Egypt's Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa. Photo courtesy of Egypt's Ministry of Religious Endowments Website
Unlike last year, Egypt will permit Eid prayers in big mosques after this Ramadan, despite a surge in coronavirus cases. Egypt's Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa on Wednesday announced strict measures during the Eid prayers.
Muslims gather at mosques to perform Eid prayers shortly after sunrise twice a year to mark the two feasts of Al-Fitr and Al-Adha. They do the ‘takbir’ through repeating ‘Allahu Akbar’ in a loud voice, perform the prayers, and then listen to a brief sermon.
Both prayers were cancelled last year in Egypt due to concerns over the coronavirus.
For the prayers of Eid Al-Fitr, which are expected to be on 13 April this year, Gomaa said in a Facebook post that the takbir will only last for a maximum of seven minutes and the sermon will extend for 10 minutes at the most.
The Eid prayers will also only be performed in big mosques, where weekly Friday prayers are permitted, Gomaa said.
He noted that the mosques will be open only 10 minutes before the prayers and will be closed 10 minutes after the prayers are over.
Participants will not be allowed to pray in any place other than the big mosques, Gomaa said.
They will also have to wear face masks before entering the mosques, bring their own prayer mats, and follow the spacing marks, Gomaa said.
Women’s prayer areas inside the mosques will only be opened under the supervision of a female supervisor that is approved by the directorate to which the mosque belongs.
Children will not be allowed to participate in the Eid prayers at the mosques, Gomaa said. Nor will food or drinks be allowed, he added.
“Keep the houses of Allah (mosques) open. Stay safe. Stick to the measures in order for the Eid to remain joyful,” Gomaa said in the post, greeting Egyptian people on Eid.
Dar Al-Iftaa last year said Muslims are allowed to perform the Eid prayers at homes individually or in groups, especially due to the closure of mosques.
The decision to allow Eid prayers this year comes as part of new measures the cabinet announced today to avoid the spread of the virus during the next two weeks.
The new measures will be in effect from 6 till 21 May, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said.
The measures include the closure of shops, malls, coffee shops, restaurants, and movie theatres at 9pm. However, restaurants will be allowed to make home deliveries past 9pm.
All public gatherings, artistic events, and mass activities will be banned entirely nationwide.
The measures also include the closure of all public parks and beaches for the two-week duration, including Eid Al-Fitr.
Moreover, the premier announced that the Eid Al-Fitr holiday will span five days, going from 12 to 16 May.
Since the start of May, Egypt — which is witnessing a third coronavirus wave — has been seeing a spike in new daily cases, recording more than 1,000 cases a day.
So far, Egypt’s total tally of COVID-19 infections has reached 231,803, including 173,341 recoveries and 13,591 deaths.