Cairo, Apr 19 (efe-epa).- Saudi Arabia’s top Islamic authority Sunday called on all Muslims around the world to perform prayers at home during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in accordance with health guidelines to fend off the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The lunar fasting month, set to begin next week, is marked by intense worshipping, but most Muslim countries have closed mosques and banned mass prayers to contain the respiratory illness
“Muslims must avoid gatherings, given that the gathering is considered the main cause of the spread of infection, according to relevant medical reports,” said the Saudi Senior Scholars’ Council, according to state-run Saudi news agency SPA.
Among the significant features of Ramadan is a special nightly prayer called “taraweeh” usually performed congregationally at mosques.
The council added that Muslims should perform communal prayers, including taraweeh, at home if authorities in their respective countries advise it.
The council continued to advise against group meals during Ramadan and stressed the importance of preserving life in Islam.
During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking from dawn to dusk.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has suspended congregational prayers in mosques and temporarily halted pilgrimage to holy Islamic sites as part of restrictive measures against the outbreak of the pandemic.
The kingdom has so far reported 8,274 Covid-19 confirmed cases, the highest among the Arab countries, with a death toll standing at 92.
Coronavirus first emerged in China in December and has spread around the world with nearly 2,345,633confirmed cases in 185 countries and regions, with 161,262 deaths.
The World Health Organization earlier officially named the disease Covid-19, while the virus which causes it has been called SARS-CoV-2 (changed from its provisional name 2019-nCoV) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
Symptoms of the disease are in many cases similar to those of a cold but may be accompanied by fever and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of breath).
Some of those infected develop the pneumonia-like disease Covid-19, which seems to be more dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions. EFE-EPA