Friday Prayer and Coronavirus

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Can Firday prayer be missed in case of epidemic or pandemic like coronavirus pandemic?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is permissible due to the pressing circumstances and the necessity to curb the spread of the coronavirus to abstain from the jumu’a prayer, any public congregational prayer, or any large gatherings.

It would be recommended to do so if one has reasonable fear of catching the virus or spreading it. Especially if one’s health is compromised or they feel flu like symptoms.

Beyond that it would be prohibited from one to attend such gatherings if they are a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Instructions of the Scholars

The above are the instructions given by leading islamic scholars of our time.

Please see the below links for more details.

Guidance on the Coronavirus & Attending the Mosque

Dealing with the Coronavirus – Mufti Taha Karaan

COVID-19 Webinar: A Global Islamic Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Can I perform Friday Prayer (Jum’a) at Home during the Coronavirus

Hope this helps
And Allah knows best

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Cremation and Coronavirus

Answered by Shaykh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

At times of calamity, like the current Corona Virus, is cremation allowed in Islam if the government of the country has a rule to cremate all victims of the virus?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The basis is that cremation is absolutely forbidden and Muslims should do whatever is legally in their power to prevent laws being passed that force cremating bodies.

The human being is endowed with dignity. The body is a gift from Allah; it cannot be disfigured, mutilated, harmed or desecrated. Allah said, “We have ennobled the children of Adam.” (17:70) The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, “Breaking the bone of a dead person is similar in sin to breaking the bone of a living person.” (Abu Dawud)

Burial of the body is part of maintaining its dignity. In the case of Muslims, specific funerary rites, such as washing, shrouding, the funeral prayer, and burial, serves to both dignify and honour our brothers and sisters in faith who have passed on to the next world.

Alternatives to burial are not acceptable. If the government seeks to legislate cremation as a rule, Muslims should try their utmost to be exempted from these rules, while taking appropriate steps in their burial processes to address government concerns.

However, if the government does legislate it and there is no option for Muslims in that land to bury their deceased, this would constitute a necessity (darura) that is forced upon the community. In this case, they would be excused for carrying out cremations and should continue lobbying to have such legislation scrapped.

Finally, it should be noted that ultimately, whether one is buried or otherwise, the status of an individual does not change with Allah. Whether the deceased is washed or not, buried or not, etc., he or she will will suffer no ill effects from any shortfalls on the part of the community to ensure proper funerary rites.

[Shaykh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

My Teenage Son Is Not a Good Muslim

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My teenage son is not practicing Islam as his parents are. He doesn’t pray, he avoids wudu, he is into music too much. He listens to us for a few days then goes back to his attitude. He snaps at us, gets angry, and avoids the family. My husband nearly hit him recently because he disrespected me and his sister. We are sorrowful that we don’t have Allah’s blessings in our home. I supplicate to Allah five times a day for him. I read Qur’anic translations to him but he is not interested. How do we bring him back to Islam?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum sister,

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your challenge to make your son understand the importance of praying and being with the family. This world has a way to rope teenagers in, with peer pressure and the desire to try new things and be different.

The absolute best possible advice I can give you is to read this article by Hina Khan-Mukhtar: Parenting: Planting the seeds of prayer in our young ones

It is never too late for a person to change, but keep in mind that children who rebel in their teenage years may need time. They might find their guidance before they are twenty, or perhaps much later.

Your job as a parent is to connect with them emotionally and start bonding with them. After this bond is established, your understanding and respect for each other will increase. You need that respect and love as a stepping stone to start speaking to your son about his religion. This love and respect will also enable him to want to spend time with the family.

Another thing that you should always do is to befriend good religious influential people. Keep them around you and your home. Pray together as a family and avoid the haram in your home as much as possible. Pray on time, cover correctly, pay zakat, don’t ingest anything unlawful and safeguard yourself from backbiting or usury. Take a free course on Seekers to learn your personally obligatory knowledge. These things will ensure that you have barakah in your home no matter what your son is doing.

Never give up on your du`as. Allah hears all that you ask and He will decide what to give you and when. Be patient until then and be kind to him. Also be grateful that he is not involved in much worse things, like drugs or sex.

Please see the links below for more information. May Allah reward you.

