Shops will remain closed during prayer times, Saudi Minister clears the confusion

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Riyadh — A Saudi Minister has denied the rumors being circulated on social media that shops will be allowed to remain open during the prayer times, official news agency Sabq reported on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Al Arabiya mistakenly published a tweet and later deleted it, which said that shops would be allowed during the prayer times.

Later, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Municipal Affairs Khaled al-Degaither cleared the confusion that, “the cabinet decision doesn’t include carrying out commercial activities during prayers and it doesn’t touch any previous decision related to prayer times,” Sabq news reported.

“There may be confusion, but the decision does not include the practice of business at the time of prayer, and the purpose of the decision is to regulate the practice of business 24 hours except prayer times,” he added.

Saudi citizens take pride and appreciate the practice that it allows workers and owners to have an official break from the tight schedule so that they can attend prayers and return afresh.

A 25-year-old master’s student Sarah (only first name known) told an independent survey website that, “This is something we’re proud of in the kingdom, many people call it a hassle but it’s actually considerate. People who work at shops all day long deserve to get a few minutes off to fulfill a religious duty that we all consider sacred.”

Saudi Arabia has long practiced the closure of shops, shopping malls, restaurants, and other retail stores between Azaan (call to prayer) and Salah (prayers) which is approximately 20 mins. The debate still goes on whether it should be closed during prayer time or not, but for now, the practice is still upheld.

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