On Friday Reopening
Our Dear Community Members,
We daily receive several calls from concerned community members inquiring about Jumaa prayers and when we will be open for them. We fully understand and appreciate your concern about not having Jumaa at ISB/CC as it is our serious concern as well. On the other hand, to be fully transparent, our answer is we are unfortunately still not comfortable enough with the decision to reopen for Jumaa.
As your safety is paramount, per our phased reopening plan, we delayed opening for Jumaa until sometime after reopening for the daily prayers. Although the five daily congregational prayers are going well; keeping in mind the context of our communities and the metropolitan location in the city of Boston as public health determinants, and as we observe and regularly consult with public health authorities and medical experts and with our management and staff, we believe that we should continue to close for Jumaa for the following reasons:
- A typical Jumaa congregation at ISBCC is 1,200 people
- Congregants at ISBCC include many people who are more at risk (e.g. seniors and essential workers with high exposure probability)
- Medical experts highly recommend that we do not pray on carpeted areas, which takes ISB Cambridge and the musallah in ISBCC out.
- The tiled area at ISBCC can only accommodate 70 people with proper social distancing, which means we must do multiple Jumaas (at least four to accommodate 40% of the usual attendance).
- Medical experts recommend that we disinfect the floor after each prayer, which will limit the number of Jumaa services as we will need time between prayers to do so.
- Restrooms must not be used for wudoo.
- A first-come-first-served basis attendance will mean people will be either turned away or made to wait until next prayer, which may lead to social distancing being compromised.
- A registration basis attendance is not equitable as not all people have access to internet or can use it just as easily.
- It would not be practically possible to enforce age limits or identify and turn away people who might carry the virus or be more vulnerable to it.
- The Fiqhi opinion that supports the suspension of Jumaa for protecting the safety and life of people
Although the increase rate of cases in Massachusetts might be slowing down, we are still being advised by experts that, for your own safety and the safety of the larger society, we should exercise more patience while constantly monitoring numbers and observing a more favorable environment to reopen for Jumaa. May Allah guide us, protect us, and have mercy on us all. Having said All the above, our team on the ground is re-evaluating and keeping Jumaa in mind.
Thank you for your understanding and may Allah reward you all for your patience.