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banned such gatherings [Note: In certain places, governments are very slow to respond and their information out-of-date or underestimates owing to a lack of sufficient testing and resources.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

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


 

 

How to Be Consistent

Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat gives advice on how to overcome doubts about one’s faith, and to seek help against self-sabotage.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have a question about consistency in my ibada. Honestly, sometimes I feel like not being honest in them because I’m not consistent like in my prayers. I’ll pray for example my five daily prayers for six months and then suddenly stop even though a week ago I just felt like I “refreshed” my iman. I feel like a munafiq and I want to solve this problem by the root.

When I started to pray at the age of eleven, I did it consistently for one year then stopped then started again and so on. There must be something wrong. Now I’m trying again but still having difficulties. I don’t have this desire. I feel like I have to do this and don’t want it – thinking in my soul of being somewhere else when I pray. I’m at the end of choosing what to study in university and finishing school and therefore have a desire to return to Allah because I feel like I’m unsafe without Allah guiding me in making these decisions.

I’m praying istikhara and there is no feeling or any kind of thing I might interpret as a sign to choose option A or B. Therefore I am really feeling like a hypocrite Allah doesn’t care about. There are times I cry out of sadness about my situation but there is always a voice in my head telling me: “Stop crying! You’re just acting. Tomorrow you’ll do it again. Who do you think are you fooling?” And I sincerely believe this voice. Because I am weak.

I think this might be Shaytan or my self-doubt but still, I feel like a munafiq even though I make “tawba.” Something in my iman must be wrong something in the root of my din and I don’t know what it us or how to deal with it. I watched a lecture by Mufti Menk where a man had the same situation and said you are not making your tawba correctly, so what might I do wrong? Please help me I am hoping for an answer that could show me the real problem.

I reflected upon my sins and if I started a new sin that I didn”t do when I prayed but there wasn’t anything “new” or a change in number either. I don’t feel like a real Muslim because of my lack in my prayers. Somehow I can’t establish the importance of my prayers in my heart or mentally meaning there must be something wrong with my heart. What can I do? I visited lectures. I went and still go to the mosque. I have more friends practicing Islam than ever.

Did I maybe just pray when I was eleven because as a child my heart was cleaner? How can I clean my heart? How can I make sincere tawba? Did Allah already seal my heart? Am I already lost? May Allah protect scholars and Islamic websites like these they helped me a lot insha Allah. Allah will reward you for this crucial work.

May Allah protect you from all evil.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Therapy

It seems to me that you have unresolved emotional problems from your past which are affecting your understanding and practice of the din. Usually, a telltale sign on this is a repeated pattern of behavior which tends to resurface from time to time with no apparent reason. There are reasons, however; it’s just that they are not connected to the symptoms on a conscious level.

From your question it is very clear that you suffer from dysfunctional guilt. This sort of guilt leaves people unable to do anything positive. Usually guilt can lead one to repent and change, but in your situation it is overwhelming such that your repentance isn’t ‘good enough’.

Self-Sabotage

Very often, people with issues of this nature do certain things which eventually cause them further problems later. This is known as self-sabotage. It seems like your missing your prayers is of this nature. You pray, and when something triggers problematic emotions or memories, you miss your prayers. This then leads you to beating yourself up for missing the prayers and the guilt.

Voices in Your Head

If you are hearing voices in your head you need to seek professional help immediately. These matters are serious, and if left unchecked, can develop into worse conditions later on. Seek help, and tell your loved one and friends so they can support you through this trial. Don’t try to do it alone.

Ask Allah for Help

Allah sees your situation, and He knows what you are going through. Have a good opinion of Him; believe that Allah will bring the best results for you through this trial, and know that every difficulty the believer faces is a means for drawing closer to Allah, and for sins to be forgiven.

Ask Allah to strengthen you to deal with this trial – no matter how long it lasts. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, told us, “Whoever tries to be patient, Allah makes him patient. And no one has been given a gift better or wider [in its scope] than patience.” (Bukhari).

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 


 

 

 

Praying in Clothes with Dog’s Saliva on Them

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked if it is permissible to disregard dog saliva if the dog serves a useful function.

