۱۷ تیر ۱۳۹۹ | Jul 7, 2020
Prayers resume — at a distance — at St. John's mosque

Syed Pirzada, president of the Muslim Assoication of Newfoundland and Labrador, says volunteers prepared for more than two weeks to be ready for when prayers could start up again.

Hawzah News Agency (New Foundland, Canada) - The Masjid-an-Noor mosque in St. John's held prayers for the first time in months Friday, but services were much smaller and shorter than before the pandemic hit.

Syed Pirzada, president of the Muslim Assoication of Newfoundland and Labrador, says volunteers prepared for more than two weeks to be ready for when prayers could start up again.

"Today is the big day our community has been really intently waiting for this day," he said.

Before the pandemic, Pirzada said, Friday prayers at the mosque would see between 450 and 500 people, but on Friday just 50 people would be allowed in at a time — and that includes five volunteers.

A second, physically distanced service was added Friday to accommodate more people, but Pirzada said there were still a lot of disappointed members of the congregation.

He said the mosque set up a website to allow people to register and get a ticket for one of the services, but the tickets were all gone in just a few hours.

"There were a lot of unhappy community members.… We understand, and we appreciate their co-operation because there are only limited people we can allow," Pirzada said.

"Our hands are tied and we have to follow the rules laid down by the health authority, laid out by the government, and that is for the good of the community."

The Friday prayers will also be only about one-third the length of a usual service and there will be no extra prayers.

We have advised our congregation to pray at home, come here, participate in the main prayer with the imam and go back home and complete the rest of the prayer," Pirzada said.

Face mask, prayer mat required

When people arrive at the mosque for the main prayer, Pirzada said, volunteers on the parking lot and at the building's main doors will check tickets and ask some COVID-19 screening questions.

He said anyone who wants to pray will need to wear a face mask and bring their own prayer mat, and volunteers will guide people to designated spots marked by stickers on the floor.

"Keeping the social distance in our mind, we have already designated spots for people," said Pirzada.

"They will put their prayer mat on those designated areas and just sit there until the imam starts the prayer."

When the prayer is finished, the congregation will leave from the back of the mosque, with hand sanitizer available near the exit.

Despite the challenges presented by Friday's services, Pirzada said the Friday prayer is extremely important for Muslims, and asks for patience during the altered services.

"We do understand this is going to be challenging for all of us."

Comment

You are replying to: .
3 + 9 =