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temporarily banned such gatherings [Note: In certain places, governments are very slow to respond and their information out-of-date or underestimates owing to a lack of sufficient testing and resources.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.

Is Euthanasia Permissible?

Shaykh Jamir Meah answers a question related to Euthanasia and its ruling in Islamic law.

Question:

My question is regarding the medically assisted death option which patients in hospitals are choosing. I’m completing a clinical pastoral education unit in a hospital and was recently asked if I would assist patients who have chosen medically assisted death and without any confusion or hesitation I said yes. However, I’m wondering if as a Muslim that is problematic or not. I don’t think so but I just need to speak to someone who is in the field and is a Muslim to provide some kind of comments, feedback or advise. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thank you

Answer:

Assalam ‘alaykum, thank you for your question.

Euthanasia is of two types, active and passive. Active euthanasia is deliberately performing an act that will cause the person to die, such as administering a fatal injection. Passive euthanasia entails leaving a person to die without any action being taken to preserve life.

Active Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide

Active Euthanasia, the direct and deliberate act performed to kill the patient maybe involuntary, such as when the patient is unconscious and the decision to end their lives is taken by the family or physician, or voluntary, in which case it is termed suicide, or assisted suicide if a third party assists the person in the act.

Active Euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide, are unlawful in Islamic Law, even if the person is suffering.

This is based on the words of God, ‘And take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law’[6: 151], and, ‘Do not kill yourselves. Verily, Allah is ever Merciful unto you’. [4:29].

Alongside the prohibition, the person who deliberately caused death would have committed homicide.

Vegetable States

The ‘exception’ to the prohibition on involuntary euthanasia is when the patient is in a severe vegetable state, such that the medication, feeding (i.e. hydration), or life support machine, is the only thing keeping the person breathing, and without it, it has been concluded that the person would be dead or will not function. In these cases, it would be permissible to stop treatment if qualified physicians state that this is the case and there is no hope of recovery.

Passive Euthanasia

Passive euthanasia, where no action is taken, entails stopping medical treatment. The vast majority of scholars have held that it is recommended for a person to seek medical treatment but it is not obligatory. Therefore, if a person chooses to stop treatment, and they are left to die naturally, then this would be permissible. However, it would not be permitted to starve the person to death (or self-starvation). And Allah knows best.

Do Not Desire Death

It is disliked for a person to desire death, as the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Let none of you wish for death on account of an affliction that befalls him. If he has no alternative, let him pray, O Allah! Give my life so long as the life is good for me, and take away my life if death is good for me.’ [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

Role of the Muslim physician

The Muslim physician holds a very important yet precarious role. It is essential that any person wishing to treat or care for patients first learn the rulings of sacred law (fiqh) that apply to their job, as well as study some central tenants of Islamic belief (‘aqida).

Though it can be very difficult, Muslim physicians should always encourage patients, Muslims and non-Muslim, to have hope in something greater than their suffering, for hope is often far greater a cure than any medicine can afford.

[al Majmu’, Tuhfatul Muhtaj, Mughni al Muhtaj, Tarshih al Mustarshidin]

 

Please also refer to the following answer:

I wish you all the best in your affairs.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabanni


 

Do I Pay Zakat on Foreign Property?

Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat answers a question related to the payment of Zakat on foreign property (according to the Hanafi school of thought).

 

Question:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahuh

Hope you are well. I have a question re. zakat. My family has put a property abroad under my name – presumably to avoid problems of transfer when it comes to future inheritance. It is currently leased to a business who pay rent but in reality, I don’t consider the money as my own as, in effect, it is under the control of my family. Do I need to pay zakat on this? It’s not a matter I feel entirely comfortable with even though I understand why it has been done but I
don’t want to create problems. Concerning my own earned income, I am not eligible for zakat but if I have to incorporate the foreign rent, I may be even though I don’t use it. I would really appreciate an answer, especially as I can imagine other second-generation immigrants may be in similar situations.

