SINGAPORE - During the fasting month of Ramadan last year, there were no night prayers in mosques that had to stay closed due to the circuit breaker.
This year, Muslims can look forward to the resumption of some Ramadan activities.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) announced that mosques will be conducting terawih and qiyamullail in adherence to the prevailing safe management measures.
Ramadan this year is from April 13 to May 12, and Hari Raya Puasa will be celebrated on May 13 after the fasting month ends.
Terawih prayers are held every night at mosques during Ramadan, while qiyamullail prayers are held during the last 10 days of the holy month.
Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, the highest Islamic authority here, said on Wednesday (March 17): "I am certain many of us (Muslims) are looking forward to spending some time at the mosque. But in view of the current situation (pandemic), we are not completely out of the woods. It is very important we conduct these activities in a very safe and responsible way."
Prayer slots at the mosques must be booked online.
There will be three booking windows throughout Ramadan for terawih prayers, with about 84,000 prayer spaces in each window across all mosques. Each person will be initially allowed one booking per window to allow other congregants to visit mosques.
Congregants who attend qiyamullail will not be allowed to stay at the mosques overnight, which had been the tradition for some.
There will also be space for female congregants at selected mosques for both prayers.
Mr Muhammad Hilman Mohamed Sabli, 20, said he was thankful that mosques are finally resuming these religious activities.
"Carrying out terawih and qiyamullail with the community at the mosque is a very spiritual and joyful experience during the holy month," he added.
Mr Muhammad Hasif Imran, 21, said that the closure of mosques last year had made him appreciate the chance to visit the mosque during Ramadan even more this year.
Muis stressed the importance of minimising the risk of transmission amid the pandemic and encouraged congregants to continue carrying out Ramadan activities safely at home.
Past activities like congregational prayers at void decks will not be allowed this year to curb the risk of Covid-19 transmission in communities.
Muslims are also encouraged to continue making their zakat donations online.
Chief executive of Muis, Mr Esa Masood, said that over 90 per cent of zakat donations were done online last year, and praised the Muslim community for adapting quickly to online means.
There will also be mosque programmes available online on Muis' Web-based channel, SalamSG TV, which will showcase a range of religious and lifestyle content.
Mosques will continue to support recipients of zakat financial assistance during the holy month and there will also be programmes to help seniors use online services like the mosque booking platform more confidently.