Ministry of Interior and Presidency of Religious Affairs announce the measures taken within the scope of the fight against Coronavirus

Announced by the Ministry of Interior on March 16, 2020:

“Our Ministry has sent another additional notice on the Coronavirus to 81 Offices of Provincial Governors.

As part of the notice; the activities of theaters, cinemas, performance centers, concert halls, engagement/wedding-ceremony halls, restaurants/cafés with live performance/music, casinos, pubs, taverns, coffee houses, coffee shops, cafeterias, countryside gardens, waterpipe lounges, waterpipe cafés, internet cafés, all kinds of video game arcades, all kinds of indoor playgrounds for children (including shopping malls and restaurants), tea gardens, clubhouses, amusement parks, swimming pools, Turkish baths, saunas, thermal springs, massage parlors, SPAs and sports centers shall be temporarily suspended as of 24:00 today.

The process of taking measures is ongoing in order to protect the citizens from and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, which has emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan with continuous threats to the entire world and which has been designated as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

As a result of evaluations made with the Ministry of Health in this context; On the grounds that the risk of transmission of the disease would increase, in case our citizens come together collectively at a very close distance to places that are operated as Recreational and Entertainment Public Places; the activities of theaters, cinemas, performance centers, concert halls, engagement/wedding-ceremony halls, restaurants/cafés with live performance/music, casinos, pubs, taverns, coffee houses, coffee shops, cafeterias, countryside gardens, waterpipe lounges, waterpipe cafés, internet cafés, all kinds of video game arcades, all kinds of indoor playgrounds for children (including shopping malls and restaurants), tea gardens, clubhouses, amusement parks, swimming pools, Turkish baths, saunas, thermal springs, massage parlors, SPAs and sports centers shall be temporarily suspended as of Monday, March 16, 2020 at 24:00. 

The plenary sessions of non-governmental organizations (associations, foundations) and all kinds of meetings and activities of non-governmental organizations, including trainings, that bring people together (except for administrative activities which are required to be carried out) shall be temporarily suspended as of Monday, March 16, 2020 at 24:00.

The activities of “Condolence Houses,” where citizens come together collectively, shall be suspended as of Monday, March 16, 2020 at 24:00.

Friday and daily prayers with the congregation are interrupted in mosques and masjids

On March 16, 2020, Directorate of Religious Affairs stated the following:

“President of Religious Affairs Prof. Ali Erbaş made a statement on the Friday and daily prayers performed with the congregation in mosques and prayer rooms against the risk of spreading Coronavirus and announced that the Friday and daily prayers with the congregation were suspended until the risk of spreading the virus disappears.

President of Religious Affairs Erbaş stated that the Higher Council of Religious Affairs has evaluated the issue regarding the performance of Friday and daily prayers with the congregation against the risk of spread of Coronavirus, and announced the decision made by the Council.

The decision made by the High Council of Religious Affairs and shared by Erbaş  is as follows;

“Our Higher Council of Religious Affairs has evaluated the issue regarding the performance of Friday and daily prayers with the congregation due to the risk of the spread of Coronavirus, which has been designated as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization and which has caused the death of thousands of people as it is yet to be curable, and thus found it necessary to make the following statement.

According to the information given by competent authorities;

  • The new type of Coronavirus is quickly spread from person to another in its environment and it turns into epidemic rapidly;
  • As the virus cannot be detected at the time it is initially transmitted, those who carry the virus pose a great danger to other people in the same environment;
  • The places where people are present collectively create a very suitable environment for the spread of the mentioned virus and pose a high risk for the disease to become epidemic.

With the beginning of an increase in the number of cases in our country, the organizations where people come together were canceled by the public authority as a precaution. Considering this extraordinary situation, it is understood that the risk of spreading the virus may increase in the mosques and prayer rooms, in case the prayers continue to be performed with the congregation.

In this respect, Islam, the main purpose of which also consists of protecting the human life, never allows the practices that endanger people's lives. As a matter of fact, our Prophet has ordered that if you hear that the plague emerged from the place where you are present, you should not leave that particular area, and thus underlined the practice of quarantine, and also stressed the need to be cautious against epidemic diseases with his following order: “Everybody carrying a contagious disease should be kept away from healthy people.”

In this regard, it is also known that there are applications as part of which sahabe-i kiram (Companions of the Prophet Muhammed) and prayers should be performed in houses at times when it is hard or dangerous to join the congregation due to natural disasters or epidemics. Relying on such information and practices of the periods of asr-ı saadet (Golden Age) and sahabe-i kiram, Islamic scholars stated that it was required not only to be healthy, but also to avoid harm to others, in order to participate in collective prayers. Therefore, it was required to suspend the prayers that are performed along with the congregation in mosques and prayer rooms, especially Friday prayers, until the danger of spreading the new type of Coronavirus disappears. In this process, it is sufficient to perform the noon prayer instead of the Friday prayer. Furthermore, it was decided that it would be appropriate to continue to recite the azan, namely, the maxim of Islam, and to keep the mosques open for those who want to perform prayer individually.”