Mosques in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to open 40 minutes before the call for Friday prayers in order to avoid overcrowding, according to a circular issued by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs on Thursday.
The decision was made in accordance with the Kingdom’s safety measures and protocols to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
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The ministry had announced last week that daily and weekly Friday prayers would be allowed throughout the Kingdom, with the exception of Mecca and Jeddah, given that everyone follows a set of guidelines including social distancing and mandatory temperature checks. Also, Mosques must close no later than 20 minutes after the prayer ends.
Imams were instructed to deliver the sermons on the topic of the virus and preventative measures that Saudi Arabia has taken in order to slow the spread. The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh said in a Twitter post that this would give individuals an active role in promoting the health and safety of the members of society.
- Mosques can open 40 minutes before the call to prayer and must close 10 after the prayer. The The waiting time between the call to prayer and the actual prayer is limited to 10 minutes.
- Mosques must keep windows and doors open during the duration of the prayer
- Hard copies of the Holy Quran and other books must be removed
- Worshipers must maintain social distancing by keeping two meters distance between each other, and every other row should be left empty.
- Water coolers and refrigerators are not to be used. The distribution of food and food in the mosques is prohibited as well.
- Restrooms and ablution sections must be closed.