The central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will meet on Thursday to sight the Ramazan moon, said a spokesperson of the Ministry of the Religious Affairs.
The spokesperson stated that the meeting will be held at the Met Office in Karachi with Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman in the chair. He added that the meetings of the zonal committees will take place at the provincial headquarters.
According to the spokesperson, Islamabad’s zonal committee will hold a meeting at the Kohsar complex.
Earlier this month, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had said that the Ramazan moon will be sighted on April 24 as per the lunar calendar, marking the first fast of the holy month of Ramazan on April 25.
Chaudhry, who had announced the same date for the first fast back in February as well, mentioned that there had been a plan to gather people for the moon sighting. However, it has been called off owing to the coronavirus pandemic, which health experts say can be prevented by avoiding public congregations.
The 20 point agreement
The holy month of Ramazan this year is being marked amid the coroanvirus pandemic that has already caused havoc across the world and changed the social structure of societies.
President Arif Alvi has also met with ulema and announced that mosques would remain open for Taraweeh prayers and had urged citizens and religious leaders alike to exercise discipline and take precautions against the coronavirus pandemic when coming to mosques.
President Alvi and the ulema agreed on a 20 point plan that was also backed by the scholars ina separate meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The following are the 20 points agreed upon during the meeting:
1. No carpets or dariyaan (mats) to be laid down in mosques because the virus is airborne. Clean floors for prayers must be ensured.
2. If people want to bring prayer mats from home they may do so.
3. No gatherings after namaz/tarawih will be permitted.
4. If a mosque has an open area/garden it is preferable to conduct prayers there.
5. People over 50 years of age, children should not be allowed in mosques.
6. Everyone must follow the instructions of social distancing by WHO and other health experts.
7. Tarawih should not be conducted on roads, footpaths and anywhere else than the mosque premises.
8. People should continue to keep observing regular prayers at home.
9. Masjid, Imambargah floors should be washed with chlorinated water regularly.
10. There should be a six-feet distance during congregational prayers/
11. The mosque should form committees to ensure that people are abiding by the rules and decided SOPs.
12. Markers should be made on the floors of mosques and Imambargahs to guide people about the distance they should keep from others.
13. People should do ablution at home.
14. People must wear face masks when coming to mosques and maintain physical distance.
15. People must avoid handshakes.
16. Itikaf must be observed at home.
17. No one must prepare or hold Sehri and Iftaar in mosques.
18. Mosque committees should be in constant contact with the provincial government.
19. Mosques committees are allowed to conduct tarawih under these SOPs.
20. If during Ramazan, government authorities feel that the situation has got out of control and the number of cases surge, the authorities can review the decisions taken.