Abu Dhabi, MINA – The National Disaster and Emergency Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) announced on Tuesday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will reopen mosques for Friday prayers starting December 4 with the provision that the congregation must comply with very strict coronavirus precautions.
The UAE has suspended prayers at mosques since mid-March, as part of efforts to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. Authorities started reopening mosques gradually on July 1, but Friday prayers remained suspended.
NCEMA said the move to reopen mosques for congregational prayers was an extraordinary step, achieved through a study conducted by UAE institutions to continue religious activities in places of worship. Thus quoted from English Alarabiya on Wednesday.
“The UAE Fatwa Council issued a fatwa covering the obligation for all groups of society, to fully comply with the health and safety instructions issued by the authorities, to prevent the transmission and spread of Covid-19. It is not permitted to violate this in any way,” said NCEMA.
The congregation for the Friday prayers which will be held later must also be limited to only 30 percent inside the mosque, the rest will be allowed to pray in the courtyard outside the mosque by broadcasting the prayers through loudspeakers.
The line between the congregation must also be two material, including when the congregation leaves and enters the mosque. Distance regulations must be obeyed.
“For Friday prayers, mosques will be allowed to open doors 30 minutes before prayers start and close doors 30 minutes after prayers,” said NCEMA.
Other Covid-19 precautions for Friday prayers include limiting Friday prayer sermons to no more than 10 minutes, mosque workers and volunteers having to organize the entry and exit of congregations, and all congregants must wear masks and bring their own prayer mats which cannot be left in the mosque or loaned to anyone.
“Health procedures also include avoiding holding doorknobs, following and maintaining distance and avoiding crowds. We want to emphasize that congregants read from the Koran or their personal smart devices, as well as download UAE-approved health apps and activate them while attending prayers at mosques,” said NCEMA. .
Every congregation must perform ablution at home, and elderly citizens, children, those suffering from chronic or respiratory diseases and those with weak immune systems should pray at home.
“The ablution places, toilets and prayer rooms are still closed and we are announcing changes to prayer times 15 minutes before the call to prayer and 10 minutes after prayer, except for Maghrib prayer which will sound 5 minutes before the call to prayer,” said NCEMA.
NCEMA also banned the distribution of food and water in mosques, adding that mosques and churches will continue to be closed in industrial areas.
The UAE recorded cases of Covid-19 reaching 161,365 confirmed cases, as many as 150,261 patients recovered and 559 deaths. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)