Pics: Friday worshippers in Egypt’s mosques after months of suspension: what did they feel?



Fri, 28 Aug 2020 - 01:51 GMT


Fri, 28 Aug 2020 - 01:51 GMT

Muslim worshippers in Azhar mosque, Cairo – Reuters

Muslim worshippers in Azhar mosque, Cairo – Reuters

CAIRO – 28 August 2020: As cautious as they should be, Muslim worshippers were seen outside their houses in large numbers to go to mosques, to perform the weekly Friday prayers, for the first time in five months, after they were banned from praying in mosques over coronavirus.


In huge mosques, they were seen lining up for temperature checks before they enter to the mosques, listen to the Friday sermon, which the Endowments Ministry urged mosque imams (officials) to shorten them.



All worshippers, including children, were seen with masks on their faces, each carrying his own carpet in one hand, and the other hand is busy carrying sanitizer or holding the hand of a child who is willing to see the mosque crowded for the first time since Late March, or simply holding a subhah, a string of beads Muslim use to keep count while saying the prayer.


“Their faces were sad. Children were silent and not playing as we usually see them doing. The voice of the khateeb (the person who delivers the sermon) was half-hearted. I felt like I want to cry although I was happy when I heard a week ago that the Friday prayers would be resumed,” Mohamed Mansi, a middle-age worshipper told Egypt Today after the prayer in El Obour City, north-east of Cairo.


“It is like when what you hoped for a long time is achieved, and then everyone is happy for you and you feel like you want to be happy but you simply cannot. I did not thought it would be that painful to be banned from the Friday prayer, and I only hope I will never be banned from it again,” Mansi added without giving a single smile.



Prayers entered mosques in smaller numbers than usual, meaning that many people decided to stay at home, fearing the virus. They laid the carpets they pray on on the ground inside or in the vicinity of the mosque, sat down and listened carefully to a unified sermon about “hope,” urging them to never lose hope as long as God is there for them.



The sermon was finished in few minutes, in line with the directives of the endowments ministry. Older people sitting on chairs because they are unable to sit down on the floor looked upset with the khateeb ordering worshippers to “establish prayer,” over the very short sermon.


“I waked up very early, and I barely do this, to attend the prayer,” Ahmed Ali El Gebaly, 26, told Egypt Today.



“I opened the window to see people going to pray. I missed this scene when you see Muslims hurry up to enter mosques before the sermon starts. It was like a feast prayer; you are very happy because you deeply miss it and did not do it for a long time,” Gebaly added.


“What annoyed me is the duration of the sermon. It was a good topic that I hoped it would run for a longer time.”



Friday prayer, which is performed after the sermon, is one of the short prayers in Islam in terms of the number of rakat, the single unit of prayers”.


The khateeb read out loud a verse of the Quran saying: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere” – 2:155






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