Muscat: Women who specialised in Islamic teachings have been increasing over the years, according to the latest data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
In the Sultanate, their number has risen to 1,298 of whom most are considered to be female religious guides (1,071). There are 132 sermon preachers, 59 male guides and 36 mentors, according to the NCSI. Ad Dakhalia Governorate has the largest increase in religious cadres at 228, with 191 female guides, 22 preachers, and 22 male guides.
Muscat Governorate has also witnessed an increase in numbers (202), consisting of 179 female guides, 19 preachers, three mentors and one male guide.
The 2016 data also states an increase in the number of Imams and Sheikhs to 3,703. North al Batinah recorded the highest number of Imams and preachers at 803, including 13 prayer callers.
Muscat Governorate has the second largest number of Imams and preachers at 546, with South Sharqiyah in third place with 408.
The Al Wusta region has the smallest number with 61.
Oman has also witnessed an increase in the number of grand mosques by 2.6 percent in 2016, equating to 1,419 structures compared to 2015’s 1,382.
According to the NCSI, North Batinah has the highest number of grand mosques at 333. Muscat came in at second with 238, while Dhofar took third spot at 169. Smaller sized mosques have also increased by 0.7 per cent to reach 14,367 smaller sized structures.