Saudi Arabia suspends praying in Two Holy Mosques in Ramadan Taraweeh, Eid prayers to be performed at home: Sheikh Sudais

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RIYADH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques said on Monday that it would extend the suspension of prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as part of efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
President General of the Two Holy Mosques, Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais, said in a tweet that the Grand Mosque (Masjid Al-Haram) in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque (Al Masjid Al-Nabawi) will broadcast the call for prayer (adhan) throughout the month but would remain closed to worshippers.
The authority last month began intensifying precautionary anti-coronavirus measures and boosted coordination between all parties that were concerned with the safety of pilgrims.

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.”

Cabinet meeting

The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, on Tuesday reviewed reports about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and the measures taken in the Kingdom to check the spread of the virus.

The Cabinet also approved a guiding form for a cooperation agreement between the Kingdom and countries benefiting from the “Makkah Road” initiative and authorized the interior minister or his deputy to negotiate with authorities in those countries to finalize a draft agreement vis-a-vis the arrival of Haj and Umrah pilgrims.

Acting Media Minister Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi told the Saudi Press Agency that the Cabinet discussed the Kingdom’s keenness to achieve stability in the global oil market. The ministers approved a framework agreement for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy between the Kingdom and the UAE.