An aerial view of the Al Noor Mosque at Buheirah Corniche in Sharjah, where the worshippers gather for Friday prayers.
Somaiya Saad/ Syed Shayaan Bakht, Staff Reporters
Thousands of worshippers gathered at mosques all across the seven emirates for Friday prayers after the suspension lifted on Dec.4. The suspension of congregation lasted more than eight months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Authorities said mosques in each emirate would open for Friday prayers provided they abide by the COVID-19 precautionary protocols.
Gulf Today reporters went to mosques in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi to follow up with COVID-19 guidelines.
It was learned that the all the mosques in the emirates were adhering to precautionary measures and social distancing protocols.
In Sharjah, residents were seen on the courtyard of a mosque maintaining the social distancing guidelines.
All mosques were operating at a capacity of up to 30% for the prayers.
The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments had confirmed the readiness of mosques to receive worshippers across the country and are committed to all precautionary measures.
Dr Hamad Al Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Director General of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai, said that it is necessary for everyone to follow the guidelines set by the authorities to curb the spread of the virus.
He also noted that 60 temporary mosques would be also open for Friday prayers, in order to accommodate the worshippers from Dubai’s residents and visitors.
People gather for Friday prayers at a mosque in Sharjah.
He further called on worshippers to maintain physical distance between them, entry and exit points should be organised and prayer in the outer courtyards of the mosque will be allowed.
The Friday prayers should not be more than 10 minutes.
"Worshippers must wear a mask and bring their praying mat," Al Shaibani added.
He further added that a person would be present in each mosque to organise the entry of worshipers and alert them about the need to follow preventive and precautionary measures.
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced on Thursday that it has conducted 132,380 additional COVID-19 tests which helped it to detect 1,317 new coronavirus cases.
MoHAP also announced five deaths due to COVID-19 complications.
The ministry also noted that an additional 655 individuals had fully recovered from COVID-19.
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.
"All mosques, however, will declare Takbeerat Al Aid (Eid chants) through their microphones 10 minutes prior to the prayer to instill feelings of joy and happiness among people," he added.
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.
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