World’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque reopened on Sunday after being shut for two months.
Whilst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, worshippers in protective masks were allowed to enter Al-Aqsa mosque in the early hours, ahead of the first prayers of the day.
Singing ‘God is greatest, we will protect Al-Aqsa with our soul and blood’, the group was welcomed by the mosque’s director Omar al-Kiswani, who thanked them for their patience.
Al-Aqsa mosque closed its doors in March as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus.
Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven at the site, which has often been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It is also holy to Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount and believe it to be the location of two biblical temples — the second of which was destroyed in 70 AD.
On the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr, scuffles had broken out between Israeli police and Palestinians as worshippers tried to break through barriers to enter the compound.
With the number of COVID-19 cases declining, in recent days both Israel and the Palestinian territories have eased restrictions.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia has reopened the Prophet’s Mosque in the holy city of Medina on Sunday (today).
According to the details, Muslims offered Fajr prayers while maintaining a certain social distance among them. Fajr prayers have been offered in the Holy Prophet’s Mosque for the first time after around two months.
Sources said that security officials have led the worshipers. The body temperatures of the Muslims were also checked before they entered the mosque.
Saudi Arabia has planned to reopen the country and ease lockdown restrictions. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque King Salman has approved the opening of Prophet’s Mosque in stages for the pubic.