Iran temporarily reopens mosques for Islamic festival

Tehran, May 13 (efe-epa).- Iran has opened its mosques for three nights this week to mark Laylat al-Qadr, the night Muslims believe the Quran was first handed down to Prophet Muhammad, despite coronavirus restrictions.

The Iranian ceremonies of Laylat al-Qadr, which translates as “Night of Destiny,” started on Tuesday and will continue on Thursday and Saturday.

Despite the authorization, not all mosques opened their doors and those that did received a small number of worshippers, most of them taking precautions such as wearing masks and gloves.

One worshipper Ameneh Tari, 30, told Efe: “It is really very difficult to see the mosques empty.

“I have decided to come because, although I am pregnant, my heart could not bear to stay home, but this is very sad.”

Sitting next to her daughter in the women’s area of ??a northern Tehran mosque, Tari explained that she had performed a healing prayer for all the sick, especially her son who has cancer.

Two women stood at the entrance of the mosque to distribute masks and gloves to the faithful who, according to the regulations, had to maintain a minimum distance between each other and bring their own prayer rugs.

Iran’s health ministry ordered that mosques open for only two hours a night and be disinfected before and after the Laylat al-Qadr ceremonies.

Laylat al-Qadr takes place in the last third of the fasting month of Ramadan.

There is no agreement in Islam on exactly which night of the last 10 days the Quran was revealed, so Muslims perform prayers intensively and read the Quran on several nights.

Mosques had been closed in the country, except in areas classified as low risk, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The government made an exception for the Laylat al-Qadr at the request of the Islamic republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Iranian worshippers have been performing Ramadan prayers in their homes, instead of mosques or among small groups as was the custom before the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus has hit Iran hard, with more than 6,700 deaths and 110,000 infections. EFE-EPA


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