Saudi Arabia allows mosques to open for Friday prayers

Visitors walk on the esplanade in front of the Hasan Anani mosque in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah. (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 May 2020

Saudi Arabia allows mosques to open for Friday prayers

  • Mosques will open for Friday prayers in all regions except Makkah
  • Imams must ensure worshippers abide by health instructions

RIYADH: Mosques in Saudi Arabia are to reopen for Friday prayers this week as the Kingdom relaxes measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs said mosques will be open to the public for the weekly prayers from May 31 until June 20, except in Makkah.
A circular issued to mosque staff by Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Asheikh, the Islamic affairs minister, said windows and doors must be open at all times and copies of the Qur’an must be temporarily withdrawn.
“Worshippers must keep two meters apart and leave a row of space empty between each row,” he said.
“They must also wear face masks at all times, bring their own prayer mats and perform ablution at home.”
Imams must ensure worshippers avoid crowding when entering and exiting the mosques and children under 15 are not allowed to enter.
Water coolers and the distribution of food and drinks are not permitted, as well as incense and miswak, which is used to clean teeth. Mosques must also close all toilets and places of ablution.
The instructions follow other announcements in the Kingdom relaxing aspects of the lockdown, including reducing curfews and allowing more movement of people. 
The circular to mosque staff also said educational programs and workshops for memorizing the Qur’an should continue remotely online until further notice.
Smaller mosques can open 15 minutes before the call to prayer and should close 10 minutes after they finish.
Mosques with larger crowds can open 20 minutes before prayers and should close 20 minutes after they finish, and the sermon should not last more than 15 minutes.
The Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, which attract millions of travelers from around the world, will remain suspended until further notice, the ministry said.


KSRelief dispatches help for Lebanese medical teams treating explosion victims 

Updated 05 August 2020

KSRelief dispatches help for Lebanese medical teams treating explosion victims 

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has assisted Lebanese medical teams treating victims of the Beirut explosion on Tuesday.

Emergency teams from the Souboul Al Salam Relief Team, which is funded by KSRelief, went from north of Lebanon to Beirut to support medical teams on the ground. 

Another team from Al-Amal Medical Center, also funded by KSRelief, provided emergency health care services and started a blood donation campaign to meet the demand of Beirut hospitals.

The prime minister of Lebanon, which is already struggling with an economic crisis and battling COVID-19, has made a desperate plea for help following Tuesday’s deadly explosions.
Kuwait said it has delivered medical aid and other essentials by a military plane on Wednesday morning.
The World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies were sending 40 tonnes of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment to Beirut on a flight paid for by Dubai-based International Humanitarian City, a hub for humanitarian emergency preparedness and response, a WHO representative said.
"We are offering medical trauma kits and surgical kits containing things such as syringes, bandages and surgical gowns," said Nevien Attalla, operations manager for the WHO's Dubai hub.

*With agencies