COVID19: Saudi Gov’t suspends prayers due to Coronavirus

By Kasalu Isa & Agencies

Riyadh – Saudi Arabia has suspended all Ṣalāt al-Jumuʿah (Friday) and other main prayers at mosques across the Kingdom as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Saudi Press Agency reports.

The only prayers permitted to continue outside the home will be at the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina, according to SPA’s report.

“This is considered a religious duty dictated by the Islamic Sharia and its general and specific rules. Everybody knows that this pandemic requires taking every measure of precaution including preventing any form of gathering with no exception,” Mohammed al-Issa, the Secretary-General of the Mecca-based Muslim World League, told Al Arabiya, a Saudi free-to-air television news channel broadcast in Modern Standard Arabic.

“The Islamic Sharia advises people whose mouths smell after eating to not go to communal prayer let alone if they were infected with a fatal virus which everybody has been warned about with no exceptions,” al-Issa added.

The decision to suspend prayers at mosques came after a meeting between Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, and the Minister of Health.

It also said an amendment has been made to the call in which the usual phrase “come to prayer” in the Arabic call has been replaced with “pray at home.”

Saudi Arabia has so far reported 133 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

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