Coronavirus curbs force Muslims to offer Eid prayers at home

Cairo – Observant Muslims in the Middle East on Sunday had to perform special prayers at home marking the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival due to mosque closures as part of restrictions to curb an outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam's two major festivals, follows the Muslim lunar fasting month of Ramadan.
The Eid prayer is normally performed inside mosques or in open spaces early on the first day of the festival.
But this year, several Arab governments called on the Muslim faithful to perform the Eid prayer at home, as mosques remain shuttered in an effort to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's influential seat of learning, has thrown its weight behind home worshipping.
Last week, the Cairo-based institution issued a fatwa, or a binding ruling, urging the faithful to offer the Eid prayer at home.
The three-day festival is traditionally marked by visits to family and friends and eating sweet specialities.
Several Arab countries have announced a complete or partial lockdown, and banned gatherings during the Eid holiday in an attempt to curb the virus spread.
Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country of nearly 100 million people, starts later Sunday enforcing a curfew from 5 pm (1500 GMT) to 6 am for six consecutive days.
Public transport is halted, and entertainment places closed on those days to limit outdoor movement.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia, Islam's birthplace, began a 24-hour nationwide curfew that remains in force until Wednesday.
The Gulf monarchy has the Arab world's highest coronavirus infection tally with 70,161 cases resulting in 379 deaths.


Sunday, May 24th 2020

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