Iran’s Health Ministry has announced details of protocols on the reopening of mosques across Iran ahead of the Qadr nights (Laylat al-Qadr) when people stay awake and pray from midnight till dawn.
The health ministry made it clear that social distancing must be observed by worshippers attending mosques.
“Qadr night rituals must be held with a limited capacity for worshippers and preferably in open spaces,” said deputy health minister Alireza Raisi on Monday.
He said each worshipper must maintain a distance of at least one metre from other people in front, at the back and on the sides.
“Those taking part in Qadr night ceremonies must wear masks and gloves, take with them their own prayer mats and copies of the holy Quran,” he added
“If the rituals are held indoors, a maximum of one-fourth of the whole space must be used,” he said.
He noted a maximum two hours has been allocated to the rituals on each night.
The announcement came one day after Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei highlighted the importance of worshipping and attending prayer rituals in mosques for the Muslim nation of Iran. However, the Leader emphasized that it is up to the National Coronavirus Headquarters to make a decision in that regard.
In Islamic teachings, the Qadr night (Laylat al-Qadr) is the night when the holy Quran was first sent down from Heaven to the world and also the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the prophet Muhammad.
According to many Muslim sources, it was one of three nights during the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Since that time, Muslims have regarded the last ten nights of Ramadan as being especially blessed.
Muslims believe that the Qadr night comes with blessings and mercy of God in abundance, sins are forgiven, supplications are accepted, and that the annual decree is revealed to the angels who carry it out according to God’s plan. As it is not clear which of three odd-numbered nights in the last ten days of Ramadan is actually the Qadr night, Muslims keep vigil and say prayers on all of those three nights.