How to Counsel a Teenager with Religious Shortcomings?
I Struggle with My Prayers and Am so Worried About My Family Members Who Do Not Pray. What Do I Do?
My Teenager Is Disrespectful and Has No Empathy. What Do I Do?

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Playing Chess

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

My son is very strong in playing chess.Can we let him play chess in tournaments? What about tournaments where there is prize money for a winner?
Can we use this money? What about making it as career?

Answer: Wa alaykum salam

Thank you for your question.

All the schools of law agree that if playing chess leads to one of the following, it is haram or impermissible to play it:

1. gambling
2. any indecency
3. neglecting prayer by delaying it beyond its allotted time
4. a state of heedlessness of Allah.

Even if these evils are absent, scholars still differ about the permissibility or impermissibility of chess. The Shafi’i school is possibly the most lenient in this regard. Imam Nawawi mentions two positions in his various works, namely the official view that it is makruh or reprehensible to play chess and another view that it is permissible (Rawdah al-Talibin). Please note that, in a broad sense, ‘makruh’ is regarded as a lesser form of permissibility than ‘permissible’.

In his Tuhfah, ibn Hajar al-Haytami says regarding the narrations that prohibit the playing of chess and the like,

“However, Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said, “not a single tradition has been transmitted through an authentic or sound transmission. In addition, a number of the senior companions and many successors (tabi’in) played it. From among those who played it was (the great scholar) Sa’id ibn Jubayr, may Allah be pleased with him.”

In conclusion, if your son is able to maintain a balance such that the game does not consume him and he does not become negligent of his Creator, Allah, glory be to Him, then the playing of chess will be permissible – makruh according to the official view and simply permissible according to the non-official view.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Mortgage and Divorce

Answered by Shaykh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

My ex husband and I put money together to buy a house. We did a mortgage and had to put each a down-payment. We bought a house then he made the payments for the monthly mortgage.I took care of all the bills for the house including feeding. Now we are divorcing and I would like to know what is the fair way to deal with the house.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

assalamu alaykum

This is a difficult question for which I currently do not have a conclusive legal answer.

However, even in the absence of a clear shariah legal position regarding the division of assets in such cases, what I would advise you and your ex-husband is to reach an amicable and fair settlement (sulh). This should take into account both of your contributions – whether financial or otherwise – to your home, its purchase, and maintenance.

Engaging in an amicable settlement in cases of dispute is praised by Allah who says, “If a woman fears ill treatment or aversion from her husband, then, there is no sin on them in entering into an amicable settlement between themselves. Settlement is better. Although human souls are prone to selfishness, if you do good and are mindful of God, He is well aware of all that you do.” (Qur’an, 4:128)

This is the recommended way forward when it comes to matters of dispute. It may require involving people who have legal expertise and can fairly adjudicate the matter, but it should be the first step one takes in such situations.

[Shaykh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

Inheritance and Half Siblings

Answered by Shaykh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

My father married twice; his first wife passed away and then he married my mother. From his first wife he has 1 son and 2 daughters .
My father had 5 sons and 2 daughters from my mother.

My question is about the money left after my father passed away. Do my half siblings have any right to that money?

We also didn’t pay for my fathers funeral from that money, rather myself and a couple of my brothers contributed as we didn’t have access to the funds at the time. Does that money have to be paid back to them?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

1. All of your father’s children are entitled to a portion of the wealth he left behind. This includes children he had from any previous wives.

2. Regarding the funeral costs, this does not have to be paid back to them if they decided to pay for it with their own money. The funeral arrangements are the responsibility of the surviving family of the deceased.

[Shaykh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

Imam Mahdi

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How do we know who Imam Mahdi is and what he looks like?

Answer: Bismillahi al-Rahmani al-Rahim.

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your valued question.

The Mehdi will be a man of the descendants of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who will have a pronounced forehead and a hooked nose. He will fill the earth with justice and will rule for seven years. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban and Hakim) His name will be Muhammad and his father’s name with be Abdullah. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Tabarani, Ibn Hibban, Hakim)

He will come before the Dajjal and before Sayyidna Isa.

Although it is nice to know how to identify the Mehdi, it is much more important that he will identify us as true Muslims when he comes. This means that we should busy ourselves with learning and applying the basics of our religion, and make sure that all the creases in our spiritual lives are ironed out before he comes.

