Covid: UAE residents set for second socially distanced Ramadan

Dubai - Some express joy at being able to offer Taraweeh at mosques even as they vow to follow all Covid safety rules.

Illustrative image, source:
Illustrative image, source:

By Saman Haziq and Hesham Saleh

Published: Sat 20 Mar 2021, 4:47 PM

Last updated: Sun 21 Mar 2021, 8:39 AM

With the holy month of Ramadan set to begin in less than a month, Muslims across the UAE are preparing for a safe spiritual experience. They are committed to abiding by the Covid safety rules outlined by the government.

Indian resident Nadeem Ahmed said he was happy that he would be able to offer Taraweeh (special prayers offered during the holy month along with the night prayer) at the mosque this Ramadan.

Women's prayer room will, however, remain closed.

The maximum duration of the special prayer will be capped at 30 minutes. The prayers were not hosted at mosques last Ramadan as places of worship remained closed as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19.

“It is a great blessing for us. Taraweeh in a congregation in a mosque is something I missed a lot last year," said Ahmed.

Ahmed and his family are vaccinated against the virus, but vowed to follow all the safety precautions. "I urge people who have cold and cough not to come to the mosque and instead stay at home to keep everyone safe.”

American expat and Dubai resident Randa A will be spending her sixth Ramadan here in the UAE.

She said she would miss the usual community gatherings and Taraweeh prayers at mosques (since prayer halls for women remain shut).

But she loves the spiritual vibe of the holy month in the UAE and is looking forward to it.

“Apart from my regular work routine, I will be spending most of my time reflecting and praying to make the most of these blessed days. Ramadan has always been a community affair for me.

"However, I will be avoiding any gatherings this year in light of the Covid safety restrictions.

"I feel this is a test from Allah. Last year’s Ramadan during the pandemic was a bit of a shock. This year, though, we are in a way prepared for it and I hope and pray we emerge stronger from this test,” she said.

For Esraa Arafa, an Egyptian hairstylist, this Ramadan will be totally different. This will be her first Ramadan with her husband.

“I look forward to being with my new family this Ramadan. We have all taken the Covid vaccine.

"It will be a new set up, a different style of Iftar and Suhoor.”