Parched Gulf plead God for relief with 'rain prayer'

Parched Gulf plead God for relief with 'rain prayer'
Officials in Qatar and other Gulf states are taking part in the annual 'rain prayer', with leaders and clerics asking God to send showers in this ancient ritual.
2 min read
12 Nov, 2016
The royal family commonly take part in the nationwide rain prayers [AFP]

Gulf leaders and clerics have performed the traditional prayer for rain this week, with Saudi Arabia's King Salman al-Saud and Qatar's Emir Tamim al-Thani all taking part in the ancient ritual.

The Qatari emir and his father performed the nationwide 'istisqa' (quench) prayer, a ritual which follows the tradition of Islam's Prophet Muhammed who commonly requested God for rain during parched months.

The prayers were held at the al-Wajbah prayer ground and at several schools across the Gulf state, as ordered by the emir and the ministry of awqaf and Islamic affairs on Friday night.

Despite the prayers, the prospect of rain does not look good.

"There's only about a 5 percent chance of rain over the next few days," Steff Gaulter, senior meteorologist for Al Jazeera English, told Doha News.

King Salman led prayers earlier in the week, while clerics in Saudi Arabia have taken part in the ritual.

It follows a dry spell in much of the Middle East region, with the Gulf relying on the wet season for crops of date and other produce.

Leaders across the Gulf have traditionally ordered prayers during these months, and urged people to give to charity believing this will hasten rain fall.

The prayer is usually performed at least once a year in Qatar, but it common among Muslim nations in the region as well as Muslim communities nationwide.

Temperatures in Doha have been around 30 degrees celsius, and the next five days are expected to see continued high temperatures for the gulf.