As the republic entered its second week of Phase Two of reopening today, Singapore mosques have been allowed to resume Friday prayers and daily congregational prayers, after they were suspended on March 13 to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.
A Bernama survey around the Sultan Mosque in Kampung Glam today found that a few of the staff were seen ready to receive congregants at Gate 3 of the mosque before the Zuhur prayer call (Azan Zuhur).
At the entrance was a notice that read: “Bersama Menangani COVID-19. Selamat Datang ke Masjid Sultan. Pembukaan Selamat.”
The Friday congregational prayers were conducted with a maximum of 50 congregants per session at each mosque.
In today’s nationwide live sermon (khutbah) titled “Gratitude and Patience” (by Ustaz Ammar Yasir Mohamed Fatris), the congregants were told: “All of us attending today’s prayers would have to adhere to several safety measures.
“These are part of the new norms which we must quickly learn to adapt to, for our own safety. We understand that the majority of our community members are still unable to perform their Friday prayers, hence let us continue to stay resilient and patient in facing these tests.
“Continue your good efforts and cooperate with one another, as it is a form of your contribution to safeguard the wellbeing of others.”
In announcing the resumption on June 21, Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) said to enable more congregants to perform the Friday prayers, two half-hour prayer sessions will be held every Friday, with an interval of about 30 minutes between the two sessions, to ensure safe crowd management.
Sermons and prayers will be shortened to a maximum of 20 minutes, it said.
MUIS has also developed an online prayer booking system to manage the demand and ensure the orderly conduct of the congregational prayers.
The system allows for the reservation of available prayer spaces for Friday prayers as well as 50 slots for each of the five daily congregational prayers immediately after the Azan (prayer call).
To enable more worshippers to perform their Friday prayers, the system will limit the number of bookings an individual can make for Friday prayers to only one reservation within a three-week window.
Private worship beyond congregational prayer sessions will continue to be available and subject to the same limit of 50 persons at any one time.
Singapore entered its Phase Two of reopening on June 19 with the easing of restrictions which were imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.