After Reconciliation with Qatar, Will Prayer Times be Returned to Normal?

2022-08-15 - 2:47 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Even though Qatar has ignored the King of Bahrain's meeting with its Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Jeddah, Bahrain's ruling family wants the meeting to be a door to reconciliation with Doha. 

Many Bahrainis who supported boycotting Qatar were excited by the meeting that brought the leaderships of the two countries together, perhaps one of whom was Sheikh Abdul Latif Al-Mahmood. 

But the question now is, will it be one of the steps to improve the atmosphere between the two countries to return prayer times to normal?

In July last year, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs issued the Al-Zubara and Bahrain calendar, which changed the country's prayer times.

The issuance of the calendar came after the conflict between the two countries, as the Al Khalifa family still considers Qatar's Al-Zubara to be part of Bahraini territory and has lost it in an international arbitration due to forged documents submitted by Doha. 

The king's diplomatic adviser and former Foreign Minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, said on the occasion of the calendar's release that "the citizens of Al-Zubara are Bahrainis, whether the claimers like it or not," and that "the people of Bahrain have rights in Al-Zubara that will not be lost."

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Executive Director of Isa Cultural Center, said that the royal directive to issue the calendar with this methodology "show the historical and natural extension of Al-Zubara as the first capital of the ancient Al Khalifi state and the consolidation of the knowledge prosperity that characterized Al-Zubara after it was founded in 1762 until the prosperous reign of his majesty."

Like any of the Sultans' sheikhs, the role of the Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the Bahraini Calendar Sheikh Al-Mahmood was to give the legal cover to the king's political decision that he took in spite of Qatar, which stalls reaching reconciliation with Qatar even after the release of the Al-Ula statement (January 2021).

His eminence Sheikh Al-Mahmood claimed that the issuance of the calendar is legitimate, explaining that "the calendar came in accordance with Islamic Sharia, scientific and astronomical standards."

"The committee has set the criteria for sunrise and sunset in line with the urban development that Bahrain has witnessed," Al-Mahmood added.

His eminence did not explain what urban change was intended, but he may mean that the sun rises on Al-Zubara early, which is a part of Bahraini territory, or that it shines early on the new urban project, Diyar Al-Muharraq, as it has become the most eastern point in the country. 

Regardless of what Al-Mahmood means, the calendar led to significant differences in prayer times, and showed a difference in the local timing of the evening prayer by about 14 minutes from its previous time (on March 21 and September 22) and by 7 minutes (on August 9), as explained by the Chairman of the Calendar Committee Abdulrahman bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Khalifa.

It can simply be said that the donkey of politics has devoured religion, as prayer has become an instrument of political differences, whose times are changed depending on the king's will. 

The question that is worth answering is: Will Bahrain issue a new prayer calendar that will be in line with political developments in its dispute with Qatar?

Arabic Version