Coronavirus is changing the way people travel, work, play and also pray. Religious leaders are advising Muslims on how to participate in holy days and even how to pray safely without the risk of spreading the virus further.
Al Jazeera has compiled the following list of new measures from Muslim countries and religious leaders:
Saudi bans ‘Umrah’ pilgrimage
Umrah is a pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time of year and can be completed in a few hours. Hajj, on the other hand, is a much more intensive and time-consuming pilgrimage, and is performed during a few specific days each year (it is also one of the five pillars of Islam).
Saudi Arabia recently announced a ban on Umrah for residents and citizens. The kingdom said it was preventing foreigners from reaching the holy city of Mecca and the Kaaba (the structure at the center of the Great Mosque). Travel is also suspended to Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina.
Authorities have not yet announced any measure for this years Hajj which is set to take place from July 28 to August 2. Hajj usually brings about three million people to Mecca.
Iran halts Friday prayers in major cities
Iran is struggling to contain the virus with a rising number of cases and deaths each day. Friday prayers in all provincial capitals have been halted.
As of Wednesday evening, those totaled 2,922 and 92, respectively.
UK and Singapore calls on Muslim institutions to follow hygiene
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has called on mosques and Islamic schools to “keep your congregations safe” by encouraing handwashing and proper hygiene.
Masagos Zulkifli, a minister in charge of Muslim affairs in Singapore, has advised Muslims to bring their own prayer mats to mosques and refrain from shaking hands with one another.
As of Wednesday, the number of people infected in the UK has risen to 87. There have been more than 100 cases of coronavirus in Singapore, and the majority of patients have recovered.