Friday prayers are all set to resume in mosques across the UAE tomorrow (December 4), in line with the directives of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA).
Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, spokesperson of the NCEMA, said on November 24 that mosques will reopen for worshippers 30 minutes before the Friday prayers and will close 30 minutes later.
“Friday’s sermons together with the prayers should not exceed 10 minutes; mosque workers and volunteers will organise the entry and exit of worshippers,” Al Dhaheri had said, adding that all worshipers must wear face masks and bring their own prayer rugs, which must not be left inside the mosques or shared with others.
“Worshippers should also avoid touching surfaces and door handles. They have to adhere to and maintain clear spacing signs to avoid any possible crowding,” the official had said.
“Worshippers who wish to read the Holy Quran are advised to do so through their personal Quran or smart phones. They are also advised to download COVID-19-related apps and activate them when attending prayers,” Al Dhaheri clarified.
487 mosques in Sharjah
While the Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs on Thursday announced that a total of 487 mosques will open up tomorrow, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) in Dubai said earlier in the week 766 mosques would resume the Friday prayers in Dubai.
Of the 487 mosques in Sharjah, 327 are in Sharjah, 92 in the Central Region and 68 mosques in the Eastern Region. The department allocated a number of mosques for non-Arabic speakers, providing services in languages including Urdu, Malayalam, Tamil, Pashto and English. The department has also published names of the 487 mosques which are ready to resume Friday prayers on its website.
766 in Dubai
In Dubai, Dr Hamad Al Shaikh Ahmad Al Shaibani, Director-General, IACAD, said, “The suspension of Friday prayers and sermons has been lifted for 766 mosques in Dubai, and due to the current circumstances, temporary mosques have been added, including 60 mosques, to accommodate all worshippers, residents and visitors of Dubai.”
Entry to mosques will be regulated, the department stated. In coordination with the Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, IACAD has cooperated with volunteers in every mosque to regulate the entry and exit for worshippers. For example, if the internal areas of the mosques are full, worshippers will be directed to use the external areas.
For the Friday prayers, the number of worshippers permitted to attend will be reduced to 30 per cent of the capacity, with prayers allowed in the outer courtyards and broadcast over loudspeakers. The duration of the Friday sermon will not exceed 10 minutes. All those attending must wear a face mask as well as bring their own prayer rug, which must not be left in the mosque or shared with anyone else. IACAD stressed the need to follow the instructions for Friday prayers, which include preventing the distribution of food and water.
Guidelines for Friday prayers
Meanwhile, he authorities have clearly spelt out the guidelines for those attending the prayers.
Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs stressed the need for all worshippers to adhere to the precautionary measures, by bringing their own prayer rugs, wearing masks during prayer time, maintaining a social distance of two metres between two worshippers and adhering to instructional signs on the floors of the mosque’s entrances, as well as the explanatory signs between prayer rows
In Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority listed the following dos and don’ts:
• Get your own Quran, prayer mat, etc.
• Perform ablution at home
• Greet others from afar
• Wear a face mask
• Don’t go to the mosque if you have any COVID-19 symptoms such as a cold, fever
• Elders and people with chronic diseases have been advised not to go to the mosque
• Don’t touch exposed surfaces
• Don’t share personal belongings
• Don’t shake hands
• Avoid crowded areas outside the mosque
• Maintain physical distance
• Wash your hands
• Avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth
• Avoid giving food and other donations