Taraweeh, Eid prayers in Saudi Arabia to be performed at home as coronavirus precaution

Taraweeh and Eid prayers in the Kingdom will be performed at home if the coronavirus pandemic continues. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 April 2020

Taraweeh, Eid prayers in Saudi Arabia to be performed at home as coronavirus precaution

  • People will have to perform “Taraweeh at home to obtain the virtue of praying during the blessed nights of Ramadan” said Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti

JEDDAH: People will have to perform Taraweeh and Eid prayers at home to prevent spreading coronavirus, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti said Friday.

Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh was responding to people’s queries ahead of Ramadan, which starts next week.

“As it will not be possible to hold Taraweeh prayers at mosques this year due to the preventive measures taken by authorities to fight the novel coronavirus, people will have to perform them at home to obtain the virtue of praying during the blessed nights of Ramadan,” said Al Al-Sheikh. “It has been established that Prophet Mohammed performed these prayers at home, and it is known that Taraweeh is Sunnah and not obligatory. If the status quo persists, making it impossible to hold Eid prayer at mosques, people will have to pray at home and no sermon will follow the Eid prayer.”

He said that the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta had issued a fatwa that it was desirable for whoever missed congregational Eid prayers to perform it without a sermon following it. “If making up the prayer for those who missed it with the imam is desirable, this gives us all the more reason to perform the prayer in countries where the congregation is not held because this includes performing the ritual however possible.”

He added that the last date for people to pay Zakat Al-Fitr was before the sunrise of Eid Al-Fitr. 

Meanwhile the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, said that one of the five imperatives of Sharia was saving lives, especially in the face of “an invisible enemy,” where all components of society had the duty to fight it.

He was speaking during a video call held by the OIC International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) about the global health emergency. 

Al-Othaimeen added: “The participants in the symposium have a great legal and humanitarian responsibility to explain Sharia provisions about dealing with this pandemic, raising awareness of its seriousness, and highlighting the licenses and necessities called for in studies of Fiqh of calamities. We also need to urge everyone to adhere to the necessary preventive measures taken by governments to confront this pandemic.”


Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

Updated 27 min 1 sec ago

Harassers face ‘naming and shaming’ after Saudi Shoura Council ruling

  • It will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools

JEDDAH: Violations of Saudi Arabia’s anti-sexual harassment laws could be punished by “naming and shaming” following a decision by the Kingdom’s Shoura Council to approve a defamation penalty.

The council voted in favor of the penalty during its session on Wednesday after previously rejecting the move in March this year.

Council member Latifah Al-Shaalan said the proposal to include the penalty was sent by the Saudi Cabinet.

Saudi lawyer Njood Al-Qassim said she agrees with the move, adding that it will help eliminate harassment in workplaces and public places as well as in schools.

“The penalty will be imposed according to a court ruling under the supervision of judges, and according to the gravity of the crime and its impact on society,” Al-Qassim told Arab News.

“This will be a deterrent against every harasser and molester,” she said.

Al-Qassim said that legal experts are required to explain the system and its penalties to the public.

“The Public Prosecution has clarified those that may be subject to punishment for harassment crimes, including the perpetrator, instigator and accessory to the crime, the one who agreed with the harasser, malicious report provider, and the person who filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit,” she added.

“The Public Prosecution also confirmed that attempted harassment requires half the penalty prescribed for the crime,” said Al-Qassim.

In May 2018, the Shoura Council and Cabinet approved a measure criminalizing sexual harassment under which offenders will be fined up to SR100,000 ($26,660) and jailed for a maximum of two years, depending on the severity of the crime. 

In the most severe cases, where the victims are children or disabled, for example, violators will face prison terms of up to five years and/or a maximum penalty of SR300,000.

Incidents that have been reported more than once will be subject to the maximum punishment. 

The law seeks to combat harassment crimes, particularly those targeting children under 18 and people with special needs.

Witnesses are also encouraged to report violations and their identities will remain confidential.

The law defines sexual harassment as words or actions that hint at sexuality toward one person from another, or that harms the body, honor or modesty of a person in any way. It takes into account harassment in public areas, workplaces, schools, care centers, orphanages, homes and on social media.

“The legislation aims at combating the crime of harassment, preventing it, applying punishment against perpetrators and protecting the victims in order to safeguard the individual’s privacy, dignity and personal freedom which are guaranteed by Islamic law and regulations,” a statement from the Shoura Council said.

Council member Eqbal Darandari, who supports the law, said on Twitter that the defamation penalty has proven its effectiveness in crimes in which a criminal exploits a person’s trust.

“The defamation of one person is a sufficient deterrent to the rest,” she said.

Social media activist Hanan Abdullah told Arab News the decision “is a great deterrent for every harasser since some fear for their personal and family’s reputation, and won’t be deterred except through fear of defamation.”

The move will protect women from “uneducated people who believe that whoever leaves her house deserves to be attacked and harassed,” she said.

“Anyone who is unhappy with this decision should look at their behavior.”