Ramadan and Covid-19, Saudi ulema: prayers at home and no gatherings

Highest religious authority against gatherings to stem the pandemic of new coronavirus. For the holy month, the invitation is to ward off "the spread of the infection". Preserving people's lives "brings God closer". In Saudi Arabia, 9400 cases and 97 victims so far, the highest figure among the Gulf nations.


Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - To combat the pandemic of new coronavirus, the most important Saudi religious body appeals to Muslims all over the world a few days after the beginning of Ramadan inviting the faithful not to gather in a group to pray. The holy month of fasting and prayer, an opportunity to meet and socialize especially on the occasion of the iftar, the meal that breaks the fast, will have to change and people are invited to pray in their homes.

In a note released yesterday, the Ulema Council stressed that Muslims should "avoid gatherings, because they are the main cause of the spread of the infection". The authorities have for days imposed a curfew and closed the main places of worship, including the great mosque of Mecca in the context of the containment measures implemented for the Covid-19 emergency.

The ulema also recall that "preserving people's lives" is a "great gesture" that "brings God closer". In recent days, the great muftì of the Saudi kingdom Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh had also intervened, proposing the same recommendations as the ulema. Prayers during Ramadan and the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fast, "should be carried out in one's own homes" in the event that "the coronavirus pandemic continues".

Saudi Arabia has so far recorded around 9400 cases of Covid-19, the victims are 97. These are the highest indices among the six nations of the Arab Gulf, where the total reaches 25 thousand infections and over 160 official victims.

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