Rain prayers held in UAE in response to President Sheikh Khalifa’s call

The Salaat Al Istisqaa prayers were performed across the Emirates on Friday

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - December 6, 2008: Men leave the wet grounds of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi after a unique prayer for rain at approximately 8:00am this morning. The President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan called for a country wide prayer for rain.
( Ryan Carter / The National )  *** Local Caption ***  RC005-RainPrayer.JPGRC005-RainPrayer.JPG
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Muslims across the UAE offered prayers for rain on Friday in response to President Sheikh Khalifa’s recent call urging worshippers to take part in prayers.

Sheikh Khalifa had said the prayers, known as Salaat Al Istisqaa, should be performed in all mosques and musallahs across the country on December 18.

He asked people to pray to Allah to bless the land with rain and mercy, in accordance with the Prophet Mohammed’s sunnah, 10 minutes before Friday prayers.

Salaat Al Istisqaa is typically requested in the UAE once every few years and is observed in other Gulf countries as well.

Worshippers in the UAE were told to ask God to send rain, mercy and abundance upon the country and its people.

When rainfall is delayed, the leader of a state must issue an order for the prayer to be performed, according to the sunnah of the Prophet.

Rain-seeking prayers or Istisqa were performed at the holy mosque of Makkah in Saudi Arabia in November.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia had called for a rain prayer to be performed in January too in the hope of a cooler winter over the Kingdom.

The official prayer is attended by the president or one of his officials.

Rulers, Crown Princes of several emirates and members of the Supreme Council have previously taken part in the prayers.

Cloudy skies and light rainfall have been forecast for the UAE over coastal and northern areas over the next three days.

The temperature would drop due to the north-easterly winds with a few showers likely from Saturday, according to the National Centre of Meteorology.

The lowest temperature recorded on Friday was 6.3°C in Raknak.

Worshippers pray for rain at the Grand Mosque in Makkah