I pray this helps.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed. 

Can I Perform Friday Prayer (Jum’a) at Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

In this answer, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani clarifies that Friday prayers cannot be held at home when cancelled at local mosques. Instead, one may pray the dhuhr prayer in congregation where feasible. Shaykh Faraz also gives advice on how we can attain the spiritual benefit of this blessed day even as our regular routines are disrupted.

You will find below the video relevant quotes regarding this issue from reliable Hanafi books.

:مراقي الفلاح

والخامس من شروط صحة الجمعة (الإذن العام) كذا في الكنز لأنها من شعائر الإسلام وخصائص الدين فلزم إقامتها على سبيل الاشتهار والعموم

:حاشية الطحطاوي

قوله: (لأنها من شعائر الإسلام وخصائص الدين) أي وقد شرعت بخصوصيات لا تجوز بدونها والإذن العام والأداء على سبيل الشهرة من تلك الخصوصيات ويكفي لذلك فتح أبواب الجامع للواردين كذا في الكافي

:الفتاوى الهندية

وَمِنْهَا الْإِذْنُ الْعَامُّ: وَهُوَ أَنْ تُفْتَحَ أَبْوَابُ الْجَامِعِ فَيُؤْذَنَ لِلنَّاسِ كَافَّةً حَتَّى أَنَّ جَمَاعَةً لَوْ اجْتَمَعُوا فِي الْجَامِعِ وَأَغْلَقُوا أَبْوَابَ الْمَسْجِدِ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَجَمَعُوا لَمْ يَجُزْ وَكَذَلِكَ السُّلْطَانُ إذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَجْمَعَ بِحَشَمِهِ فِي دَارِهِ فَإِنْ فَتَحَ بَابَ الدَّارِ وَأَذِنَ إذْنًا عَامًّا جَازَتْ صَلَاتُهُ شَهِدَهَا الْعَامَّةُ أَوْ لَمْ يَشْهَدُوهَا، كَذَا فِي الْمُحِيطِ وَيُكْرَهُ، كَذَا فِي التَّتَارْخَانِيَّة وَإِنْ لَمْ يَفْتَحْ بَابَ الدَّارِ وَأَجْلَسَ الْبَوَّابِينَ عَلَيْهَا لَمْ تَجُزْ لَهُمْ الْجُمُعَةُ، كَذَا فِي الْمُحِيطِ

Fulfilling the Sexual Needs of the Husband

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

My friend is a convert woman, doubting about Islam, because her husband keeps reminding her of this hadith: Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘If a man calls his wife to his bed and she refuses [and does not come], and he spends the night angry with her, the angels will curse her until morning.”

I need some fiqh-related rulings on this topic, because what is the limit, can a husband call his wife 3-5 times a day (this is her case)?

Answer: Wa alaykum salam

Thank you for writing to us.

In short, Islam honours and respect women. Further, no soul is under an obligation to do that which it cannot bear. Allah, High and Mighty, said in the Quran, “Allah does not obligate anyone beyond his capacity” [2:286]

Accordingly, the sister is only under an obligation to fulfill the sexual needs of her husband within her capacity. If she is ill, weak or experiences any pain, she is not obligated according all scholars. Also, the husband should have mercy towards his wife, knowing that the best of husbands, peace be upon him, said that “the best of you, are those who are best to their wives.” He should also know, that a successful marriage is one where spouses, at times, forego rights and not demand them. Finally, as a possible solution, it is permissible for a wife to fulfil the husband’s desires without conjugal relations. By way of example, Islam permits a wife to bring her husband to a climax by the usage of her hands and Allah knows best.

Given that the hadith of Abu Hurayra quoted in your question has been the cause of much discussion and debate. And that in a recent incident at an Islamic seminary in our community, a feminist not only criticised the hadith, but also mocked it to the extent that she made the audience laugh at it, the current author felt the need to discuss the narration in light of the following:

Authenticity

The hadith has been transmitted by both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim. There is virtually consensus among the scholars that narrations contained in sahih compilations of Bukhari and Muslim are all authentic. Like many other scholars, Imam Nawawi takes the view, in his Tahdhib al-Asma wa al-Lugat, that there is consensus on this point. However, a minority of scholars have challenged it.

