SEPANG:Maqasid Syariah serves as the guiding principles in mobilising the government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the decision to enforce the Movement Control Order (MCO) to prevent the spread of the pandemic was in fact an application of one of the principles of Maqasid Syariah, which is to save lives.

In the spirit of "Malaysia Prihatin" (Malaysia Cares), the government has taken proactive measures to implement several phases of MCO, and now it is in the recovery phase, to ensure safety and save the people’s lives from the threat of COVID-19, he said when opening the 2020 Nusantara Syariah Judicial and Legal Conference here today.

“With the increase in statistics of patients and also death due to the pandemic, the society certainly understands that the principle of preserving lives is very important and as a government, it is the responsibility of a caring government to prevent the spread of the epidemic," he added.

Muhyiddin said the main principle of Maqasid Syariah, namely 'hifzul al-din' or protecting religion, is also an important topic discussed by the government during the implementation of MCO.

He said it has created a new norm in the lives of Muslims, including for congregational prayers in mosques and surau, where they are required to comply with the prescribed standard operating procedures (SOP).

“In the early stages, we have to close mosques and surau to prevent the COVID-19 infection in the community. Friday prayer was also not held for some time to protect the people’s lives.

"Alhamdulillah, today, the mosques and surau have been opened because the government is concerned about the need for Muslims to perform their religious obligations, which is part of the principle of 'hifzu al-din' or protection of religion.

“However, this principle is balanced up with the principle of 'hifzu al-nafs' or protection of life,” he said.

Muhyiddin said although the mosques and surau were now opened and congregational prayers, including Friday prayer, were allowed, members of the congregation were required to observe the new norms, including physical distancing.

“Normally, the imam will tell members of the congregation to close and fill the 'saf' for prayer, but under the new normal, the imam will say keep your distance. This is important so that Muslims who come to the mosque to worship are not exposed to the risk of the life-threatening COVID-19 infection," he added.