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Vice President calls for fatwas to regulate worship in coronavirus crisis

Jakarta Post - March 23, 2020

Jakarta – As the number of COVID-19 infections in Indonesia rose to 579 on Monday, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has called on Muslim clerics to issue fatwas to regulate the special circumstances that Muslims may find themselves in amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ma'ruf, who also currently serves as the non-active chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), said the MUI and other Islamic organizations should issue fatwas that provide guidance on the bathing of the dead and on wudhu (ablution rituals) in certain circumstances.

"If there is a lack of medical expertise and proper equipment to handle a body, the fatwas could allow for the deceased to be buried without being bathed," Ma'ruf said at a press conference at the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) office in Jakarta on Monday.

In addition, Ma'ruf asked the MUI to issue a fatwa that allows medical staff to perform prayers without first performing wudhu.

"In a situation where medical staff have to wear personal protective equipment and cannot take it off [...] the fatwa would make it easier for them to perform their prayers," he said.

Last week, the Indonesian Ulema Council issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims living in areas with widespread COVID-19 infection from performing Friday prayers and other congregational prayers at a mosque.

Up until Monday afternoon, Indonesia reported 49 deaths due to COVID-19. (trn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/03/23/vice-president-calls-for-fatwas-to-regulate-worship-in-coronavirus-crisis.html