour before the reserved prayer session. Those who fail to cancel their bookings and do not turn up will be deemed as having secured a slot in the system and will have to await the prevailing debarment period before they can reapply. This debarment period will be reviewed and updated as more spaces progressively become available.
Safe Management Measures still in place
7. Increasing congregant numbers on Fridays will require more resources and manpower to ensure the safety of worshippers. More frontline mosque officers will man the registration and exit points as well as extra ushers to ensure worshippers get to their prayer zones safely. In addition, SMM measures will continue, in the form of separate entrances and exits for different zones, as well as no inter-mingling between zones.
8. Vulnerable individuals (those aged above 60 and those exhibiting symptoms of acute respiratory infection as well as pre-existing chronic medical conditions) and children below the age of 12 are strongly encouraged to refrain from going to the mosque. They should perform prayers at home instead. Worshippers with valid prayer slots who are unwell should cancel their booking. All are encouraged to take wudhu before coming to the mosque, bring their own prayer items (prayer mats and a shoe bag), wear a mask, refrain from talking and physical contact with other congregants, maintain safe distancing and practice SafeEntry when entering and exiting the mosques.
Religious Concession still applies
9. Muis endeavours to provide opportunities for as many Muslims as possible to perform Friday prayers. Even with the increase in prayer spaces, the original rukhsah2 , as advised by the Office of the Mufti in its Fatwa3 will still be in place. Those who have yet to attain a slot for Friday prayers are given the flexibility to replace Friday prayer with Zuhur prayer and are encouraged to tune in to Friday sermons delivered via SalamSG TV.
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA
1 The four mosques are Masjid Assyafaah, Masjid Mujahidin, Masjid Al-Istighfar and Masjid Al-Iman.
2 Flexibility, permissibility, an exception to a general law, granted to preserve life or remove hardship.
3 Fatwa statement on precautionary measures in dealing with Covid-19 dated 24 March 2020.