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Muslim authorities encourage Eid Al-Fitr prayers at home to help 'save humanity' from coronavirus

Ramadan Taraweeh prayers this year were performed from home [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 May, 2020

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Annual Eid Al-Fitr prayers this year will be held at home, as the world struggles to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt's top Islamic institutions announced a legal ruling permitting Eid prayers at home, as the world continues to struggle with the global coronavirus pandemic.

Egypt's Al-Azhar and Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh said it was permissible to perform the annual Eid al-Fitr prayer at home, extending precautionary measures to help stem the spread of Covd-19.

Muslims can perform the prayers individually or in congregation with their families within their homes, a statement by Al-Azhar said. It noted that the move is necessary to serve the greater Islamic purpose of protecting humanity from danger.

"The sermon is not required for the Eid prayer if it is being performed at home," the statement said, detailing the process of the prayer.

Read also: Ramadan, kids and quarantine - a survival guide

The statement came as Egypt on Sunday announced a lengthening of its night-time curfew and other measures to prevent large gatherings occurring during Eid al-Fitr holidays, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"All shops, malls, restaurants, entertainment facilities, beaches and public parks will be closed for six days from May 24-29," said Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli.

Public transport will be halted and the nationwide curfew enforced from 5pm during that period, he told a Cairo press conference.

During the fasting month of Ramadan, the curfew ran from 9pm to 6am.

Eid Al-Fitr is normally marked by mass morning prayers, visits of family and friends, and large gatherings in public spaces and parks.  

Egypt has since late March banned prayer gatherings and suspended air traffic among other steps to slow the spread of coronavirus among the country's 100 million people. 

The health ministry has so far recorded 12,229 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 630 fatalities. 

Madbouli said the measures will be eased following the week of Eid celebrations and the curfew will start at 8pm from 30 May. 

"People will be required to wear face masks in public, closed and crowded places," he said, adding that violators will face penalties, without elaborating.  

Egypt has since early May allowed a gradual resumption of some suspended government services.

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