AV Mahomed, the head of the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere, has denounced a call to the government by a body of Muslim theologians, asking for a concession to hold a special ass Eid prayer. Eid is expected to take place on Sunday, and will be celebrated by Muslims around the world to mark the end of the Ramadan fast. The Jamiatul Ulama in KwaZulu-Natal, appealed to the President to allow Muslims a concession to hold a post-sunrise prayer session at an open-air venue. The letter to the president described the Ramadan as “the most painful we have experienced in our lives”, and was written by Secretary-General Moulana Rafiek Mohamed. “Normaly during Ramadan much more time is dedicated to prayer in the mosque…we were, with anguish and distress, forced to forego this in the greater good of the nation.” He continued saying that very strict compliance with all health and safety protocols would be religiously adhered to.
The request for a concession angered AV Mahomed however, as he believes a mass gathering would put “people at great risk”. “I don’t believe in any mass gatherings. My reason is that they are difficult to manage. Knowing that the Eid prayers amount to between 3.000 and 4,000 worshippers, either in the mosque or in an open field, how do you manage entry and exits, social distancing and sanitising? If it is for all Muslims then I would be in favour, but we have the government regulations to contain the virus which we need to uphold and respect.”
AV Mahomed believes that allowing only a certain number of people to pray would be discrimination to all the others that would not be allowed to. “If one can’t pray then we all don’t pray. A limited number means discrimination.”