Jakarta (ANTARA) - Worshippers thronged the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, while breaking the fast and during the special Tarawih evening prayer period following the Saudi authority's decree designating Saturday (Apr 2) as the start of Ramadan.

"Congregational prayers at the mosque have returned to normal. No more physical distancing while praying, (the mosque is opened) with maximum capacity, yet (worshippers are) instructed to wear masks," Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Chairperson Asrorun Ni'am Sholeh noted in a short message received here on Sunday.

Sholeh, who is currently in Medina for the Ramadan fasting, remarked that the authority necessitates worshippers to register through an application before visiting sacred places in the mosque, such as the Rawdah -- an area between Prophet Muhammad's final resting place and the mosque's pulpit -- normally flocked by Muslims.

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The MUI head spoke of having observed that the worshippers followed procedures at the mosque in an orderly manner.

The Saudi authority applies the same moon observation method and practices as Indonesia, he noted, adding that Saudi residents' uniform adherence to the government's designated date is a distinction from Indonesia.

On the first day of Ramadan, worshippers at the Prophet's Mosque break their fast with foods provided by the mosque management pooled by donations, he remarked.

"I break my fast at the mosque, and (I noticed that) nobody is chatting (while breaking the fast). Worshippers at the Prophet's Mosque can practice breaking the fast without chatting," Sholeh remarked.

Worshippers flocked the mosque again for the special Tarawih evening prayer, conducted in 11 rakahs (prayer movement cycle), with qunut supplication offered at the last rakah, he stated.

When the number of worshippers at the Prophet's Mosque peaked to one million, the mosque management promptly directed worshippers to pray at the mosque's rooftop and outer courtyard, he noted.

Some worshippers must pray in the mosque's courtyard after the mosque's capacity peaked despite arriving earlier before the praying time, he added.

Traders and business owners scattered around the Prophet's Mosque also temporarily close their establishment during the praying time, while no restaurants are opened at noon when everyone is fasting, the MUI head stated.

"I enjoy a serene Ramadan," Sholeh remarked.

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Translator: Desi Purnamawati, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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