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Global - May 31, 2020

Spiritual joy as worshipers return to Prophet’s Mosque

MADINAH – In a serene atmosphere filled with joy and spirituality, thousands of worshipers returned to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah on Sunday after a hiatus of nearly two and a half months.

They performed the obligatory Fajr prayer in congregation for the first time after the temporary suspension of Friday prayers and congregational prayers for the public since March 20. This was made possible after the issuance of an order on Friday by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to open the Prophet’s Mosque gradually to the public effective from Sunday.

Speaking to Saudi Press Agency, a number of visitors and worshipers hailed the gradual reopening of the Holy Mosque. Hussein Abdul Rahman, a secondary school teacher, said that citizens, expatriates as well as Muslims from all over the world received the King’s order to allow the gradual reopening of the Prophet’s Mosque with great joy and enthusiasm.

“I fell in prostration, showing my gratitude to Almighty Allah, earnestly supplicating Him to keep the pandemic away from the land of the Two Holy Mosques as well as from all the Islamic countries.”

Mubarak Ahmad Al-Sheikh, a Sudanese college student, considered his return to the Prophet’s Mosque for the first prayer after reopening as a great blessing from the Almighty. He thanked King Salman for his generous decision in this regard.

On his part, Amer Raza, a Pakistani national, lauded the elaborate precautionary measures taken at the Prophet’s Mosque to welcome worshipers. “These great efforts showed the keenness of the Saudi government on taking care of Islamic holy sites and ensure the comfort of citizens and residents,” he said.

Muhammad Hamadah, an Egyptian resident, said reopening of the mosque is a sign of the extreme care and great interest shown by the government of King Salman in the affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

Jamaan Al-Asiri, spokesperson of the Agency for the Prophet’s Mosque at the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said that the head of the presidency has approved the agency’s plan to reopen the mosque after beefing up precautionary and preventive measures to ensure the safety and protection of worshipers and visitors from coronavirus pandemic.

“The suspension of entry into Rawdah Sharif and the old mosque area would continue to remain in force and entry of the faithful to the mosque’s expansion and courtyards will be managed, limiting the congregation to the maximum 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity at a time.

The plan also included allocating specific doors for the entry of worshipers, and placing thermal detection cameras on the doors designated for the entry,” he said.

Al-Asiri said prayer rugs spread in the mosque’s extension and courtyards have been removed, facilitating the faithful to offer prayers on the marble floor.

“The floors and courtyards of the mosque are being washed and sterilized after each prayer, along with opening domes and umbrellas periodically for ventilation purposes inside the mosque. Zamzam containers have been removed after suspending the arrangements for drinking the holy water as part of precautionary measures to contain the transmission of the epidemic,” he said adding that ground lines were drawn to mark space between each worshiper in a row and in between rows.

Al-Asiri said the order for the temporary ban for delivering religious classes, holding Qur’an memorization circles, and spreading iftar supra and distribution of food would continue within the mosque and its courtyards. He said the mosque will open one hour before the Fajr prayer and will close after Isha prayer.

“Only 50 percent of the parking areas of the mosque will be operational. A media awareness campaign about the precautionary measures to be taken while visiting and performing prayer at the mosque has been launched and this is in cooperation with the Ministry of Health whose teams are present at the main doors of the mosque to carry out checking temperature of the faithful,” he added.

Saudi Gazette report

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