Dubai: UAE mosques, which have suspended daily congregational and Friday prayers for a month as a precaution against coronavirus, have replaced the usual phrase “come to prayer” in the Arabic adhan (call to prayer) with “pray at home”.
The new phrase can also be translated as “pray where you are”.
It follows Monday night’s government directive, announced on official social media channels, to halt all prayers in mosques nationwide for four weeks.
Mosques worldwide normally hold five congregational or group prayers in a day – at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset and night. The time for each prayer is announced by the adhan, the call to prayer, over loudspeakers from minarets at mosques. There is also a special congregational prayer on Fridays at midday, in place of the regular midday prayer.
In Dubai, the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, posted on its Instagram page (@iacaddubai): “As a commitment by the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai to the national and social responsibility, it has been decided to suspend the congregational prayer in all mosques in Dubai, starting from today based on the latest updates, asking people to pray in their houses, and ask Allah to help us overcome this epidemic.”
The Arabic version of the post adds a line at the end: ‘The muezzin [the one who calls the adhan] will now be heard saying ‘pray at your home’ to alert you [about the temporary change].”
The month-long suspension applies to all other places of worship in the UAE. The suspension will, after the end of its duration, be “reassessed based on the latest developments”.