Jazakallah khayrun

 

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

Zakat is only due on wealth or property which has the potential for growth. This would include any property purchased with the intention of sale or to acquire rental income. As such, zakat would not be due on the property if it was not purchased with intention of sale. The rental income, however, is zakatable. (Mawsili, Al Ikhtiyar).

Ownership of the Property

Whether you owe zakat on the rental income or not is dependant on who the actual owner is. When the property was transferred to you was it done with the intention of making you the owner of it, such that if you decided to sell it you would be able to do so?

You need to gentle clarify the matter with your family. Make it clear to them that you do not want to cause friction, and then explain that there are religious ramifications to owning the property – if you are indeed the owner. You need to know so you can pay the zakat on the rental income – which is rightfully your if you own it, even if you do not spend it. If they say it is yours then you can deal with the situation in the manner you deem to be the best for all involved.

If the property is only in your name for another purpose then you do not have to pay the zakat on the rental income. The actual owner is responsible for this.

Clarity In Matters of Inheritance 

Inheritance is a serious affair in Islam. When a person dies his property automatically becomes the property of his next of kin – with the exception of funeral costs and the repayment of debts which are both given precedence. It is up to the heirs to see that it is distributed accordingly.

Non-Shari’a compliant distributions before death, and vague allocations can be the cause of a lot of problems، and even fighting، between the next of kin. Therefore, it is best to have all such matters clarified beforehand.

Not following the distribution detailed in the Qur’an has serious consequences in this world and the next. I heard Shaykh Ali Hani, whose family were originally from Palestine, say on a number of occasions that before the country was occupied, it was common for Palestinian families not give anything of the inheritance to the daughters. They thought that the money would end up going to another (her husband’s) family, and they preferred to keep it in their own. This practice was rife. Could it be that what happened to the country was a test from Allah because of this?

Speak to your family and get clarity. It will make things much easier later on.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


How Do I Protect Myself From The Evil Eye?

Shaykh Farid Dingle answers a question on how to protect oneself from the evil eye.

 

Question:

Salam,

How do we protect ourselves from the evil eye and jealousy, but without being excessive? For example if you have a child and you want to protect him/her from evil eye, do you just not post a photo of your baby? I don’t understand how to be moderate in it without being excessive in it. Please provide some guidance on this matter.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

The Evil Eye

Please read this article first: http://seekershub.org/ans-blog/2010/03/19/the-evil-eye-a-reality/

Ostentation

Showing off in one’s acts of worship, or in worldly possessions or achievements is forbidden. What is wrong with it is that one looks at a blessing that is from Allah, and ascribes it to one’s ownself. Then one seeks that it be seen by others so that one’s rank my rise in their eyes. This results in pride, and has been compared to polytheism: ‘Indeed even a slight amount of showing off is worshipping gods besides Allah.’ [Hakim]

Talking about one’s baby and showing pictures to others can be ostentation and haram. You have to look at your heart when you are doing it and after when people respond. If you are eager to get likes on your Facebook page, for example, or you are waiting for someone to show that they are impressed, or the opposite, you are crestfallen when you don’t get the attention you wanted, then it is ostentation.

If you feel this, you have to get it out of you heart and change your intention before you take an action. Otherwise, you will be acting upon ostentation and doing something forbidden and hated in Allah’s eyes.

It can also be a way of sharing the joy and thanking Allah. If all you want is to show others how happy you are with Allah, and there is not hankering in your heart for their praise then it is not ostentation, inshaAllah.

Breaking others’ hearts

Sometimes, even if we don’t mean to, we break other people’s hearts by mentioning a blessing in our lives that others don’t have. You mention how your baby is staying to coo and you hurt the person you are talking to because she doesn’t have a baby, or her baby has a disability.

This is not sinful if you don’t intend to harm them and you don’t know that it will hurt they feelings, but you do have to be careful.

‘The Most-Merciful only shows mercy to those who are merciful. Show mercy to those on Earth, and He upon high shall show you mercy.’ [Tirmidhi and others]

So you have to look at the scenario, and many other similar scenarios, from these three angles.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


 

Can I pray Tarawih Prayers If I Have Overdue Obligatory Prayers to Complete?

