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

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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)
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Muslim worshippers circumambulate the sacred Kaaba in Makkah's Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest site, on March 13, 2020. (AFP)
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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.

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Updated 12 August 2020

Saudi-backed electric car breaks through 500 miles range barrier

  • Lucid Motors announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan

 

LONDON:A Saudi-backed electric vehicle has broken through the 500 mile range barrier from a single charge.
Lucid Motors, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is a major investor, on Wednesday announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan.
The results confirm that the Lucid Air is the longest range electric vehicle to date, the car maker said in a statement.
So-called “range anxiety,” where drivers fear being stranded without power in their cars, is a major factor for electric vehicle manufacturers in convincing people to make the switch from traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.
“Range and efficiency are widely recognized as the most relevant proof points by which EV technical prowess is measured,” said Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson. “A few years ago we revealed our alpha prototypes of the Lucid Air and promised over 400 miles range; a reflection of our technology at that time. In the intervening period we have achieved a series of technological breakthroughs, culminating in an unsurpassed degree of energy efficiency.”
The PIF agreed a $1 billion investment deal with Lucid Motors two years ago to develop the car at a factory in Arizona.
The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online event on Sept. 9, 2020. In addition to the vehicle’s final interior and exterior designs, new details about production specifications, available configurations, and pricing information will also be shared.
Customer deliveries of the Lucid Air, which will be produced at Lucid’s new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, will begin in early 2021.