COVID-19: ‘As-salatu-fi-buyutikum’ Azaan in Kuwait asks people to pray at home
The muezzin, or person who calls for the Muslim prayer, would continue to make the call, authorities said. But instead of “haya alas salah” (come to pray), which is typically announced, worshippers were instructed to: ‘As-salatu-fi-buyutikum’ (pray in your homes).
Authorities in Kuwait have temporarily closed mosques and
amended the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, to include the words “pray
in your homes”, as the country struggles to contain the spread of the
deadly coronavirus, media reports said.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs announced on
Friday that the five daily prayers usually held at mosques had been cancelled,
while several social media videos showed that the adhan was now instructing
worshippers not to come to mosques for congregational prayers.
The muezzin, or person who calls for the Muslim prayer,
would continue to make the call, authorities said. But instead of “haya alas
salah” (come to pray), which is typically announced, worshippers were
instructed to: ‘As-salatu-fi-buyutikum’ (pray in your homes).
The changes are in effect until further notice, the
religious ministry said.
The outbreak of the disease – officially known as Covid-19 –
was labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, as
the worldwide death toll from the virus continues to grow. Total cases have
surpassed 142,918 across 136 countries.
Earlier this week authorities in Kuwait announced a public
holiday from 12 to 26 March, with work resuming on 29 March, but entities
providing vital services have remained open.
Additionally, authorities have banned meetings in
“restaurants, cafes and commercial centres”.
A halt on all commercial flights to and from Kuwait City
International Airport also took effect on Friday. The flight ban, which does
not include cargo flights, will continue until further notice.
Only flights carrying Kuwaiti nationals and their
“first-degree relatives” will be allowed in, a government spokesman
said earlier this week.
Kuwait had reported 100 cases of the coronavirus as of
Friday, five of them have recovered. No deaths have been reported.
The number of new cases in the Middle East surpassed 11,000
people on Thursday. Almost every country in the MENA region, except Libya,
Mauritania, Syria and Yemen, have confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
Last month, neighbouring Saudi Arabia put a temporary ban on
foreigners entering the country for Umrah pilgrimages to the Muslim holy cities
of Mecca and Medina. It extended that ban to Saudi citizens and residents last
Mecca’s Grand Mosque was temporarily closed earlier this
month, so no prayers could be conducted in Islam’s holiest site. Though the
mosque has partially reopened, worshippers are forbidden from touching the
sacred Kabaa at its centre.
No confirmation has been given by the Saudi authorities as
to whether the coronavirus outbreak will affect the annual Hajj pilgrimage set
to take place in July.