UAE fights Covid-19: Muslims pray mask-free for first time in 28 months

Praying on personal mats will be optional at mosques and praying facilities

By Ehaab Qadeer

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Published: Mon 7 Nov 2022, 8:28 PM

On March 16, 2020, as the UAE took stringent measures to keep its residents safe from the pandemic, mosques across the country were closed for worshippers. Now, for the first time in 28 months, Muslims in the country can pray mask-free as authorities announced the lifting almost all Covid-19 restrictions.

"Today, we announced lifting all Covid-19 restrictions and wearing a mask at all open and closed facilities, including places of worship and mosques," said Dr Saif Al Dhaheri of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.

The Imam of Jumeirah Mosque, while speaking to Khaleej Times, said, "It is a very welcoming step; the mosque is now open as it was during the pre-pandemic days. The UAE Government took all the necessary measures to ensure public safety."

Praying on personal mats will be optional at mosques and praying facilities. Imran, a worshipper in the mosque, said, "Praying freely in the mosque without adhering to strict precautionary guidelines is a relief."

He added, "Also, if we miss jamaat (congregational prayer), we can go to the mosque and offer prayer, whereas earlier, the time slots of opening and closing of the mosque was a hassle", Imran added.

Mosque caretakers and the Imams did a commendable job ensuring that Covid protocols were followed and adhered to by all the worshippers. Abdul, a mosque caretaker, said, "For us, the safety of the sacred place was the utmost priority; we had to make sure everyone comes in with their own personal praying mats and face masks; if not, we had to provide them with it".

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The ease of restriction has brought smiles across worshippers of all faith. In gurudwaras, the offerings were given as takeaways when the restrictions were in place. Now worshippers can devour the holy offerings within the vicinity of the gurudwara.

Ann Melvin, a resident of Dubai, told Khaleej Times that the time slots of visiting church were hindering her daily routine. Now that the Covid restrictions are lifted, she is delighted that she can visit church anytime she wants.

Worshippers find themselves at peace as they can offer prayers without any restrictions and protocols.

ehaab@khaleejtimes.com


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