Underestimating coronavirus is tantamount to committing sins: Religious minister

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Mar 2020

Egypt's Ministry of Islamic Endowments has extended a closure of mosques indefinitely

COVID-19 pandemic
Egyptian men perform the "Zuhr (noon) prayer" at a public park in the capital Cairo, on March 27, 2020, after a decision from the Ministry of Awqaf (religious emdowments) to close mosques and suspend Friday prayers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP)

Egypt's Minister of Islamic Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa has urged all Egyptians to work to preserve their life and that of others by following precautionary measures against the coronavirus.

"Preserving human life or others is one of the most important objectives of the [Islamic] sharia and acting accordingly is a legitimate duty,” Gomaa said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Negligence in what could lead to death is tantamount to committing sin[s]," he added.

Egypt ordered all mosques to shut their doors to worshippers performing the customary five daily prayers and Friday congregations as part of drastic steps to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

And the endowments ministry said earlier this week it would extend the closure indefinitely.

Avoiding infected people is an act that “will be rewarded” by God, the minister said, adding that following preventative measures is the only way to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“Raising awareness of the dangers of the spread of the coronavirus and methods of prevention is a national duty,” Gomaa said.

Earlier, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the country’s top Islamic authority, underlined the importance of abiding by health instructions and precautionary measures to combat the coronavirus, including performing prayers at home, practicing social distancing and maintaining personal hygiene.

Egypt has registered 656 coronavirus cases, including 41 fatalities.

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