Shaykh Farid Dingle answers a question related to praying Tarawih salaah when one has overdue obligatory prayers to complete (according to the Shafi school of thought).

 

Question:

Assalamu alaikum.

For the past three years I haven’t been praying salah consistently and sometimes didn’t pray for months on end. I’m now taking my deen more seriously and I am making up these missed prayers. Inshallah it will be easier in the future.

I wanted to ask, since Ramadhan is coming up – am I allowed to pray Tarawih?
Here’s my specific situation: Me and my family sometimes go to a community mosque during Ramadhan, a small place, for iftar and tarawih. We follow behind the imam, as he makes intention for the women behind him too. My family are not aware of me missing prayers for so long and I am too afraid to tell them – I want to keep this
private. I read somewhere that one should not do sunnah prayers when they have fardh to make up, but I don’t know how I’ll be able to wriggle out of Tarawih. In this case, is it okay for me to offer my Tarawih prayer? I could try and make an excuse to go home, but I don’t want to end up having to lie. And praying Tarawih, I feel, would help me become more connected to Allah, and I would really love to participate in it. Ramadan is also during my exam season, so I need all the blessings I can get. I would love some guidance with this.

Jazakallah Khairan.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Short answer
You can just make-up prayers behind the imam as he prays Tarawih.

The principle
The issue of praying supererogatory prayers (sunna/nafl) while one has make-up prayers (qada) is nothing particular to do with supererogatory prayers themselves; rather, the issue is delaying making up obligatory prayers without a valid excuse, such as another more pressing obligation.

For example, if one had an obligatory prayer that one had missed without a valid excuse, such as just being lazy or finding it awkward to pray at work, one could not delay making it up for, say, answering a personal email or having a cup of tea. One could only delay it for something obligatory, such as eating main meals, sleeping, going to work if one supports oneself. One such non-obligatory thing is supererogatory prayers.

For this reason, the Shafi’i scholars tell us that one cannot pray supererogatory prayers while one has make-up prayers to perform because it entails delaying an immediate obligation for other than another more pressing obligation.

The practice
Okay, so based on this principle, someone who has years of make-up prayers no longer has any free time whatsoever: it is just them and the prayer mat until the finish. Is that right?

The answer is that Islam is reasonable, and while this principle might apply to one or two make-up prayers that one might well take a day off work or stop a conversation to pray immediately, one cannot apply this for weeks or months on end. To do so would most probably make one go insane, or cause one to lose one’s job or marriage, or the like.

Practically, one should make a realistic schedule of prayers that one makes up a day, and stick to it no matter what, without going to extremes.

For more detail, please see: http://seekershub.org/ans-blog/2017/06/18/18205/

Tarawih
A simple solution to praying Tarawih when you have make-ups is to intend praying a missed Fajr for each two rakas that the Imam does. This is acceptable because, in the Shafi’i school, it is valid to pray an obligatory prayer (fard) behind a supererogatory prayer (nafl/sunna).

This way you would not be delaying making up prayers without a valid excuse.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


 

 

Can I Pray Asr at an Earlier Time Due to Work?

Shaykh Tabraze Azam answers a question related to performing the Asr prayer at an earlier time due to work commitments, according to the Hanafi school of thought.

 

Question:

Assalaam Alaykum
Respected shaykh(s), I have an issue in that I find it difficult to pray Asr at the later (predominant) Hanafi time due to work commitments (there is slight danger I could miss it altogether). May I therefore pray Asr at the earlier start time according to the fatwa of the Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammed Shaybani (as well as 3 great mujtahids of the other schools)? I would pray on my own and not in jamat unfortunately.
Also may I resort back to normal Hanafi Asr start times on days off or whenever it becomes easier to do so?

 


Answer:

Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, you may pray the mid-afternoon prayer (‘asr) at the earlier time. Deeming the prayer time to have entered at this earlier point is a sound and follow-able position in the Hanafi school.

Usually, it would be proper to follow the practice of your local community’s congregation. Failing that, you should try to pray at the later time as doing so is more religiously precautionary.

