Congregational prayers, including Friday prayers, were suspended for four weeks in all mosques in the UAE. The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Foundations (GAIAE) announced late Monday that the decision had been made to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to protect public health.

The decision applies to all places of worship such as temples and churches.

The decision was based on the guidelines of the National Agency for Crisis and Disaster Protection (NCEMA) and the Ministry of Health and Prevention. It was run by a fatwa issued by the UAE’s Fatwa Council.

“In mosques, only the azan (call to prayer) is issued to make worshipers aware of the times of prayer. The doors of the mosques remain closed,” said the GAIAE. “The words ‘pray at home’ are repeated twice at the end of Azan.”

The call that signals the beginning of a prayer is not made. Washrooms in mosques are also closed. “The situation with the current Covid 19 pandemic will be reassessed after four weeks.”

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