Egypt allows mass prayers in Ramadan; upholds ban on banquets, public ceremonies

Ahram Online , Tuesday 30 Mar 2021

For the second year in a row, Ramadan charity banquets are not allowed to curb coronavirus spread

File photo: Muslims take part in evening prayers called "Tarawih" during the holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al Azhar mosque in the old Islamic area of Cairo, Egypt. Reuters

Egypt’s government announced on Tuesday that it was allowing in-mosque daily prayers and mass night prayers "Taraweeh" during Ramadan with the adoption of all the precautionary measures against COVID-19.

At a Coronavirus Crisis Ministerial Committee meeting on Tuesday, PM Mostafa Madbouly announced that the “Taraweeh” prayers should not exceed half an hour.

The committee announced that the Ramadan charity banquets - that used to be held publicly in the streets - won’t be allowed and that late-night prayers "Tahajjud" or the seclusion in the mosques for a period of time in Ramadan “Itikaf” won’t be allowed either.

The ban on big assemblies, like memorials, in mosques and streets is still in place.

In Ramadan 2020, the Egyptian government allowed "Taraweeh" prayers in some authorised mosques with a few number of worshipers and banned it nationwide. It also banned the “Tahajjud”, “Itikaf” and Ramadan charity banquets last year as well.

Health Minister Hala Zayed already showcased in the meeting the difference between the number of cases in Egypt during the first and second wave as well as how Egypt witnessed the highest number of coronavirus cases in Ramadan 2020.

The holy month of Ramadan is set to start on 13 April 2021.

The committee also allowed the resumption of different sports events for students, but banned Ramadan sports tournaments, that were usually held during the holy month, whether in open or closed areas.

The committee decided to apply the summer working hours starting from 17 April, allowing cafes and restaurants to stay open for longer at night.

According to previous Cabinet decisions, restaurants and cafes will be opened till 1 AM and shops till 11 PM in the summer.

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