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Reopening responsibly: UAE mosques reopen with socially-distanced dawn prayers

Sahim Salim/Dubai
Filed on July 1, 2020 | Last updated on July 1, 2020 at 04.15 pm
UAE, mosques, reopen, call to prayer, Azan, muezzin, Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, coronavirus, Covid-19 UAE, mosques, reopen, call to prayer, Azan, muezzin, Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, coronavirus, Covid-19 UAE, mosques, reopen, call to prayer, Azan, muezzin, Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, coronavirus, Covid-19

Al Farooq Omar Bin A; Khattab Mosque in Dubai.
(Photo by Shihab)

Al Rahama Mosque, Karama, Dubai.
(Muhammad Mustafa Khan)

Worshippers, keeping a safe distance from one another, perform prayers at a mosque in Abu Dhabi after UAE authorities reopen mosques and other places of worship at 30 per cent capacity on Wednesday July 1, 2020.
(Photo by Ryan Lim/ Khaleej Times)

Places of worship reopened 107 days after they were closed to keep the faithful safe from the spread of Covid-19.

The UAE's first socially-distanced prayers were offered on Wednesday, July 1, as mosques across the country reopened at 30 per cent capacity.

Places of worship reopened 107 days after they were closed to keep the faithful safe from the spread of Covid-19.

As the dawn call for the Fajr prayer was given out at 4.03am, worshippers in face masks and gloves made their way to mosques carrying their own prayer mats.

After over three months, the call for prayer did not have the phrase 'As-salatu fi buyutikum (pray in your homes)' introduced to encourage the faithful to not go to the mosques for their own safety.

Worshippers at the mosques could be seen adhering to strict precautionary guidelines laid out by the authorities to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Every second row at the mosques were left empty, while those offering prayers left a 3-metre gap between each other as guided by bright floor stickers.  

The usual 25-minute gap between the call for prayer and the actual Fajr prayer was cut down to 10 minutes, with the prayer beginning at 4.13 at the 770 mosques that opened in Dubai on the day. The post-prayer rituals, which would run into several minutes, were curtailed to the basics as worshippers left the mosques within five minutes after the prayer.

A customary exchange of niceties among worshippers after prayers outside the mosques did not happen on the day, with authorities having discouraged this practice to prevent gatherings.

Some mosques in industrial areas, labour residential areas, shopping malls and public parks will remain closed until further notice. Friday prayers will remain suspended.

The UAE first announced the suspension of public prayers in all places of worship on March 16, which was extended until further notice on April 9.

sahim@khaleejtimes.com


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