The wellbeing of worshippers and the mosque community has been at the core of all decisions that Al Manaar has made. We have all seen how heavily, and disproportionately the Muslim community has been affected by COVID-19. In the light of this moral obligation and the trust placed in us by our congregation we have adopted a careful attitude towards reopening the Masjid.
Despite our strength, despite our wealth and despite our learning there remains no vaccine and no effective early medication for this illness. As a result, there continue to be 100-150 people who die every day from COVID in the UK. This virus is likely to remain with us for several months more and remain part of our lives.
The latest easing of the lockdown and opening of the economy on July 4th, 2020 raised concerns that there might be a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, as occurred in Leicester and Blackburn. Alhamdulillah, the number of cases in the community appears to be stable, with no surge in infection to date. However, this situation can change rapidly, and we will need to be prepared for potential suspension of congregational prayers in future.
Following advice from Dr Muhammed Umar Ebrahimsa (Specialist in Infectious Diseases) we are planning for the phased reopening of Al Manaar from Monday 27 July (6th Dhul Hijjah). The virus remains infectious; and it is only through the precautions we all take that we can reduce the risk to worshippers, staff, and volunteers. Key to this will be adherence to government guidance, emphasising:
Maintenance of social distancing
Wearing face coverings at all times inside Al Manaar
Use of hand sanitisers on entry and within Al Manaar
Registration for contact tracing in the event of an outbreak.
Advice for those over 70 or those who were shielding to remain away from the Masjid.
To reduce risk of transmission; worshippers are requested to bring a prayer mat and a shoe bag with them.
Based on this advice, Al-Manaar along with other centers will re-open inshallah for congregational prayers in a phased manner as shown below:
Phase 1: From Monday 27th July 2020, we will start Asr and Maghrib congregational prayers. This will be reviewed regularly. Where it is deemed safe, we will open for more daily congregational prayers. More information on registration and requirements will be provided.
Given the increased risk of infection associated with large congregations, as seen in Blackburn, Al Manaar will NOT hold Eid prayers and Friday prayers on 30th July
We have considered arranging Eid in an open space, but local Councils are not permitting such large events to take place under current pandemic conditions.
Phase 2: From Friday 7th August 2020, we will start holding limited Jumo’a prayers. To avoid crowding and waiting outside the Centre, worshippers will be required to register and book places in advance. More updates will be provided.
Once again, we are extremely grateful for the understanding, cooperation, and patience demonstrated by our community through out these difficult pandemic times. May Allah relief us all from this pandemic and enable our beloved mosques to function in a normal way with no restrictions.
May Allah grant you a happy rewarding Eid.