Saudi Arabia has announced to ban iftar and suhoor gatherings in all mosques during the holy month of Ramadan following the sharp rise in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, the Saudi Arabia government had said that Iftar gatherings and I’tikaf will not be allowed in the Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi during Ramadan.
According to the reports, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, the head of affairs of the two mosques, said that the Presidency would provide ready-made food to the worshipers in the Masjid al-Haram, while Sehri would not be allowed in the Prophet’s Mosque.
No one will be allowed to eat in the courtyards of both mosques and everyone will be provided food individually.
Zamzam water coolers will also not be available and 200,000 bottles of Zamzam water will be provided on a daily basis.
In addition, those who wish to break the fast in the Masjid al-Haram will only be allowed to bring dates and water for themselves and will not be allowed to share them with anyone.
On the other hand, Sheikh Professor Dr. Abdul-Rahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais as the management representative of Masjid-e-Nabawi detailed the schedule of plans for worshippers.
According to media reports, Masjid-e-Nabawi will reopen two hours before Fajr prayers and close half an hour after Taraweeh prayers.
However, except during the last ten days of Ramadan, when the mosque will be open for 24 hours.
Earlier, according to a report in the Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia has suspended international flights until May 17 because pilgrims from abroad will not be able to perform Umrah during Ramadan.
The country’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GCA) said international airports would be reopened and international flights would be allowed again from May 17 after the end of Ramadan.
Umrah and Hajj
This year, during Ramadan, Umrah pilgrims will also be allowed to perform Tawaf on the first floor.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah had already advised those wishing to perform Umrah to be vaccinated.
The precautionary measures would continue in place, but caution was advised that all those who wish to perform Umrah should be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Other restrictions announced by the minister include wearing a mask at all times during Umrah, which will only allow people between the ages of 18 and 50 to pay for it, and maintaining social distance.
Meanwhile, according to Al-Arabiya, those who wish to perform Hajj and Umrah will have to be vaccinated on the first day of Ramadan.
Last year, Saudi Arabia hosted the Hajj in late July for the first time in modern history due to the coronavirus, with only a few thousand people attending the Hajj, instead of 3 million.
After a gap of seven months, in October 2020, the ban on performing Umrah was partially lifted and 6,000 pilgrims were allowed to perform Umrah daily.
Since then, more than 13 million masks have been distributed among worshipers at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.