I read in one of your answers that if you work in a place where a dog may lick your clothes quite often it is allowed for a Hanafi person to follow the Maliki opinion on the matter and be able to pray.

I was wondering, if the dog licks a person on Monday and the person wears the same clothes to work on Tuesday but doesn’t get any saliva on his clothes on Tuesday, can he still pray in those clothes or is it essential that he should have worn clean clothes to begin with on Tuesday when coming to work for that rukhsa to be valid?

Insha Allah you get a chance to answer.

The basis is that it is acceptable to take a dispensatory ruling from another legal school (madhhab) if there is a hardship (haraj/mashaqqa), or a need (haja) or benefit (fa’ida) in doing so. This is on condition that you avoid impermissible talfiq, namely, joining between the positions of the legal schools in a manner which none would deem valid.

Thereafter, if there is actual difficulty in upholding the Hanafi position of the ritually filthy nature of the saliva of dogs, it would be permitted to follow another legal school on the issue, the details of which may be sought from its scholars. As for the applicability of the dispensation, it doesn’t have a time restriction as we are talking about a type of saliva affecting your clothing.

Please also see Dog Saliva, Dog Hair, and How to Purify Impurities, Can I Pray in Clothes that Were Licked by a Dog? and Why Is Mixing Between Madhabs (Talfiq) Impermissible When The Earlier Generations Seem To Have Done It?

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam
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Qibla Direction and Prayer Validity

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about coming to realize that one has given others the wrong qibla direction.

Question:

Insha Allah this finds you very well.

I wanted to ask about a situation related to the prayer validity and the qibla. Some months ago we had friends visit our home to which we had recently shifted. The guests needed to pray and when asked about the Qibla, by complete accident I told them the wrong direction, not even realizing my error until later on.

When I realized, though it was a mistake, I felt really bad, but I also realized, to my relief, that the direction I had told them, alhamduliLlah, was not completely off. (It was within the 45 degrees of the exact Qibla direction, to the best of my knowledge, that I had learned would not affect the validity of prayer.) And so I thought insha Allah, it’s nothing to worry about and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to alarm anyone either if it was not a problem.

I have been thinking about it now though and wondering if I did the right thing then? Where I live people do refer to Hanafi scholars but there is also a general confusion about whether or not to follow one madhab (people take other rulings as well), and I was thinking in that case should I have mentioned it?

May Allah reward and bless the SHG team, amin.

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

The basis is that you would give a guest the exact direction of the qibla. If you mistakenly gave a direction which was less than forty-five degrees away from the qibla, this would also suffice because the Hanafi school allows for such digression, with or without intent. 

In times of religious confusion and unclarity, if an act of worship is valid and acceptable according to one of the legal schools (madhahib), this is usually going to be sufficient for most. This is particularly the case when a certain community or people are effectively ascribed to a given school. 

Please also see Facing the General Direction of the Qibla When the Exact Direction is Known.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 

Sunna Prayers after Jumu‘a

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked about the number of sunna prayers after the Friday prayer.

I use this website very often and it has helped me a lot with my religious questions. Thank you to the SeekersHub team for doing this wonderful work.

I love Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and his team and whenever I want to know about a particular ruling, I try my best to find answers on this website and I am mostly successful.

I recently purchased a book written by Shaykh Faraz Fareed Rabbani entitled The Absolute Essentials of Islam. In there on page 42, Shaykh Faraz mentions that there are four rak‘as of confirmed sunna after Jumu‘a prayer.

My question: Historically I have been praying four rak‘as and then two rak‘as of sunna prayer after jumu‘a. I know there are Hanafi scholars who mention that this correct. However, in most other respects I follow the opinion of SeekersHub, so should I now only pray four rak‘as of sunna prayer after jumu‘a or should I continue praying four rak‘as plus two rak‘as?

P.S. My main concern when asking this question is to make sure that I am consistent. That is, I do make religion a play and out of many opinions out there, do not always choose the most easy option.

Looking forward to the answer.

Jazak Allah khayr.

I pray you are well.

Yes, many people all over the world, myself included, are greatly indebted to Shaykh Faraz and the team at SeekersHub for all the knowledge and benefit they have spread over the years. May Allah grant everyone involved the best of both worlds.

