Dubai on Wednesday issued mandatory guidelines for praying in mosques during Ramadan.
The emirate’s Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department has asked mosques to enforce strict safety measures.
Mosques will remain open from the time of azan, the call to prayer, until the end of obligatory prayer and will close immediately after that.
The duration of isha and taraweeh prayers in mosques is capped at 30 minutes. Isha prayers will be held five minutes after the azan.
Taraweeh prayers are additional optional prayers performed at night during Ramadan.
Performing a second congregational prayer or praying alone after the main prayers is not permitted.
All worshippers must wear face masks and bring their own prayer mats and the Quran or use an app.
Other rules include:
1) Mosques must undergo regular sanitation and provide separate entry and exit points. Physical-distancing measures must be in place.
2) Lectures and seminars at mosques remain suspended and worshippers have the option of attending lectures online.
3) Setting up iftar tables and distributing food in mosques are strictly prohibited.
4) Donations for iftar should be made only through registered charity organisations.
5) Worshippers should strictly avoid handshakes and any other physical greetings that breach the physical-distancing protocols.
"Crowding in the mosques or its precincts is strictly prohibited," said Dr Hamad Al Shaibani, director general of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.
“The duration of prayers remains the same as previously announced. However, isha and taraweeh prayers are capped at 30 minutes [including azan and iqama]. Mosques will be closed immediately after taraweeh prayers are completed.”
Dr Al Shaibani said the department would evaluate the situation before taking a decision on late-night prayers (qiyamullail) performed during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
The elderly and those with chronic health problems have been asked to pray at home.