The UAE prepares for Ramadan for the second year under COVID-19 precautions.
Rabat – Astronomers expect the holy month of Ramadan to begin on April 13 in the UAE as officials await the sighting of the crescent moon.
In preparation for Ramadan, governments across the Islamic world are establishing new COVID-19 regulations relating to in-person prayer, iftar gatherings, and work hours.
Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Director General of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai announced that mosques throughout the UAE will hold the isha prayer five minutes after the call to prayer. Additionally, taraweeh prayers will be allowed for a maximum of 30 minutes before mosques must close their doors to worshippers.
Outside the UAE, many countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia will continue to host in-person prayers throughout Ramadan but will impose new regulations.
Other countries like Morocco decided to impose night curfews which may prohibit Muslims from praying isha and taraweeh prayers.
The Emirati government advised all worshippers to continue to wear personal protective equipment like masks while praying in person. For those that wish to pray more than once, the government advised attending online seminars.
Al Shaibani stated the UAE will remain especially vigilant during Ramadan and, “mosques will be frequently sanitized throughout the day to ensure the highest levels of safety and [COVID-19] prevention in the country.”
Although the government plans to sanitize mosques, it has prohibited communal organized iftar gatherings commonly held in tents outside of mosques. All donations must be handled by official charity organizations in Dubai rather than by individuals.
The federal institutions and ministries of the UAE will operate from 9 a.m to 2 p.m during Ramadan although public employees may work varied hours.
Currently, the UAE has had a total of 480,000 cases with 463,000 recoveries since the start of the pandemic. The country has vaccinated 22% of the population with 9 million residents receiving the first dose and approximately 2 million fully vaccinated.