Thousands in Iran head to religious centers despite Covid-19, bad weather

Tehran, May 2 (EFE).- Thousands of Iranians poured into religious centers for nocturnal prayers on a key date in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan despite the pandemic and bad weather in several cities including the capital Tehran.

Police had to block the road leading to the Saleh shrine located in northern Tehran due to the large flow of believers who waited for hours for it to open.

A rainstorm hit the faithful as they prayed exposed to the elements in the open air, in accordance with official guidelines observe a potential Laylat al-Qadr, (Arabic for Night of Destiny).

According to the Islamic tradition, it was the night when the first verse of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, was revealed to Prophet Muhammad and it is believed to be on an odd night of the last 10 nights of Ramadan.

Iran marks the occasion amid a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Islamic Republic has been reporting over 20,000 daily cases and around 400 deaths.

To avoid a further increase in cases, the authorities have banned activities held in closed indoor spaces and imposed a nocturnal curfew between 10 pm and 3 am.

But as the third part of Ramadan approached, the authorities allowed two-hour open-air prayers to be held, although they continued to recommend that people pray at home.

Zahra Rafií told Efe before the ceremony that she was able to take part in the down-sized prayers.

“Last year I could not come but this year I was very happy to see that it is open here and we were able to enter, although in a limited number,” the 24-year-old said. EFE

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