RIYADH, April 21 – Saudi Arabia has suspended Tarawih prayers at the two holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Tarawih, special night prayers performed during the holy month, will be held without public attendance at the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) and the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid al-Nabawi), said Abdul Rahman As-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.
Tarawih will be performed mainly with staff, As-Sudais said in a statement on Twitter.
The statement also said that itikaf, the Islamic practice of secluding oneself in the mosque to pray, has been cancelled at both mosques.
It also said that Umrah will remain suspended until further notice.
Grand Mufti also says to perform Tarawih at home
Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, the highest religious authority in the kingdom, has said prayers during Ramadan and the subsequent Eid al-Fitr festival should be performed at home if the coronavirus outbreak continues, according to a Saudi newspaper.
“Ramadan’s Tarawih [evening] prayer can be performed at home if it cannot be performed at mosques due to the preventive measures taken to fight the spread of coronavirus,” Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said in response to a question, adding that the same applies for Eid prayers.
The holy fasting month of Ramadan begins this week.