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Coronavirus: Islam’s holiest mosques reopen after being closed for more than two months

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims flocked to Masjid al-Aqsa and Masjid al-Nabawī as they both reopened to worshippers, under a number of precautionary measures after being closed for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. [1]

Thousands of mosques across the globe, including the two holiest mosques in Islam – the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and Masjid al-Aqsa in the occupied city of Jerusalem – have been closed off to all worshippers and visitors since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Singing “God is greatest, we will protect Al-Aqsa with our soul and blood”, the group was welcomed by the mosque’s director Sheikg Omar Al-Kiswani, who thanked them for their patience.

With her eyes tearing up, after entering the compound for dawn prayers with hundreds of other Muslims, a local resident by the name of Umm Hisham said:

“After they opened the mosque, I feel like I can breathe again. Thanks be to God,”

Hundreds can be heard chanting “God is the greatest”, whilst some got on their knees and kissed the ground as they entered for the dawn prayers.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf announced the reopening of Masjid Al-Aqsa for worshippers:

“The council decided to lift the suspension on worshippers entering the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque after the Eid al-Fitr holiday.” [2]

According to Muhammad Al-Khalayleh, the Jordanian Minister of Awqaf, Islamic Affairs, and Holy Places, social distancing and other coronavirus-related measures will be observed when the Muslim holy site reopens.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health have put in place several safety measures which people attending the Mosque must follow, said Khalil Assali, a member of the Islamic Waqf.

“We have instructed the waqf guards to take all precautions to avoid overcrowding, especially at the gates of the mosque.”

Wasfi Kailani, director of the Royal Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa, said:

“The entire Aqsa compound was disinfected, and circles were drawn ensuring that worshippers are separated when they pray.”

Worshippers will also be required to wear a face mask and gloves and have been requested to bring their own mats to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Palestine has recorded 435 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with three deaths to date. [3] Indeed, we belong to Allāh, and to Him we shall return. ‘Israel’ as of this week has reported nearly 17,000 cases and 279 deaths. [4]

Saudi Arabia has also announced the reopening of more than 90,000 Mosques, including the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to the public starting this Sunday.[5]

The mosque will gradually be opened in stages as part of the Kingdom’s plan to ease coronavirus restrictions and reopen the country.

During the lockdown and closure of mosques, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs has managed to carry out intensive cleaning, sanitising, and maintenance drive in all mosques across the Kingdom.

This has reportedly included sanitising more than 10 million mosques, 43 million copies of several sizes and volumes of the Qur’ān, more than 600,000 Holy Qur’ān cupboards, in addition to repairing and maintaining around 176,000 washrooms annexed to mosques.

Saudi authorities plan to reopen the Grand Mosque in Makkah on June 21 following a review of the coronavirus situation.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200528-official-al-aqsa-mosque-to-reopen-on-sunday/

[2] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/jerusalem-al-aqsa-mosque-reopen-eid-al-fitr-holiday-200519132424666.html

[3] https://www.arabnews.com/node/1681436/middle-east

[4] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/coronavirus-jerusalems-al-aqsa-mosque-reopen-sunday

[5] https://www.khaleejtimes.com/coronavirus-pandemic/Coronavirus-Over-90,000-mosques-to-reopen-in-Saudi-Arabian-from-Sunday

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