In COVID-19 Updates

Update 21 from COVID-19 Crisis Task Force

To our Community members and attendees,

We hope you are all keeping well.

Wilādat Mubārak to you all on the auspicious birth anniversary of our 10th Holy Imām, Imām ‘Ali an-Naqi (a). We pray through his intercession for the quick recovery of those who are unwell and for the safety of all of humanity during these unprecedented times.

Alhamdulillāh cases in Ontario continue in a downward trend, with less than 100 cases each day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. While much of the province has moved on to Stage 3, we must still be cautious of our immediate bubbles and the guidelines emphasized to practice physical distancing. Stage 3 is a step towards reopening our economy, but the virus is still very much present and we must continue to do our part.

The COVID-19 Crisis Task Force met on Tuesday August 4, 2020 to discuss the following agenda items:

  1. COVID-19 Contact Tracing app
  2. Reopening our centres for salāt
  3. Precautionary advice for Muharram 1442 AH

COVID-19 Contact Tracing App

The COVID-19 Contact Tracing App is available for both iOS and Android phones. We strongly recommend you install the app. The app can let people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear. Your privacy is protected. Read more about COVID Alert by clicking here.

Reopening our Centres for Salāt

After much thought and consideration the ISIJ of Toronto has decided to reopen the Jaffari Community Centre for Fajr salāt, starting Saturday August 8, 2020 at 4:45 am (for daily prayer timings refer to the registration link). This will give us an opportunity to put into action and evaluate our processes and protocols.

The Masumeen Islamic Centre is in the process of preparing for reopening for Fajr salāt and an update on their start date will soon follow.

In order to adhere to physical distancing guidelines, prayers will be at 2 metres apart, each individual reciting with the niyyat of furāda, even though an Imām will lead the prayer.

Those wishing to attend the centre(s) for Fajr prayers, must complete an online registration form. The form must be completed for each date that you wish to pray at the centre.

Registration will close at 6 pm for the next day’s Fajr prayers. If you are not registered by 6 pm the evening prior, you will not be allowed to enter the premises. There will be no exceptions.

  1. Doors will open 20 minutes before prayer time and close 10 minutes before prayer time. Please be on time.
  2. Pre-screening will be done again at the entrance.
  3. Ensure you have a mask with you and that it is worn at all times.
  4. Attendees must bring their own prayer mat, turba and tasbih.
  5. Qur’ān and Du’ā books will not be available, please bring your own, or use your phone.
  6. All attendees will be required to vacate the centre within 20 minutes after the prayer time.
  7. Please do not wander around the centre and only visit the areas permitted.
  8. Washrooms/Wudu areas will be closed. Please perform Wudu at home before attending.
  9. You may only bring a water bottle to the centre. No other food or drink is permitted.

Please ensure you have watched the video of guidelines (Click here) prior to arrival so that you are familiar with the procedures.

Precautionary Advice for Muharram 1442 AH

In just over two weeks, Muslims worldwide will mark the beginning of a new Islamic Year. For our Shi’a communities, this is not a joyous time, but rather a time when we gather at our centres and express our grief and sorrow as we commemorate the Martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (a).

This year, we will experience an additional grief; we cannot gather at our centres due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we cannot come together for majālis, as many centres remain closed. Without a doubt, not being able to attend the centre(s) will be difficult, but each and every one of us can make our homes a place of commemoration for our immediate families.

It is vital that we understand the seriousness of doing our part in containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, especially as some of us may want to hold private majālis in our homes. There are complications in hosting a majālis that need to be considered and so we urge that you reconsider in-person gatherings and instead, hold online programs that family and friends can benefit from, from the safety of their homes.

The Office of Ayatollah Sistani and the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America have issued guidelines for conducting Muharram 1442 programs. In addition to guidelines for online programs and for centres that have decided to open (not the ISIJ of Toronto), there is also mention of the following key messages:

1. House ceremonies should be such that only family members and those who visit often can attend. 

2. If a person decides to organize a private majlis, then he or she is legally and religiously responsible to adhere to the guidelines of the local health authorities as follows:

  • Not exceeding the maximum number of persons allowed in gatherings at a private home.
  • Maintaining the compulsory social distance. This means that the organizer will not be able to invite a full house; they will have to be selective in who is invited and who is not.
  • Record the name and contact number of attendees/participants.
  • Enforce the use of face masks, gloves and other necessary precautionary measures.
  • Control the entry and exit of individuals so that social distancing requirements are not violated.
  • Serving tea, juice (sharbat) or other food/drinks (i.e., tabarruk) should be strictly avoided to prevent any transmission of the virus.
  • If a reciter or orator refuses to attend in person, then don’t judge him or her for the decision. Find someone else or do the majlis through zoom or other media.

Additionally, all reciters, including the speaker, should observe wearing a mask at all times.

(To read the guidelines by Council of Shia Muslim Scholars in North America, click here)

(To read the statement by Grand Ayatollah Sistani on the mourning ceremony of Imam Husayn (a) in Muharram 1442 AH, click here)

Click here to view a video on how Coronavirus can spread at a majlis

We urge each and every one of our community members and attendees to please take care, especially in the coming months. Our patience during this trial, will insha’Allāh be rewarded and we hope that next Muharram we are together at our centre(s).

Please keep our community and all of humanity at the forefront of your prayers. May we be relieved of this difficult situation soon.

With Salāms & Du’ās

ISIJ Secretariat Office
Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Toronto
905.695.9786 | [email protected]