Isis reduces prayer frequency in Nineveh on account of war. In picture: People offer prayers in Iraq.Reuters

In a surprising move, the Islamic State group has reduced the number of times a Muslim resident of Nineveh in Iraq has to pray from five to three, with the terror outfit's internal panel even issuing a fatwa in this regard. Defaulters will have to face severe punishment.

The most astonishing aspect of the fatwa is that it orders people to do something for which several people have been killed by the terror group itself!

Earlier, the Islamic State group — also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) — had meted out punishments for people who had not prayed the mandatory number of times during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

According to a local news outlet: "Isis has issued a decree in Nineveh to lessen Muslim ritual prayers from five to three times a day, due to what it calls a state of war. So, prayers might be shortened or combined. All preachers and imams have been informed to abide by this decree that covers all Isis-controlled areas in Nineveh."

It may be mentioned that the five-times-a-day prayers — referred to as salah — is considered one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. Given that Isis not only strictly follows and enforces the Sharia version of Islamic law, but also heavily punishes people for breaking that law, it comes as another surprise that the terror group has "threatened to flog the violators of the decree with 30 lashes."

Earlier, such punishments were meted out to those who smoked during Ramadan, women who did not follow strict dress code or people who deviated ever so slightly from Sharia law.

Interestingly, this is not the first time the terror group has ordered changes in the Islamic religious practices. It had earlier changed the timings of the calls to the aforementioned prayers on the ground that these timings had been set by governments and not religious authorities.