Perhaps you could translate this gratitude into action and help to raise funds for the Islamic Scholars Fund, through with many scholars all over the world are able to teach, help, and benefit the Muslims. Why not tell your loved ones about the benefit you have found at SeekersHub and encourage them to benefit by donating too?

The Friday Sunnas

The position found in the authoritative books on Hanafi jurisprudence, such as Radd al-Muhtar, al-Durr al-Mukhtar, Maraqi al-Falah,  and others, is that it is a sunna to pray four units before the obligatory units of the Friday prayer, and four units after. These are the emphasized sunnas for the Friday prayer.

There is another weaker position ascribed to Abu Yusuf, the student of Abu Hanifa, which indicates that one should pray six units – and not just four (Mawsili, al Ikhtiyar). Some scholars of the Indian subcontinent prefer to apply this position.

If you regularly pray these units keep doing so. See them as means of thanking Allah for His kindness and favors upon you. However, if someone does not pray them they cannot be criticized.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Are Prayers Repeated If Hair Is Showing?

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat clears up confusion about hair inadvertently showing during prayer.

I was praying dhuhr. I read four sunna, four fard, then two sunna. After the two sunna I realized some hair was visible. I am unsure at which part my hair became visible. I made sure to tie the scarf well before starting four sunna. So before the two sunna I tied my scarf again. And then when I read that at the end of prayer I realized some of my neck was see through but the pleats of the scarf didn’t allow my neck to show. Only when I stretched the scarf out did it show.

My question is do all of these rakats have to be read again? Do any of the four raka‘s need to be repeated? If yes, which ones?

I pray you are well.

No, none of the prayers need to be repeated. Stray hairs which show are excused. In any case, anything less than a quarter of your hair is considered a small amount, and the exposure of a small amount is excused – even if it is for a long time. (Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah).

If your scarf did not show any of your skin then it is fine, although it is better to use a scarf made of material which is completely opaque.

Use the moments of tying your scarf to ask Allah to cover and veil your own faults and sins, and those of all believers, and you’ll make this act another means of drawing closer to Allah. 

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Making up Missed Prayers

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers questions on whether making up missed prayers is obligatory.

I hope this finds you well. I have a question with regards to missed prayers.
From the age of 12-15 I never prayed. Between the ages of 16-17 I prayed twice a day. From 18 to now, sometimes I missed one prayer.

All of my missed prayers were out of neglect – no excuses. If I ever missed any prayer for valid reason, sickness, etc., I would pray qada. For the past couple months I have been making up five prayers a day for the previously neglected prayers.

My question is, for all these neglected prayers,do I have to make up for them? If so or if not, what is the evidence? I heard that majority of scholars say it is mandatory to make up for them, but I am still confused as to what the truth is

If you can provide some help, I would really appreciate it, sincerely.

Thank you. May Allah bless you.

According to the relied upon positions of the Four Schools, it is obligatory to make up any and all missed prayers.

The proof is that the five daily prayers are obligatory. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘“Whoever forgets a prayer or sleeps through it, the only expiation is to pray it when he remembers.” (Muslim) Intentionally missing it calls for making it up, a fortiori.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Doubts on the Validity of Prayer

Ustadh Salman Younas dispels misgivings on performing certain acts in prayer.

I’m one who frequently questions the validity of the prayer and genuinely questions whether I have committed a mistake. This has recently been magnified by my reading of that delaying a necessary act by the length of three tasbih is itself a wajib. Now I constantly question whether or not I have left too long a gap.

I used to take long pauses to reflect on prayer and now no longer do. This has been particularly problematic because I often make mistakes and/or stutter in my prayer and thereafter repeat the line, whether it be a takbirat or a verse, but now I am unsure if this would mean I am leaving this wajib.

Specifically: When performing Isha today in my third or fourth rak‘a when saying “Rabbana laka al-hamd,” I believe that I trailed off, failing to say the end. So I repeated “Rabbana laka al-hamd.” I then immediately went into sujood but then I questioned whether this would be classed as delaying the necessary act. Do I repeat the prayer?

