Singapore mosques partially reopen

Mosques across Singapore have partially reopened on Friday, months after they were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muslims in the country were once again allowed to gather for Friday prayers via an online booking system limited to 50 people per session under strict social distancing measures, Efe news reported.

“On this blessed Friday, we also begin the resumption of congregational prayers at the mosques. We understand that many have been looking forward to Friday prayers, and so have we,” the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore posted on its official Facebook page.

Worshipers who attended the sessions had to book their slot via an online application system developed by the council and were restricted to one of two 30-minute sermons that mosques began to offer for Friday’s ‘Salaat al-Jummah’ as well as regular daily prayers.

The Council said devotees would only be allowed to book one Friday session every three weeks to ensure opportunities to attend are distributed equally among Muslims in the country.

“We seek the cooperation and understanding of all congregants in ensuring that the congregational prayers will proceed smoothly and orderly for everyone,” the post said, adding that mosque staff would guide worshipers who faced any difficulty.

The post was followed by a checklist outlining the necessary precautionary measures attendees are required to follow prior to and during their visits to the mosques. It said worshipers would be required to perform ablutions at home, bring their own prayer mats and wear masks throughout their visits.

It also discouraged those over 60, under 12 and people with respiratory problems from booking sessions.

The Council added that people would not be allowed to mingle inside the mosque and urged them to return home immediately after prayer, which it said would take place in designated spaces of 1-metre apart under an Imam standing at least 2-meters from the nearest worshiper.