Special prayers to prevent COVID-19

By Shreya Haridas

CHENNAI, March 17: Amidst repeated advices by government authorities to avoid gatherings to prevent the spread of CoVid-19, a mosque in Periamet today asked its devotees to attend special prayers to contain the disease. The mosque has not taken any scientific preventive measures to check the spread of Corona Virus.

Naser, 54, a devotee who runs a  small business near the mosque says that, it need not take any preventive measures as the devotees wash their hands, face, teeth and other exposed body parts at least thrice before each namaz (a prayer performed five times a day).  “Half of the iman (faith) is in cleanliness,” he says.

The mosque cleans its building and surroundings only once in a week. The mats, which the devotees use for namaz, is usually washed only once a day, and not after every prayer.

With the closure of schools following the Tamil Nadu government’s order, school students too are rushing to the mosque to attend the prayers. Mohammad Rafeeq, a Class 9 student says that his teacher had told him not to attend even small gatherings. “But the mosque is safe,” he says. P Sathiyam, the guard in a restaurant opposite to the mosque, observes that the crowd in the mosque has not come down after the Corona Virus outbreak. In fact, the crowd has begun to increase on Fridays and weekends.

Mumtaz Begum, the mosque’s sandal-cum-mobile keeper, takes mobiles from the devotees and wipes sweat off her palm on her scarf without a second thought. She says, “We won’t be affected by Corona. We all wash our hands before eating as our religion says. Only those who have sinned need to worry.”

Mohammad Dawood, 28, who runs his grandfather’s hotel “National Durbar” opposite the Greater Chennai Corporation near Periamet says that, the virus outbreak was predicted by their last Prophet (messenger of God), Prophet Mohammad,  in 1400 AD, including that it will start in China. “To forgive all our sins which lead to the outbreak, the Imam  (priest) is conducting this special prayer, along with the daily namaz.”