When neither is a reasonable option, you may pray at the earlier time. But you should be wary of using both times interchangeably as you can fall into laxity, and also lose something of the sanctity of the prayer time.

Nevertheless, even if you don’t make the early position your regular and consistent practice, it would be acceptable to follow it on occasions in which there is a need or benefit in doing so.

Please also see:https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/can-pray-asr-isha-earlier-time-country-times-followed/ and: https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/when-should-i-pray-asr-when-my-local-mosque-is-following-the-earlier-time/

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam, Tabraze Azam

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


 

When Do I Recite the Ta’awwudh in Prayer?

Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat advises when to recite the ta’awwudh in prayer, according to the Hanafi school of thought.

 

Question:

Salamu alaikum,

I am trying to bring my salah in line with Hanafi fiqh.

  1. Should I say ta’awudh (“I seek protection in Allah from shaytan, the accursed one.”) and bismillah after reciting surah al-fatiha and before reciting 3 verses (or more) of the quran in salah?
  2. Is this permissible or would it count as unnecessarily delaying a wajib?
  3. Should I simply say it once before surah al-fatiha and then after saying ‘ameen’ continue to recite 3 verses (or more) of the quran?
  4. Should I repeat the ta’awudh and bismillah for the surah al-fatiha of the second raka?
Jazakum Allah khairun

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykuk as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

The ta’awwudh should only be recited once, in the first unitbefore the basmala and the Fatiha. Repeating it, or reciting it elsewhere would contravene the sunna, and therefore be disliked.

After finishing the Fatiha, one says ‘Amin’, and then proceed to recite a at least three short verses, or one long verse of the Qurʾan. In the case where one is going to recite a full sura, such as sura al Karin it is good to repeat the basmala, though this is not a specific sura. (Ibn Abidin, Radd al Muhtar)

I pray that helps.

Abdul-Rahim

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Can I Prescribe Medication With Gelatin When a Less Efficacious Alternative is Available?

Shaykh Jamir Meah answers a question related to the permissibility of prescribing medication which contains gelatin.

 

Question:

Salaam,

I know it is haram to take medicine that has haram elements in it (like gelatin capsules) if there is a reasonable alternative (such as tablets). So as a muslim psychiatrist, many of our medicines have extended release formulations that have many advantages over the immediate release formulations. The immediate release formulations do not have gelatin capsules, and right now, that’s really their advantage. For example, effexor XR has a decreased risk of side effects including nausea and people only have to take it once a day, and this is why the immediate release tablets have fallen out of favor (though the IR tablets have no gelatin). The other thing is that compliance with psychiatric medications is found to be low, and once daily medications are more likely to have increased compliance as well. The other consideration is that extended release formulations have less risk of withdrawal syndromes (which are non-fatal but really really uncomfortable and can make you sick) compared to immediate release formulations.

Is it haram to prescribe XR on the basis of the issue of gelatin and I can only recommend IR to my patients (even if they are non-Muslim) as to avoid direct assistance in sin?

 

Answer:

Wa’alaykum assalam, thank you for your question.
Most scholars hold the position that gelatine from animals not Islamically slaughtered remains impure and is therefore unlawful. The exception for when it would permissible to take or prescribe impure gelatine is when:

1. It is known that the medicine will be effective

2. The medicine is needed

3. There is no permissible alternative reasonably available

4. The above has been established by a Muslim doctor who is at least outwardly upright or by previous experience.
[Mughni al Muhtaj]
In regards your specific question and field of work, if it is in fact true that the extended release (XR) formulation has numerous benefits over the immediate release (IR) drug, and the side effects are fewer, then it would seem that this would be a valid case for the permissibility of prescribing the slow release version. However, when prescribing to Muslims, you should inform them of the option and give them the choice.
Considerations

The above answer is according to the restrictions of the field you work in and the boundaries of conventional medicine. Another perspective to this is that natural alternatives do exist, are very effective, and carry no side effects. The side effects of conventional medicines such as the ones you have mentioned are disturbing. Furthermore, many patients also complain about the serious come downs associated with the XR formulations you mention compared to the IR formula, and this should be looked into further and taken into account.
Nevertheless, if what you have stated is indeed true in regards the two formulas, then you are only required to work within your own capacity and area of expertise, and based on that, it would be permissible for you to prescribe the XR version if the patient also chooses such a course of treatment. And Allah knows best.

