Ramadan communal taraweeh and Eid prayers should be held at home due to the coronavirus, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The announcement was made on Friday, one week before the Muslim holy month is estimated to begin.
The Kingdom’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said group taraweeh evening prayers will not be held in mosques this year in accordance with precautionary measures implemented to slow the spread of the virus.
If the outbreak continues through the holy month, communal Eid al-Fitr prayers should also be held at home, he added. Eid al-Fitr is a religious holiday in which Muslims mark the end of the month of Ramadan.
Muslims line up, side-by-side, shoulders touching when praying in groups, also known as jamaa’a. However, several Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and others have suspended group prayers in mosques until further notice to slow the spread of the virus. Egypt officially suspended all public group iftar and activities earlier this month as a precautionary measure as well.
Saudi Arabia has also asked Muslims around the world to delay their plans for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages amid uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the Kingdom’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah said.
The Kingdom has so far recorded 6,380 coronavirus cases with 83 deaths. A total of 990 people have recovered as of Thursday.