Saudi Arabia asks people to perform ‘taraweeh’ prayers at home

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has asked people to perform the special ‘taraweeh’ prayers at their homes during the month of Ramazan in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a media report.

Saudi Arabia last month suspended congregational prayers across all mosques in the country, except for the two grand mosques in Mecca and Medina where only staff members are allowed to enter inside the premises.

“The suspension of performing the five daily prayers at mosques is more important than the suspension of taraweeh prayers,” Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Abdul Latif Al Sheikh was quoted as saying by the Al Riyadh newspaper on Sunday.

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“We ask Allah the Almighty to accept taraweeh prayers whether held at mosques, or homes, which we think is better for people’s health. We ask Allah the Almighty to accept prayers from all of us and protect humanity from this epidemic that hit the entire world, Al Sheikh added.

Taraweeh prayers are performed by Muslims at night during Ramazan, which will start later this month. Millions across the world, including India, perform the taraweeh prayers at mosques during the month of Ramazan.

In several Arab countries, the ‘azaan’ (call for prayer) has been amended in the wake of pandemic and now it urges people to pray in their homes.

Last month, the Grand Imam Shaikh of Egypt’s Jamia Al Azhar, an authority on Islamic injunctions, and the Supreme Council in Egypt, said that public gatherings, including congregational prayers at mosques, could result in spread of coronavirus and the governments of Muslim countries had full jurisdiction to cancel such events.

It also remains unclear if the annual Haj pilgrimage will be held this year, amid the coronavirus pandemic which has killed more than 110,000 people and infected nearly 19 lakh others worldwide so far.

The Saudi minister also said that in line with the instructions and precautions issued by the Ministry of Health and relevant authorities, five to six people from a deceased’s family are allowed to perform funeral prayers for the dead.

“This is a precaution in line with the prohibition of gatherings, so that funeral prayers take place at cemeteries should not exceed five to six of the deceased’s relatives, and the rest pray at their homes,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, which reported 4,462 COVID-19 cases and 59 deaths till Sunday, has extended a nationwide curfew until further notice due to the spread of the deadly disease.

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