(MENAFN - Arab News) Extensive arrangements are being made in all the mosques to accommodate the extra streams of worshippers during Ramadan.
The start of the holy month will be determined based on the sighting of the moon later this week.
Ramadan is likely to start Friday after astronomers said the new moon could be sighted Thursday evening.
Saudi astronomer Abdul Aziz Al-Shammari said: "The moon will set this coming Thursday six minutes after the setting of the sun, increasing the likelihood of the new moon being sighted on Thursday."
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance's department in charge of mosques directed imams and muezzins in the Kingdom to keep the place tidy and ensure adequate supplies of power and water during the holy month to cater to the increased number of Muslims likely to visit mosques for Taraweeh prayers, which follows the regular Isha prayers.
Private contractors that maintain mosques have been asked to be on duty at nights during the holy month to guarantee a continuous water and power supply for all places of worship.
The mosques department maintains more than 6,000 mosques in Riyadh alone and other mosques in the city and suburbs have been built and maintained by members of the royal families and philanthropists in the Kingdom.
Improvised partitions for women will be built in mosques that do not have separate prayer halls for them.
Some of mosques are busy replacing their carpets and others are washing them to ensure they look fresh for the holy month.
Ubaidullah, an imam at a mosque in Riyadh's Naseeriyah district said yesterday: "Everyone likes to come to the mosques for prayers during the holy month and we expect a larger congregation for Taraweeh prayers."
He added the holy month not only provides a good opportunity for Muslims to greet one another and but also helps them perform good deeds that will be rewarded by Allah.
He said: "We are making every effort to provide worshippers with a conducive environment to offer their prayers in a serene atmosphere at the mosque."
He added loudspeakers outside the mosque premises would not be used during Taraweeh prayers according to instructions from the mosques department.
Ubaidullah said Isha prayers would be conducted approximately two hours after iftar (breaking of the fast) and would be followed by Taraweeh prayers from 9.15 p.m.
Midnight prayers (Qiyamul Layl) will be conducted from the 20th day of Ramadan until the end of the holy month. These prayers will begin at 1 a.m. for one hour.
Tents will also be constructed adjacent to the mosques to enable worshippers to break their fast during the month.
An official from a maintenance company that looks after 1,300 mosques in Riyadh said employees have been asked to work in the mosques till late at night during the month.
"These laborers are expected to keep the mosques neat and tidy and ensure a smooth supply of water and power."
Director General of the mosques department in Riyadh Abdullah Al-Hamid said imams have been instructed not to delegate their duty of leading Taraweeh prayers to someone else without informing the ministry and getting permission in advance. Al-Hamid said: "The imams are expected to remain at their respective mosques during the last 10 days of the month and should not leave even to perform Umrah or visit Makkah."
According to the ministry's instructions, imams are not permitted to undertake any activities related to religious propagation unless they are licensed to do so.
Imams and muezzins should also ensure no beggar asks for alms inside or at the doors of mosques.
Al-Hamid said circulars were sent to all imams ordering them to perform their duties in the best possible manner and not miss any compulsory prayer in their respective mosques.
They should strive to maintain the status and spiritual atmosphere of mosques, it added.
No mosque official will be granted leave during the month of Ramadan unless there are exceptional circumstances, the circular said.
The imams should also keep their mosques open during daytime so worshippers have the opportunity to remain and pray there until the end of the night prayers.
The imams should also ensure carpets and mosque premises are regularly and properly cleaned.
They should report any contractors who fail to carry keep mosques clean.
Prince Turki bin Sultan, deputy minister of culture and information for information affairs, said a Ramadan broadcasting plan has been approved.
In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, he said an integral part of the program is the live transmission of Taraweeh prayers and Tahaggud (late night) prayers from the Makkah-based Grand Mosque and the Madinah-based Prophet's Mosque.
He explained Saudi TV is also keen to provide its viewers with coverage of the Saudi Professional League that kicks off during Ramadan, coinciding with the London Olympic Games.