Nevertheless, none of the traditional scholars have taken issue with this hadith of Abu Hurayra. In addition, as this answer sets out to demonstrate, scholars of the modern era who have taken issue with it have done so either because they do not understand, or because they are unwilling to understand, the words of the Messenger, peace be upon him.

Finally, it is absurd to discard the system and methodology adopted by the early scholars to determine the authenticity of narrations. Their systematic thoroughness in verifying and vilifying hadith narrators, their almost obsessive diligence in distinguishing the reliable from the unreliable, their efforts to preserve what they received and their scrupulousness in transmitting it unaltered, is unmatched. The Manhaj al-Naqd of the late Dr M. M. Azami (may Allah elevate his status, amin) is amongst the masterpieces that discuss this reality at length.

Islamic Law and the welfare of societies

Allah, High and Mighty, alone knows what is best for His creation. He alone knows where their welfare lies. In order to bring about the welfare of all creatures – human beings and even animals – Allah sent Prophets and revealed Scriptures containing His Law. The final Messenger and Seal of all Prophets is our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Allah revealed the Quran to him. His actions, utterances and approvals, tacit or otherwise, served as an explanation of the Quran. Allah said about him, peace be upon him, “And he (the Prophet, peace be upon him) does not speak from [his own] inclination (3) It is (his utterances) but revelation revealed (4)”.

Accordingly, the companions, the successors and those who followed them went to great lengths to preserve whatever emanated from him, peace be upon him, as he was a source of our Sacred Law, the only legal system that is able to establish world peace and order. All oppression on the face of the earth, whether great or small, originates from humanity steering away from this legal system, the system of Muhammad, peace be upon him.

The meaning of the hadith

Scholars are in agreement that when the husband requires sexual gratification from his wife, she is obliged to fulfil his need. The meaning of the hadith, when taken at face value, may seem to suggest that our law, or the Prophet, peace be upon him, does not consider women and their interests. However, the real problem is the unwillingness of some people to try to understand the Prophet, peace be upon him.

If the ways and the character of the Prophet, peace be upon him, as well as his concern for women, are understood properly, conclusions such as this would never be reached. Throughout history, there has never been a person who has championed the cause of justice and fairness to women like Muhammad did, peace be upon him. When the world treated women with disrespect and considered them inferior, Muhammad, peace be upon him, defended their rights. Women were very badly treated in Christian Europe and in Persia. For instance, they were excluded from decision-making. In addition, all menstruating women were not allowed to bathe with their husbands or sleep in the same room as them. Neither were they allowed to eat at the same table or use the same utensils as them. Muhammad, peace be upon him, on the other hand, established their honour. He, peace be upon him, respected his wives – he raced them in the desert, he bathed with them, he ate and drank from their left-over food and drink, and he sought their counsel on the most serious of matters. He said, “The best of you are those who are best to their wives, and I am best to my wives”.

So how should we understand the hadith in light of the ways of this merciful, loving and kind Prophet?

Firstly, a wife only has a duty to to fulfil her husband’s sexual needs if she has no valid excuse. [Fath al-Bari] If she is ill, in pain or weak, she is excused from this obligation. Consequently, in regard to the original question, the sister is only obliged to offer her husband sexual relations if she is not harmed and does not experience pain or weakness. All scholars are in agreement on this.

Secondly, Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him, do not want women to be cursed. It is ludicrous to suggest the contrary, as the feminist referred to above has done. One of the objectives of marriage is that each spouse must protect the other’s chastity. The western ideology that a woman should be free to engage in sexual relations with her husband and to refrain when she wishes and desires to do so is a defective one. This is illustrated by the widespread adultery present in western societies. I am not suggesting that this is the only reason for adultery, but it is certainly one of the primary ones. The ruling in the hadith thus has at its core the interests of women and the preservation of their marriages.

Similar to this is the narration where he, peace be upon him, said the angels curse the wife who sleeps at night while her husband is angry with her. Outwardly, to those who do not try to understand the wisdom of our law, it appears to wrong women. However, the reality is that the Messenger, peace be upon him, knew that men by nature forgive and overlook quickly, while women find this difficult. The consequence of a woman sleeping at night without reconciling with her husband, especially if this is repeated night after night and week after week, is that the couple begin to grow apart. In due course, if this continues, they become so distant from one another that they are no longer attached to each other and become incapable of having a decent conversation. This is one of the most common challenges in contemporary marriages. The Prophet, peace be upon him, did not want the wife to be cursed; he wanted to encourage her to preserve her marriage and to learn how to reconcile and communicate with her husband daily, so that her marriage does not become one where she feels alone and unhappy.

