Ladies’ prayer halls in mosques in Dubai are officially open, according to a circular distributed to Imams in the emirate by the authorities.

The circular was titled ‘Reopening of Ladies Prayer Halls at All Masjids in the Emirate of Dubai’ and was issued by the Department of Religious Services of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD).

“Masjid (mosque) employees are requested to reopen all females’ prayer halls in the Emirate of Dubai beginning with Asr prayer on Monday, June 7, 2021,” it stated.

The same set of strict precautionary measures for men’s prayer halls will apply to the ladies’ sections.

Women’s prayer halls had been closed for more than a year, since the UAE announced the suspension of public prayers in places of worship in March last year amid the rising number of Covid cases. While mosques reopened for male worshippers last July, the section for women remained closed. Women across Dubai rejoiced when Khaleej Times broke the news on Monday.

Resident Seema Ansari said it felt like “doors of blessings have once again opened for us”. She said she had shifted to a new house mainly because of its proximity to a mosque.

“Our family, my husband, two kids and I, wanted to go for prayers together at times. But as luck would have it, we never got a chance to go together as ladies’ prayer halls continued to be closed. I would just listen to the prayers from my balcony and thank God for at least allowing our men to be able to pray in congregation. But I am so excited that for the first time in over a year, I will be going to pray in a congregation at the mosque. There is a different sweetness about praying in congregation inside a mosque.”

Momina Ahmed is also looking forward to returning to a mosque after a lengthy absence. She claimed she and her family had to stop going to several mosques across the city on Fridays, which they had done for years. “By the will of God, we are reviving this practice after more than a year. Our weekend would start with a Friday expedition to a city mosque to pray together, and then we’d celebrate the rest of the weekend. I’ve missed worshiping in a congregation and listening to mosque Imams’ magnificent recitations, and I’m delighted that this blessing has returned to us.”