Saudi Arabia suspends prayer in mosques, exempts holy Makkah and Madinah sites

1 / 2
In this file photo, people walk inside the Shafei Historical mosque in Al-Balad, a historical area in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah on Jan. 11, 2020. (AFP)
2 / 2
Muslim worshippers circumambulate the sacred Kaaba in Makkah's Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest site, on March 13, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 18 March 2020

Saudi Arabia suspends prayer in mosques, exempts holy Makkah and Madinah sites

  • The decision announced Tuesday encourages Muslims to pray at home rather than mosques

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has decided to suspend congregational prayers across all mosques in the Kingdom, except for the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. 

The decision announced Tuesday encourages Muslims to pray at home rather than mosques to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

A statement on SPA said it is allowed religiously to suspend all group prayers in mosques, including the weekly Friday prayers. 

The Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah are exempted from the decision, it said. 

“Mosque doors will be closed temporarily but they will be allowed to recite the call to prayer,” the statement said.

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."

The new phrase can also be translated as “pray where you are”.

The statement said that a special congregational prayer on Fridays at midday can now be performed by Muslims at home.

Islamic Affairs Minister Abdulatif Al-Sheikh said facilities for washing the dead at mosques would remain open but access would be restricted to a few people. Praying over the dead will be permitted only at the cemetery, not in the mosque, he said.

Related


Saudi Arabia announces 32 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 21 min 11 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces 32 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The health ministry said 806 more people have recovered from the virus
  • A total of 68,965 patients have recovered from the disease in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 32 more deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and 1,975 new cases of the disease on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 675 were recorded in Riyadh, 286 in Makkah, 259 in Jeddah, 124 in Madinah and 112 in Hufof.
The health ministry added that 806 more people have recovered from the virus, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 68,965.
A total of 611 people have died of the disease in the Kingdom so far.
Health minister Dr. Tawfiq Rabiah urged all citizens and residents earlier this week to wear a mask to help stop the spread of the virus.
“The transmission of COVID-19 will be significantly reduced If everyone commits to wearing a mask when leaving their homes. We urge you to comply with healthy precautionary measures, and ask that you remind those who do not adhere,” he said.