Please also refer to the following answers:

Warmest salams,

Jamir
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is My Prayer Valid If I Recite Silently?

Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat answers a question related to the audibility of recitation in prayer, according to the Hanafi school of thought.

 

Question:

Assalamu alaikum,

I only recently learned that one must move their lips during recitation in prayer. Are all of my past prayers invalid?

Does that ruling also apply to duas made throughout the day? Or tasbih? Or istighfar? Do all of them have to be done with the lips moving?

Jazzakum Allah khair.

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakaruh

I pray you are well.

What is ‘Recitation’ in the Prayer?

According to the Hanafi jurists recitation in the prayer must be audible – meaning that one must move one’s tongue and produce sounds which one can hear. There is another position which deems moving one’s tongue to articulate the letters without producing a sound to be valid.

So, if you were just thinking the words in your head, I’m afraid the prayers were not valid, and they will have to be repeated. If you did say the words but they were inaudible, you can assume the validity of past prayers – but recite audibly from now on.

Allah commanded us to recite the Qur’an in the prayer – “…so recite that which is easy of the Qur’an” (73:20). Recitation is a form of speech, and inaudible words are not speech.

To summarize, in order for the recitation to be valid, one must move their mouth and recite loud enough to hear their own voice. If there is some background noise preventing one from hearing himself that’s fine as long as it’s loud enough to be heard by oneself if there are no other excessive sounds.

(Shurunbulali, Imdad al Fattah; Tahtawi, Hashiyat Maraqi al Falah).

Allah Does Not ‘Lose’ Anything

If it is the case that you have to repeat some prayers, please bear in mind that Allah sees, and knows all. All the effort made to pray those prayers, all the devotion, love, gratitude, and neediness you expressed, it was all seen by Allah. He will reward you for that.

In fact, it may be that the prayers you repeat are the means Allah loving you. We know from the famous hadith in Sahih al Bukhari – known as the Narration of Sainthood (hadith al wilaya) – that Allah states, “My servant does not draw closer to me with anything more beloved to Me than what I have obligated him to do; and my servant keeps drawing closer to me with voluntary worship right until I love him.” (Bukhari).

May Allah make us of those who He loves and is loved by in return. Amin

Abdul-Rahim

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


 

Does the Collection of Fluid Under One’s Skin Invalidate One’s Ablution?

Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat answers a question related to the discharge of fluid under one’s skin and its effect on ablution, according to the Hanafi school of thought. In addition, he clarifies what is meant by an external agent.

 

Question:

Assalamu alaikum,
I am slightly confused regarding what is meant by an external agent in http://seekershub.org/ans-blog/2014/07/21/wudu-and-flowing-filth/.
In my case I washed my feet in the sink and one of my toes had a patch of peeled skin, caused from wearing new shoes. By me walking normally and the normal pressures applied on the foot be considered an external agent i.e. considered similar to squeezing? The little liquid that did exit didn’t go beyond the peeled skin, but is it considered pure despite the above, and does anything need to be washed?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

The scenario you described above does not invalidate your wudu, and, because the liquid didn’t pass beyond the point of exit, your foot is deemed pure. Nothing needs to be washed.

The ‘agent’ referred to above would be anything which would make the blood/liquid exit and flow, such as squeezing.

The liquid is considered to have flowed if it exits and flows due to its own momentum. (Midani, al Lubab).

Don’t try to over-think it. The principle is simple. Remember, the Messenger of Allah said, “Indeed, the [practice of] the religion is ease itself, and no one makes the religion hard on themselves except that it overwhelms them.” (Bukhari).

I hope that helps.

Abdul-Rahim

 

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani