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Tarawih prayer returns to mosques in Arab nations

6 countries allow special night prayers in Ramadan; 3 continue ban amid coronavirus pandemic

Iyad Nabulsi  | 08.04.2021 - Update : 08.04.2021
Tarawih prayer returns to mosques in Arab nations


Six Arab countries will allow mosques to hold Tarawih prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, while three will continue to ban the special night prayers because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, and Algeria, announced they allow the five daily prayers at mosques, Friday sermons and Tarawih during the holy month of fasting.

Tarawih will be subject to precautionary measures, including a time limit, keeping socially distant and wearing masks.

Qatar, Oman, and Jordan announced Tarawih will not be held in mosques during Ramadan, which begins on April 13 and ends on May 12.

Saudi authorities announced on March 28 that mosques would be open for all prayers and Tarawih as well as distribution of meals to break the fast at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, for those who obtain a permit from the Etamarna mobile application. A similar motion was issued earlier regarding Medina's Nabawi Mosque, or the Prophet's Mosque.

A partial curfew in Kuwait will continue during Ramadan, from 7 p.m. (1700GMT) until 5 a.m. (0300GMT), with Tarawih held at mosques within walking distance from homes, according to a statement earlier this month by the Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs Issa Al-Kandari.

The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments of the UAE announced on March 17 a 30-minute limit for isha and Tarawih. It banned iftar at mosques and their courtyards. The agency will later decide about the last 10 days of Ramadan.

The Ministry of Health in Iraq announced on April 4 it had "no intention of taking new measures during the blessed month of Ramadan," which means allowing prayers at mosques.

In Egypt, mosques will open doors only for prayers including Friday sermons and Tarawih, according to a statement on April 1 by the Ministry of Endowments.

Algerian mosques will open for prayers including, Friday and Tarawih with the latter not to exceed 30 minutes, according to a statement on April 1 by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments. Also, during Ramadan, a curfew will continue in nine of 58 provinces between 11 p.m. (2200GMT) and 4 a.m. (0300GMT).

Qatar's Council of Ministers decided on April 7 to continue opening mosques to perform daily and Friday prayers in Ramadan provided that Tarawih will be performed at homes because of the spread of the coronavirus.

The number of employees will be reduced at government institutions and in the private sectors to 50% alongside measures like preventing social gatherings and visits in closed places as well as closing public markets on Fridays and Saturdays.

In Oman, authorities announced on April 5 a ban on commercial activities and imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. (1800GMT) until 4 a.m. (0100GMT) during Ramadan.

The decision also prohibits holding Tarawih at mosques, a total ban on all Ramadan gatherings, social, sports, cultural and other group activities.

The Jordanian government decided on March 28 to prevent holding fajr, maghrib, isha, Tarawih, and Friday prayers at mosques while a comprehensive curfew will continue on Fridays. A partial lockdown will be maintained during the rest of the week from 6 p.m. (1600GMT) for institutions and individuals from 7 p.m. (1700GMT) to 6 a.m. (0400). The measures will take effect until May 15.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat in Ankara

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