Eid al-Fitr 2020: Saudi Arabia, UAE mosques to stay closed for Eid prayers

Mosques will remain closed for prayers on the Eid Al-Fitr festival, Saudi and United Arab Emirates officials said on Friday, calling on the population to adhere to safety guidelines to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Eid, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, may fall on Saturday or Sunday in the Gulf region.

Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Abdullatif al-Sheikh gave instructions not to have Eid prayers in mosques, Saudi state TV quoted him as saying.

“Muslims will hold the Eid prayer at home because of the pandemic,” the Saudi Press Agency cited Sheikh Abdul Bari al-Thubaiti, the imam, or the prayer leader, of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, as saying in the Friday sermon.

During Ramadan, prayers without worshippers were held by the imams in the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina, in the west of the kingdom.

In the UAE, the Dubai government’s media office said on Twitter that mosques will remain closed, and listed a series of Eid customs that should not be observed, including family visits and giving gifts or money to children, which is a popular custom called Eidi.

The Eid prayers comprise two rak’ahs, however, it has extra ‘takbeers’. Takbeer refers to when Allah Hu Akbar, meaning God is the Greatest is said to begin the prayer and one raises the hands to the ears. During regular prayers, ‘takbeer’ is said only once, but for the Eid prayers, you have to say ‘takbeer’ 12 times in two rak’ahs.

In mosques, the Imam delivers the khutbah or sermon of Eid, however, that is not allowed when prayers are performed at home. The prayer can either be performed alone at home or with family members.

— with inputs from Reuters

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