HYDERABAD: Although a majority of mosques reopened in the city under strict regulations after more than two months of lockdown, most religious spaces saw fewer numbers of devotees, presumably due to fear of Covid-19 as cases in the State are at an all-time high.
As there has been no clear instruction regarding the standard operating procedure for the operation of religious institutions, the city’s two major mosques - Mecca Masjid in Charminar and Shahi Masjid in Public Gardens - where thousands usually throng for prayers were closed after a decision regarding the same was taken by masjid authorities. In Mecca Masjid, only the mosque staff members offered prayers.
As for the numerous other mosques in the city, majority adhered to the instructions given by Jamia Nizamia regarding social distancing during namaz. Carpets were removed at mosques and many prayed on the stone floors. People were also asked to bring their own prayer rug. A few mosque committees even went to the extent of checking each devotee’s temperature before allowing them inside.
In Jama Masjid, the first congregational mosque in Hyderabad, masjid committee members had a tough time making sure that everyone was maintaining social distance.
Syed Ibrahim, the shujjaiah of the mosque, said, “Since Mecca Masjid was closed, the number of devotees who came here were more than we had expected. There were around 200 people in the mosque,” he said. He also added that those below the age of 10 and those above 55 were not allowed inside the premises.
“We opened our gates early to prevent a crowd from gathering outside. We had also told everyone to do their ablution from their homes,” Ibrahim added. Like, Jama Masjid, several other mosques took it upon themselves to restrict the number of devotees at their premises.