Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that mosques would no longer accept worshippers for the customary five daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayer, in exceptional measures intended to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Prayers will continue only at the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Medinah, state news agency SPA reported, citing a decision from the Council of Senior Scholars, the kingdom's highest religious body.
Mosques will close their doors temporarily but continue to issue the ritual call to prayer, which will direct people to pray in their homes rather than come to the mosque, SPA said.
Islamic Affairs Minister Abdulatif Al Sheikh told state television that facilities for washing the dead at mosques that have them would remain open but access would be restricted to a few people. Praying over the dead will only be permitted at the cemetery, not in the mosque, he added.
Saudi Arabia, with 133 reported infections and no deaths, has taken drastic measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including suspending the Umrah pilgrimage, halting all international flights, and closing most public establishments.
Mosques will be authorised to open 20 minutes before Friday prayers and should close 20 minutes after they finish, state TV said on Twitter, citing the ministry of Islamic affairs.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre tweeted the image with the caption, “A picture from space of the Holy Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, taken by #KhalifaSat…”
The two individuals hailed from Kuwait, but failed to disclose to Saudi border control officials that the male was previously in Iran, the ministry noted.
"Ramadan's Taraweeh (evening) prayer can be performed at home if it cannot be performed at mosques due to the preventive measures taken to fight the spread of coronavirus," he said in response to a question, adding that the same applies for Eid prayers, according to the paper.
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Ahead of the talks, here are the key points that have led to the dispute and the pitfalls as the two nations, who fought a 1962 border war and have clashed many times since, over the solution: