The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia
The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina was one of the 90,000 mosques to reopen on Sunday across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Twitter/ Courtesy: @wmngovsa

Dubai: The gradual reopening of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina received much praise and applause from social media users in the Gulf region, as many were curious to see how social distancing was practised in Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, more than 90,000 mosques reopened on Sunday after authorities carried out maintenance, cleaning and disinfection procedures during a two-month closure in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Videos and photos of morning Fajr prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina did the rounds on social media as residents watched how worshippers wore face masks, kept their distance and adapted to the new social norms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance said all mosques, except those in Makkah, reopened with a limit of 40 per cent capacity. The reopening of mosques were also carried out in line with the precautionary instructions and mandatory guidelines issued by the ministry.

As part of the mosques’ gradual reopening phase in the Kigdom, worshippers were instructed to perform ablution at home, use hand sanitisers before leaving home and after leaving the mosque, as well as using it when reaching home again. Elderly people and those with chronic diseases were advised to perform their prayers at home. Reading and reciting the Holy Quran online from a personal mobile phone was also advised, or if not, to bring their own private copy of the Quran.

A worshipper in Saudi Arabia wears face mask and gloves
A worshipper wears a face mask and gloves during morning prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. Image Credit: Twitter/ Courtesy: @wmngovsa

Bringing one's prayer rug to perform prayers in mosques was recommended, in addition to maintaining a two-meter distance between one another during prayers.

Children under 15 were prohibited from entering mosques, while the use of facemasks, the avoidance of handshakes and the prevention of crowding at mosque gates were also recommended.

Worshippers were further instructed to place their shoes in a plastic bag before entering the mosque.

Meanwhile, the ministry managed, during the closure of mosques, to carry out a massive cleaning, disinfection and maintenance drive of all mosques across the Kingdom in compliance with the highest internationally recognised practices, including sanitizing over 10 million mosques, 43 million copies of several sizes and volumes of Quran, more than 600,000 Quran cupboards, in addition to repairing and maintaining about 176,000 water closets, annexed to mosques.