Pray at home

Today will be the second Friday when Muslims in Kuwait will not pray en massein mosques. The closures of the mosque are part of the government’s efforts to limit gatherings and stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. I am used to waking up early, waiting for the azan to go the mosque and meet friends and brothers in worship.After this my long day starts.

Now it is totally different. During the call for prayer, the muezzin adds a new, unfamiliar sentence: “Pray at home!” The first time I heard this, I said to myself, “Oh, my God, what happened!” I cannot stay away from the mosque – I have to be there at least once a day. But things have slowly started to fall into place and I understand why the mosques are closed and why it’s necessary to avoid gatherings to protect us all.

My feelings led me to search for a precedent for such a decision, as all what I am familiar with is that worshippers can combine noon and evening prayers, and sunset and night prayers in case of severe weather, war, etc in mosques.Then my senses told me to behave – this enemy is unseen. But there are ways you can keep it away from you, this includes avoiding crowds, social distancing, all forms of hygiene, etc. As prayers in mosques bring large numbers together in extremely close proximity, it makes sense to stay away from crowds.

Still, as I was sitting home reading, I wanted to find anything that goes back to the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and see if something like this took place.I found this happened not only during a disease outbreak, but even during bad weather. It is really comforting to know this. The coronavirus does not know borders, religions, geographic locations or anything.Its target is humanity – it has hit royalty and commoners alike,which forced the World Health Organization (WHO) after many days of denial to utter the word pandemic.

Many countries, Muslim and otherwise, have taken several measures related to religious rituals in order to control COVID-19.Many of my friends, including myself, felt a little despondent at the start, but thingsare settling down, and one has to come to terms with the situation, with hope that this crisis will end soon.I am a strong believer that there is no disease that doesn’t have a cure, but we have to look for it, and this is why scientists exist and they are hard at work.

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