Egypt allows Eid prayers in hundreds of open-air spaces near mosques ending pandemic ban

Ahram Online , Saturday 30 Apr 2022

The Ministry of Religious Endowments allocated on Saturday 600 outdoor spaces at large mosques nationwide for the millions of worshippers who are expected to partake in the Eid El-Fitr prayers, ending a ban on outdoor Eid prayers - in place since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

File Photo: People attend an Eid al-Fitr prayer, marking the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at a public park. Reuters


Egyptians have traditionally performed Eid prayers, which are held after sunrise on the first day of the religious feast, in open spaces due to the large mass of worshippers.

In a statement on Friday, the endowments ministry said that mosques across the country will be allowed to open their doors for congregants at least 30 minutes before the prayers to utter the Takbeerat — a set of religious supplications chanted ahead of  Eid Prayers.

Areas designated for women in large mosques nationwide will be open as well, the ministry stressed.

“Children will be allowed [this year] to attend the prayer to bring cheer and joy to them,” the ministry added.

Outdoor prayers for both Islamic Eids — El-Fitr and El-Adha — have been banned since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they were allowed last year indoors at large mosques only.

Eid El-Fitr is set to start on the Monday, 2 May, as per astronomical calculations.

Dar El-Iftaa — the main authority responsible for issuing religious edicts in Egypt — said it will attempt on Saturday evening to spot the crescent that would herald the advent of the month of Shawwal and the beginning of Eid El-Fitr.

The ministry’s decision on Friday to allow prayers outdoors this Eid is a reversal to its previously announced decision to hold the prayers only inside major mosques without opening outer courtyards.

The ministry noted that the new decision was taken in coordination with the relevant authorities that are tasked with managing the pandemic.

Egypt has been witnessing a sharp drop in coroanvirus cases and linked deaths, registering a daily average of 89 coronavirus infections and six deaths from 16 to 23 April.

Last week, the ministry allowed Ramadan’s late-night prayers (Tahajjud) at all large mosques nationwide on the last three nights of the holy month.

The ministry made the decision following a public outcry due to a previous announcement that these prayers would be suspended due to health concerns related to the coronavirus.

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