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Empty Mataf in sight, Friday prayers at Makkah Grand Mosque a rare instance

Restrictions on Mataaf area however does not mean that Tawaf - circumambulation i.e. to go around the Kaaba seven times, is stopped

Friday March 6, 2020 7:54 PM, Zohair M Safwan, ummid.com

Empty Mataf

Makkah: Hundreds of thousands plan their travel to Makkah in Saudi Arabia so as to offer Friday prayers in Mataf and as close as possible to Holy Kaaba. Some rich people even pay extra money to book their tickets on Thursdays so that they are in Makkah on Friday to offer the special noon prayer of the week.

This Friday however was different.

Coming a day after Saudi Arabia ordered closure of the Mataf, and Safa and Marwah areas of the Makkah Grand Mosque, empty Mataf with the Holy Kaaba standing high was a rarest of rare occasion when the Imam led the Friday prayers from inside, and not from near the Multazim as normally the practice is.

Also, unlike thousands and thousands of Muslim who were used to offer Friday prayers inside and outside the Grand Mosque in Makkah, only few thousands were present today when the Muezzin gave the Call to Friday Prayers at dot 12.30 pm.

The Imam delivered the Friday sermon - brief and short, and led the Special noon prayers of the week - even more brief and shorter than the Sermon. He was standing on the ground floor of the Makkah Holy Mosque and recited Surah al Asr and Surah al Ahad in the two Raka'ats of the prayers.

"Offering prayers inside the Makkah Grand Mosque with empty Mataf - so close to the Holy Kaaba yet so far.. The sight is very painful. May Allah, the Alimghty, save everyone from the deadly disease", a believer told ummid.com.

The restrictions inside the Grand Mosque and Masjid e Nabawi in Madina and some other mosques of the Kingdom and Umrah travel ban were announced to control the spread of Coronavirus - the disease that has spread to more than 80 countries - including Saudi Arabia.

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Restrictions on Mataaf area however does not mean that Tawaf - circumambulation i.e. to go around the Kaaba seven times, is stopped. Faithfuls are using the terrace and the building areas of the Makkah Grand Mosque for Tawaf.

"Except during the mandatory prayers five times a day, never in the history of the Holy Kaaba Tawaf is halted. It is taking more time. But we are performing Tawaf using the terrace and from the inner courtyards and building areas of the Makkah Haram", another believer said.

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