UAE worshippers express gratitude to government for shortened Friday prayers

Omar Abbas - | Arab

A Dubai citizen named Muzaffar Habib left his nearby workplace at around 1:20 PM on Friday, June 28th to attend the special Jum'uah congregational prayers at a mosque in the Zabeel district.

The UAE restricts Friday sermons to avoid the summer heat

Despite the intense summer heat, he arrived prepared with a small scarf to protect his head, expecting to find himself praying in the sun due to the crowded mosque.

He expressed profound gratitude for a recent directive from UAE authorities that mandates Friday sermons be limited to just 10 minutes. Immediately after prayers, he remarked, "The khutbah (sermon) lasted only seven minutes. It was a significant relief for people like me, who often rush from work to reach the mosque. Standing in this heat under the sun has become unbearable. This summer feels hotter than ever before."

The UAE's decision came as temperatures soared above 50 degrees Celsius, prompting authorities to take action to reduce the time worshippers spend exposed to the extreme heat.

Mohammed Ali, a Jordanian expatriate, shared his surprise at the shorter khutbah during prayers at a mosque in Jumeirah. He expressed surprise, noting he wasn't aware of the new directive when the sermon ended abruptly. "However, I heard others around me discussing it. I think it's a great comfort for people enduring this heat and a commendable decision by the UAE government. It shows that the authorities here are always considering the well-being of the people."

Ali, who prayed inside the mosque, observed numerous others, including delivery riders, finishing their prayers under the blazing sun. "It was extremely hot just walking from the mosque to my car. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to endure the sermon and pray in such conditions."

The government's proactive measure

Typically, Friday sermons range from 10 to 20 minutes, followed by a congregational prayer consisting of two units. Due to the limited space inside mosques, many worshippers are forced to pray in courtyards under direct sunlight.

The directive to shorten sermons aims to alleviate discomfort for worshippers during the sweltering summer months. It underscores the UAE's proactive approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents, particularly during extreme weather conditions.

In response to the directive, Habib and Ali echoed widespread appreciation for the UAE government's initiative. They emphasized the practical benefits of shorter sermons in reducing exposure to heat-related risks and allowing worshippers to maintain their religious obligations without undue physical strain.

As the summer continues with record-breaking temperatures, the UAE's decision to limit sermon times reflects a thoughtful response to the challenges faced by worshippers. It underscores the government's commitment to enhancing the overall experience of Friday prayers while safeguarding public health.

The UAE's directive to cap Friday sermon durations at 10 minutes has been widely welcomed for its practicality and consideration amid soaring temperatures. It exemplifies the government's proactive stance in addressing community needs and ensuring religious practices are conducted under optimal conditions.

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Omar Abbas
Omar Abbas
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