UK Mosques Led The Way With First Friday Prayers Since Lockdown13 Jul 2020
For the first time in over three months, mosques across the UK held Friday (Jumaa) prayers last week, as lockdown restrictions around the country were lifted. The Friday prayers saw many mosques instituting social distancing and other protective measures to protect their congregations.
Despite these limitations, the fact that mosques have been able to hold their first Friday prayers has been a source of comfort for many.
Friday prayers held with robust protective measures
On Friday 10th July, many mosques across the UK held their first Friday prayers in over three months. Although some mosques have been reopening for a few days since the UK government eased social distancing rules to open places of worship, last week saw the first congregational Friday prayers.
Indeed, whether places of worship should open at all has been a matter of debate among faith leaders, with some officials arguing that they should remain closed until full congregational prayers can be held.
Since then, however, more and more mosques have moved towards a consistent approach on how to protect worshippers and their local communities.
Unsurprisingly, Friday’s prayers were held with robust safety precautions led by premises’ management and volunteers. Many mosques organised deep cleaning and disinfection several weeks prior to opening and some received charitable donations of equipment, such as face masks and temperature monitors.
Worshippers were asked to enter one-by-one, sign-in to a contact register, and remove their shoes to place them in bags, which were kept with them at all times. Mosques also had temperature checking upon entry and hand-sanitiser dispensers.
In many mosques, worshippers were asked to sit at pre-marked positions set two meters apart for prayers. Those mosques with available outdoor spaces created overflow spaces outside. Indeed, to accommodate those praying outside, some mosques, such as Dudley Central Mosque, held prayers and sermons outside.
As strict as some of these precautions may appear, they are necessary, as many parts of the UK remain at risk from the coronavirus, with London in particular seeing an increase of new cases in recent days.
Despite the inconveniences that come with social distancing and other protective measures, the resumption of the Friday prayers was a source of happiness for many who were able to take part.
Speaking to Urban Muslimz, Imam Junaid Akhtar of Ghamkol Sharif UK said, “Alhumdulillah, it was great to see many attending mosques once again. The young and old alike have been waiting for this opportunity.”