'Can't miss Friday prayers': Residents pray in building corridors due to waterlogged streets in Sharjah

Areas such as Abu Shagara, Al Qasimiya, King Faisal Road, Al Mahatta, and Majaz have been particularly affected


SM Ayaz Zakir

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KT Photos: Muhammad Sajjad
KT Photos: Muhammad Sajjad

Published: Fri 19 Apr 2024, 3:55 PM

Last updated: Sat 20 Apr 2024, 7:40 PM

For a few residents of Al Majaz in Sharjah, missing out on Friday prayers in congregation is not an option. With the water-logged roads and mosques closed, residents of a building got together to hold prayers in corridors.

“The area is completely flooded, and we cannot even step out,” said Ateeq Ahmed, a resident of the City Centre residential building in Al Majaz.

“With no options to offer our Friday prayers in congregation, we decided to call out on all the residents of the building and neighbouring buildings to join for Friday prayer,” said Ahmed.

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In the aftermath of the record-breaking rainfall on April 16, residents in a few neighbourhoods of Sharjah are facing significant challenges while trying to attend Friday prayers at mosques due to submerged roads and neighbourhoods. Areas such as Abu Shagara, Al Qasimiya, King Faisal Road, Al Mahatta, and Majaz have been particularly affected, with residents complaining about disruption of their religious practices caused by the flooded conditions.

Temporary relocation for prayers

Some residents relocated temporarily just to attend Friday prayers in congregation. One among them was Hashim Sheikh, a resident of Abu Shagara. "I cannot think of missing out on Friday prayers in congregation. I walked in flooded roads for nearly two kilometres to reach Al Nahda, Sharjah last night. I slept at my cousin brother's place to offer Friday prayers in congregation," said Sheikh.

Similarly, Mohammed Saleh, a Sudanese expat residing in Al Qasimiya reached his friends place in Dubai to pray in congregation.

"I was worried that I would miss out on my Friday prayers in congregation. I am aware that we can pray at home during natural calamities, but I had the option to fulfil my religious obligation by taking extra efforts," said Saleh.

"I had to walk from Qasimiya to Sahara Centre as the roads were submerged in water and I had no commute options. I hopped onto a cab to reach my friends place and now I have to reach my place which is a daunting task," he said added.

Residents voice concerns

Residents in these neighbourhoods have voiced their frustrations, expressing concern over the stagnant water that remains days after the heavy rain. Many have reported that mosques in their neighbourhoods are closed due to waterlogged streets, depriving them of the opportunity to participate in the communal Friday prayers.

“I have never missed Friday prayers in my life, but this time, the flooded streets have prevented me from reaching the mosque,” said Ali Faisal, a used furniture trader and a resident of Abu Shagara. “It's been nearly three days that the water level has not subsided and I am unable to fulfil my religious duties due to circumstances beyond my control,” he added.

Similarly, Sarmad, another resident from Al Mahatta, expressed disappointment for not being able to attend Friday prayers at the mosque. "The water has completely blocked the roads leading to the mosque, making it impossible for us to go and pray. It's disheartening to see our community unable to come together for Friday prayers,” said Sarmad.

Residents informed to pray at home

Residents residing in water-logged neighbourhoods of Sharjah said that they were told to pray at home. “As the entire area has been flooded for the last three days, the muezzin (the person who proclaims the call to the daily prayer) announced that the Friday prayer to be offered at home,” said Mohammed Ashfaq, a resident of Abu Shagara in Sharjah.

Shahbaz Alam, a resident of Al Qasimiya, said that they have been receiving messages on WhatsApp groups that mosques will be closed. “We have been informed by community members that the mosque will be closed and we must offer prayers at home,” said Alam.

Unpleasant odour

Adding to the residents' woes, some have said that the unpleasant odour emanating from the mix of rainwater and open gutter drains further worsens the already dire situation. “The foul smell in the area has added discomfort and distress to the already grieving situation,” said Alam.

Residents are urging authorities to take immediate action on the water-logged streets and restore normalcy to their neighbourhoods.


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