‘Pray at home’ to ward off the virus threat

‘Pray at home’ is the call as the Sultanate begins the holy month of Ramadhan amid the lingering threat
from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is dispiriting for many believers is the damper that is restricting the congregational worship in the
mosques as part of the mandatory restrictions to prevent further spreading the outbreak.

“It is disheartening that we can’t go to the mosque. The world is different now, so is Ramadhan”, said Sayyid al Yakoobi, a retired teacher.

The authorities have imposed widespread measures banning praying in mosques or gatherings of relatives and friends for large iftar meals while breaking the fast.

“This is the first time in my life that I have to skip prayers in the mosque during Ramadhan. But we have to live in accordance with the situation and obey the rules especially at the time of this pandemic”, Sayyid told Observer over phone.

Muslim leaders all over the world have called on the believers to ‘stay home and stay safe’ while keeping congregational prayers on hold to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

They proscribed the community from gathering in mosques while urging them to offer prayers at home.
Mohammed al Balushi, a retired health official said that the holy month of Ramadhan is a sacred period for prayers and reflection.

“This tradition is rooted in gatherings whether it is at mosques, homes and other places. It is now replaced with a time of solitary prayer resulted from the attack by an invisible enemy which is playing havoc in the entire world bringing every activity to almost halt. We have to accept it”, Al Balushi said.

According to the Islamic faith, through fasting, Muslims will be able to strengthen their relationship
with God. Praying, reading the Holy Quran, charitable giving, as well as rekindling relationships with friends and family are part of Ramadhan’s daily activities.

“Even though it is unfortunate to give up acts like congregational worships”, said Al Balushi, “your praying at home is always valid and doing so is acceptable to the Almighty when compelling circumstances restrict you to gather at a place of worship impractical”.

While encouraging the Muslim community to pray more during this Ramadhan, Iman Ali Ismail, an
Egyptian teacher, said that the pace at which the virus is spreading, it is unlikely that restrictions will be lifted soon.

“People are attached to the rituals. But this year, unfortunately, it is different due to the confinement measures as a result of the pandemic. But we must accept it and obey the rules of social or physical distancing to protect our lives”, he added.