Saudi Arabia to suspend taraweeh prayers in Ramazan amid coronavirus pandemic

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday announced that taraweeh prayers during Ramazan will only be performed at home as the suspension of prayers at mosques will not be lifted until the eradication of the coronavirus, according to a report in Al Riyadh.

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The newspaper quoted Dr Abdul Latif Al Sheikh, Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, as saying: “The suspension of performing the five daily prayers at mosques is more important than the suspension of taraweeh prayers.”

“We ask Allah the Almighty to accept taraweeh prayers whether held at mosques, or homes, which we think is better for people’s health. We ask Allah the Almighty to accept prayers from all of us and protect humanity from this epidemic that hit the entire world,” Al Sheikh added.

Saudi Arabia had on March 19 barred its citizens from conducting their five daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayer inside mosques as part of efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Curfew extended

The Saudi authorities on Sunday indefinitely extended a curfew due to a surge in new infections.

Since placing the capital Riyadh and other big cities under 24-hour curfew on Monday, Saudi Arabia has reported more than 300 new cases per day. The nationwide curfew, initially set for three weeks, runs from 3pm to 6am everywhere else. For both this and the 24-hour curfew, residents may go out only for essential needs.

The interior ministry also announced new permits for vital personnel to move around. Violators face fines and jail time.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 4,462 infections with 59 deaths, the highest among the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, where the total neared 14,100 with 96 deaths.

It expects it could reach 200,000 cases in the coming weeks. It has halted international passenger flights, suspended the year-round Umrah pilgrimage, and closed most public places.

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