MUI deputy chairman Muhyiddin Junaidi, third from left, at a press conference addressing the Covid-19 outbreak in Jakarta on Tuesday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

Do Your Prayers, and Don't Forget to Wash Your Hands: Indonesian Ulema Council

BY :NUR YASMIN

MARCH 04, 2020

Jakarta. The Indonesian Ulama Council or MUI has issued an order for Muslims in Indonesia to avoid mass gatherings, including tabligh akbar or public lectures and other community events.

"The virus spreads fast and is hard to detect, so we'd do better to postpone public events, especially large ones where the crowd can number in the hundreds. Other countries have canceled football games and concerts. Even in Iran, they've decided not to hold the Friday prayer congregation," Muhyiddin Junaidi, MUI's deputy chairman, told the press in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He said if people still want to hold large public events, they need to get a permit from the Health Ministry and make sure the location is kept clean and hygienic.

Muhyiddin said the Covid-19 outbreak was one of the main topics of discussion at the Indonesian Islamic Ummah Congress in Pangkal Pinang, Bangka Belitung, on Feb. 26-29.

MUI recommends Muslims to wash their hands often as well as performing the qunut nazilah prayers to ward off disasters. 

"Be sure to do your ablutions properly," the Muslim clergy said.

"Everyone should remain calm, help each other and stop spreading hoaxes," he said.

Muhyiddin also advised Muslims not to go on panic buying or hoarding basic supplies such as facemasks.

"Hoarding is not allowed in Islam. It shows pessimism and creates distrust of the government. This country is safe and the government is more than capable of protecting its people," he said.

Muhyiddin also criticized businesses that have been jacking up prices to profit from the panic. Some shops are selling facemasks for ten times the recommended retail price after the first confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Indonesia were announced on Monday.

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