Thirdly, hadith commentators mention that cursing refers to “distancing from Divine Mercy.” The wisdom of the warning is to avoid harm in one’s life, relations, and religion–and to preserve the good.

Fourthly, though not clearly referenced in hadith, men are also under an obligation to fulfil the wife’s sexual needs. Thus the matter is one where spouses assist each other in maintaining their chastity. This further emphasises the fairness and justice of Allah’s Law.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Guidance on the Coronavirus & Attending the Mosque

Answered by Shaykh Salman Younas

Question: Would it be permissible to not go to congregational prayers (including Friday prayer) due to the spread of disease such as Coronavirus. Likewise, if your mother wishes for you to not go to congregational prayers due to the worry of getting infected what should you do?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The basis is that if there is reasonable fear of contracting this illness or spreading it in a specific location by going to such public gatherings, one must not go.

Given the current situation and guidelines provided by organisations like WHO (The World Health Organization), the approach being advised is, however, rightly one of excessive precaution. This means you should not go to the mosque (including Friday prayer) if:

(a) You have flu-like symptoms, even if minor,
(b) You have been around people who have flu-like symptoms, even if minor,
(c) You are in an area where the authorities have strongly advised against attending public gatherings, or have temporarily banned such gatherings [Note: In certain places, governments are very slow to respond and their information out-of-date or underestimates owing to a lack of sufficient testing and resources. All the while, confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to rise. One should always use his or her own independent and reasonable judgment and avoid public gatherings especially if there are signs of community spread of the virus in one’s area.]
(d) Reliable health experts in your locale have strongly advised the implementation of social distancing policies to curb the spread of the disease.
(e) You fit the description of those who the authorities have advised to enter self-isolation, such as people who have recently visited countries where the risk of coronavirus is high (China, Italy, Iran, Japan, etc.).
(f) You are an elderly person or someone with underlying health condition, especially if in an area where there are, or likely to be, cases of infection.

The need to avoid public gatherings, including the mosque, is even more pressing if one is in close contact with elderly people at home or elsewhere since they are particularly vulnerable to this disease, which spreads largely unnoticed. The responsibility of every individual Muslim is not simply to protect himself from harm, but also not being a cause of harm to others.

Therefore, it should be noted that while highly meritorious to pray in the mosque, the confirmed sunna for the general congregational prayers (besides the Friday prayer) is simply to pray in congregation – whether at home or elsewhere. Given current developments and the way events are unfolding, it would be firmly advised that one temporarily avoid attending the mosque for the general congregational prayers even in the absence of the conditions mentioned above.

As for Friday prayer, in the absence of the conditions mentioned above, it would remain ideal to attend. However, even here the potential for harm should be limited as much as possible. This means that women and children should be told to stay home as the Friday prayer is not obligatory upon them. Elderly people and those with underlying health conditions should also be advised the same. Mosques should put in place measures to keep their premises clean and prevent the spread of this disease. For some guidelines on this (specific to the UK), please see the guidance of the BBSI (British Board of Scholars & Imams) by following this link.

Update 1: In regard to point (e), if such a time arises where social distancing is seen as required by experts to curb the spread of this disease, which seems to be the case in many places now, the individual – even if otherwise healthy – should not attend large or concentrated gatherings and events at mosques. The community in this case is exempt from the Friday prayer and people should pray Dhuhr at home. Furthermore, taking into account expert advice and their responsibilities to congregants and the wider community, mosque committees should also seriously & quickly decide on implementing social distancing measures, which is increasingly the advice of numerous health and policy experts and should therefore be heeded. This may entail canceling or severely restricting prayer services for such a duration where the spread of coronavirus can be effectively limited. The exact duration and decisions concerning scaling up or down social distancing measures are best determined in consultation with relevant experts who understand evolving local situations.

[Shaykh] Salman Younas

Shaykh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He the went on to complete his PhD at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.