The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance said in a statement on Sunday that the Taraweeh prayers that are performed after the ‘Isha’ prayer every night during the holy month of Ramadan will be performed at home, as the suspension of prayers at mosques across the kingdom will not be lifted until the end of the pandemic.
“The suspension of performing the five daily prayers at mosques is more important than the suspension of Taraweeh prayers.
“We ask Allah the Almighty to accept Taraweeh prayers whether held at mosques, or homes, which we think is better for people’s health. We ask Allah the Almighty to accept prayers from all of us and protect humanity from this epidemic that hit the entire world,” the report quoted Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, Abdul Latif Al Sheikh, as saying.
Last month, in the heat of the pandemic, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sealed off the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and closed down all places of worship to the public, including the two holy mosques located in the cities.
King Salman also suspended the year-round Umrah pilgrimage and advised pilgrims to keep their plans on hold for this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage until there is more clarity on the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hajj pilgrimage attracts about 2.5 million Muslim pilgrims from around the world every year and falls towards the end of July.
Recently, he extended a nationwide curfew ‘till further notice’ due to the escalating spread of the pandemic in the country.
The country has reported more than 300 new infections in the last four days, as the total number of cases stands at 4,934 with 65 deaths, as of Monday evening.
Limitations on funeral prayers
In line with the instructions issued by the Saudi Ministry of Health prohibiting mass gatherings, only five to six members from the family of the deceased are allowed to perform the funeral prayers for the dead.
“This is a precaution in line with the prohibition of gatherings, so that funeral prayers take place at cemeteries should not exceed five to six of the deceased’s relatives, and the rest pray at their homes,” the Saudi health minister said.
He added that funeral prayers are not obligatory for every Muslim and are not greater than the five daily prayers that are obligatory or fardh for every Muslim, and should be performed at five different times of the day without fail.
“It is allowed to perform the prayers, or Salah, individually at homes in certain situations such as these, where a large number of people gathering at the same place could possibly lead to a higher risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” he said.