A second question: I led my younger brother in prayer for maghrib, but I didn’t know then that the imam does not say “Rabbana laka al-hamd,” so I said it. Must this prayer be repeated?

You are suffering from waswasa, or baseless migivings. You must ignore these baseless misgivings otherwise you will find yourself in a situation where they will likely increase and make your life even more difficult.

You should ignore the three tasbih ruling. Even though scholars deemed it as wajib, leaving a wajib does not invalidate the prayer. There is no reason for you to focus on this minor wajib act to the point of constantly questioning whether you have contravened the ruling.

Further, this ruling of delaying a necessary act applies to completely finishing one act and then moving on to another. If you are still reciting, or correcting your recitation, etc., this is not counted as a “delay.”

Here, it should be pointed out that you are also suffering from baseless misgivings when it comes to recitation. Why the constant need to correct yourself? The rulings of recitation in the Hanafi school are extremely relaxed. “Trailing off” does not require repetition of the word, nor does it invalidate your prayer. The imam saying “Rabbana laka al-hamd” is also harmless. Stuttering does not require repetition either. Neither do common errors in tajwid. You should stop repeating your recitation for such mistakes.

It is extremely difficult to invalidate the prayer in the Hanafi school. My advice to you is pray a normal prayer and stop thinking too much and hyper-analyzing your prayer.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Saying the Final Salams in Prayer behind an Imam

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers doubts about saying the final salams behind an imam.

I have suffered from OCD in religious matters for over a year now. I used to repeat my salah and wudu due to confusion, doubts, etc., but I am getting better and your website has helped a lot. I am also receiving professional help for this. Recently, when I went for Friday prayer in congregation, I fell behind in the last sitting recitation and when imam said first salam, I was still reciting durood.

As a female, I couldn’t see the imam but I am guessing, I would have started saying my salams three seconds after he finished saying his. I am usually very anxious in the prayer about making a mistake and I got confused at that point between wajib and confirmed sunna. Later I realized that I have done something prohibitively disliked and I have repented to Allah for it.

I converted to Islam over 13 years ago and have only recently started going in congregation for jumu‘a with my husband. I know from your website that if you do something prohibitively disliked then you should repeat prayer within its time and it’s recommended to repeat the prayer after its time.

I would like to do what is recommended but I am not sure whether it’s waswas from shaytan as I have repeated salahs in the past which I know now that I should not have. If I repeat it, do I pray two rakas as in jumu‘a or four as in dhuhr?

Also, once I and my husband were praying together in the house while he was the imam and I said salam by mistake just before he said it. I don’t remember at all which salah it was. What should I do in that case?

Jazak Allah khayr.

I pray you are well.

You do not need to repeat any of these prayers. Please take a course on the rulings of purity and prayer. Learning with a skilled and experienced teacher will go a long way in helping you deal with OCD issues related to the prayer.

What occasionally happens to people with OCD is that they give excessive importance to certain details when learning by themselves, or with some someone who is not experienced. Sound knowledge is an essential step towards recovery, as the intense urges to do something can be dismissed much more easily when one knows how it should be done properly.

The Closing Salam

The dominant position in the school is that you say the closing salam at the same time as the imam. There is another position which states that it is done once the imam has concluded his.

The detail you mentioned about repeating the prayer only applies if someone deliberately did something disliked in the prayer – not if it was done by accident. Based on this we have three scenarios for the final salam:

  1. Saying the salam before the imam. This is excused, as any mistakes behind the imam are compensated for by his presence.
  2. Saying the salam at the same time as him. This is the proper way to end the prayer. If, however, one joined late and has units to make up, then this salam would require a sujud of forgetfulness to compensate. If you started your prayer at the same time as the imam there is no issue here at all.
  3. Saying the Salam after the imam. This is a valid position, and doing such a thing would not have a consequence on the prayer. The same detail for the latecomer applies here too.

As a general rule, if you have not finished the tashahhud when the imam says the salam, finish it and end your prayer, even if it takes a bit longer. If you have finished your tashahhud, say the salam with the imam. (Ibn Abidin, Radd al Muhtar)

This is an area where people frequently get confused. Don’t worry about it. Keep going with your treatment, take the course, and ask Allah for relief.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.