RIYADH: Health protocols in mosques across the Kingdom have been updated in light of developments in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance issued a circular detailing the changes.
It said that all preventive measures must be taken, including wearing a mask, bringing a rug for personal use, avoiding crowding when entering and leaving the mosque, and maintaining a distance of one-and-a-half meters between worshipers.
The ministry canceled the requirement to leave an empty row between every two rows and reduced the period of time between the first (Adhan) and second (Iqama) calls to prayer.
Mosques shall adhere to the previously approved time as follows: 20 minutes for all the obligatory prayers, 25 minutes for Fajr prayer, and 10 minutes for Maghrib prayer.
It added that mosques will open for Friday prayers one hour before the call to prayer and close 30 minutes after the prayer.
The circular has canceled the limit on the duration of the Friday sermon and prayer to 15 minutes, but kept the sermon as short as possible.
In addition, it canceled the decision to withdraw copies of the Qur’an from mosques and urge worshippers to bring their Qur’an with them, permitting lectures and lessons in mosques while adhering to social distancing procedures, as well as cancelling the previous directive to remove water coolers and refrigerators from mosques.
The ministry urged everyone to adhere to the updated health protocols from the Public Health Authority and to follow up their update on the electronic link: https://covid19.cdc.gov.sa/ar/mosques.
The ministry also called on everyone to be cooperative and report any violation of health protocols by calling 1933, to maintain the health and safety of worshipers.
Meanwhile, the ministry ordered the opening of the Quba Mosque, starting Sunday, to enable worshippers to pray in the mosque at all hours of the day, to alleviate overcrowding, especially at its entrances and courtyards.
The ministry reiterated the importance of taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and urged worshippers and visitors to cooperate with the relevant authorities in the fight against the pandemic, stressing that everyone’s adherence to the protocols is the way to stay safe. It added that following the regulations is a legitimate demand and a national duty.
Saudi Arabia could consider mix-match second doses of coronavirus vaccineSaudi Arabia records 14 COVID-19 deaths, 1,079 new infections