Iran to reopen all mosques for Laylat Al-Qadr despite rise in coronavirus cases

Iran to reopen all mosques for Laylat Al-Qadr despite rise in coronavirus cases
Mosques across Iran will be reopened for three days during the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
2 min read
12 May, 2020
Laylat al-Qadr is considered to be the holiest night of the year for Muslims [Anadolu]
Iran is to temporarily reopen mosques as part of Ramadan celebrations despite a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in parts of the country.

All mosques will be opened during three nights of the final 10 days of the Muslim holy month, Iran's Fars news agency quoted Mohammed Qomi, the director of the Islamic Development Organisation, as saying.

The move comes as part of traditional celebrations to mark Laylat Al-Qadr, or the Night of Power, when Islamic belief says the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims believe acts of worship done during the night, which occurs during one of the odd-numbered final 10 days of Ramadan, are worth more than 84 years of worship. Shia Muslims, who make up the majority of the Iranian population, traditionally attend mosques on the 19th, 21st and 23rd days of Ramadan for this reason.

The decision to reopen mosques for the occassion was made in consultation with the ministry of health, Qomi said, but comes despite a rise in Covid-19 case numbers in areas of the country.

Authorities placed much of the southwestern province of Khuzestan on lockdown on Sunday after a sharp increase in cases. Officials blamed the rise on citizens failing to follow social distancing regulations.

On Friday, mosques in 180 towns and cities declared at low risk of the virus were allowed to reopen for Friday prayers. Earlier last week, authorities had allowed 132 mosques in areas "consistently" free of the virus to open their doors.

Mosques in the capital Tehran remain closed.

The Islamic Republic is due to reopen schools next week, and has already lifted a ban on inter-city travel and allowed shopping malls to reopen.

Iran has reported more than 109,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 6,685 deaths.

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