Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Juristic Rulings on Congregational Prayer Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

By Editorial Staff

The spread of the novel coronavirus (covid-19) has affected people’s lives worldwide. In their attempt to limit the spread of the virus, governments are banning public gatherings. The outbreak of the virus has led to the suspension of congregational prayer including the Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) at mosques in most countries.

However, family members still have the opportunity to perform prayer in congregation at home. This article will address this recent juristic issue.

“The congregational prayer is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.”

The General Ruling on Congregational Prayer

Scholars have divergent opinions regarding the legal ruling of congregational prayer. It is highly recommend according to the majority of the shafi’i and maliki scholars. On the other hand, the hanbali scholars hold the opinion that it is compulsory. The following hadith may serve as evidence for the first opinion.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “The congregational prayer is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

As for the second opinion, there is evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah to support it. Allah says,

…and you shall bow (to God in Prayer) along with those who bow (to Him). (Quran 2:43)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

A blind man came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have no one to guide me to the mosque”. He, therefore, sought his permission to perform Salah (prayer) in his house. He (ﷺ) granted him permission. When the man turned away, he called him back, and said, “Do you hear the Adhan (call to prayer)?” He replied in the affirmative. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) then commanded him to respond to it. (Muslim)

Suspension of Congregational Prayer during the Pandemic

Today, there is an exceptional situation which requires a new legal ruling. Since covid-19 is highly contagious, it is allowed to suspend congregational acts of worship especially prayer.

In fact, scholars have mentioned a good number of legal excuses that allow a person not to perform prayer at the mosque. The fear that harm can befall oneself, one’s property or one’s honor is one of these excuses. This includes the fear to contract covid-19 or pass it to others. In this situation the fear has prevailed. So, it is right to suspend the congregational prayer at mosques. Narrated Hudhaifa:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to us), “List the names of those people who have announced that they are Muslims.” So, we listed one thousand and five hundred men. Then we wondered, “Should we be afraid (of infidels) although we are one thousand and five hundred in number?” No doubt, we witnessed ourselves being afflicted with such bad trials that one would have to offer the prayer alone in fear. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In addition, the general juristic rule is that the repelling of harm takes presence over the procurement of good.

There are a few countries where people can still perform prayer at mosques. They have taken different precautions to contain the spread of the virus. Although people can attend the congregational prayer at mosques, everyone must keep a space between himself and the person next to him. Other precautions include avoiding shaking hands, using private prayer mat, allowing a few number to attend, etc. If covid-19 did not spread easily in closed spaces, such measures might be a good solution.

How to Perform Congregational Prayer at Home?

If you live in a country where the congregational prayers are suspended, you can perform them with your family members. In this way, you can get the reward of performing prayers in congregation.

As for the Jumu’ah prayer, there is a substitute for it i.e. the Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer. The preferred opinion is that Jumu’ah may not be performed at home.

Besides, you may not follow the imam in prayer through broadcast while you are at home. This is by no means in accordance with the prerequisites of congregational prayer.

Who may be the imam?

According to the majority of scholars, youngsters may lead the prayer in presence of the older family members. This is especially recommended if youngsters are more knowledgeable about recitation of the Quran and the rulings of prayer. If the older members are more knowledgeable, it is better that they lead the prayer.

A male person can lead both men and women. On the other hand, a female person may lead only females.

 

 

 

In case there is a father and a son, one of them can lead the prayer with the other following him while standing next to him on his right side.

Second, if the family members are three or more males, one of them can be the imam while the others standing behind him in a row.

Third, the family members may be one male and one female such as husband and a wife, a son and his mother, a father and his daughter, etc. Here, the male must be the imam and the female follows him in prayer while standing behind him.

Fourth, in case there are two males and one female, one of the two males may be the imam and the other male stands next to him on his right side. As for the female, she stands behind the imam.

Fifth, if there are three or more males and one female or more, one of the males can lead the prayer. The other two or more males stand behind him in a row. Then, the female stands behind the row alone. In case there are two or more females, they stand in a row behind the row/rows of the males.

Sixth, the family members may all be females. In this case one of them can lead the prayer. The more knowledgeable one in this regard is the best. However, according to the majority of scholars, the female imam stands in the middle of the first row among other women and girls.

Soucre Link
Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

The Islamic Guidance to Deal with Coronavirus COVID-19

By Kamal Amara
Councilor of Imams in Europe

Schools have been closed, sports events have been cancelled and religious and cultural institutions shut down around the world as countries try to stem the Coronavirus outbreak.

The virus has dramatically spread across Europe. In Italy, the situation was more serious and the authorities were obliged to put strict measures across the entire country to limit the infection.

This crisis has challenged European Muslim communities and raised many questions that require answers and clarification.

Those who get infected with the virus should follow and accept the safety regulations and should be patient and ask Allah(SWT) for full recovery and also be sure that patience is greatly rewarded during sickness and times of distress.

1. The basic obligations for Muslims (institutions and individuals) in the countries affected by the epidemic:

✓ It’s an Islamic obligation and civil responsibility for us to follow the instructions and guidelines of the authorities presiding over the effected countries, whether it’s in our private lives or in the Mosques and Islamic cultural centers.

✓ To be patient and work for the common good, especially Muslims who work in the health and service sectors, following the message of the Hadith: “The best among you are those who bring greatest benefits to many others” Prophet Mohammed(PBUH)

✓ Muslim researchers and scientists should unite and put their best efforts forward to come up with a vaccination against this virus as soon as possible . It is a part of Islamic teaching to believe that Allah(SWT) has created a cure for every disease, hence diligence is needed in this matter.

✓ To Avoid rumors and spreading false news and information. Muslim should try to give hope and spread positivity because everything that may happen is by Allah the Almighty’s will and decree.

✓ To take the necessary precautions and educate ourselves about this matter in detail without panicking.

*Those who get infected with the virus should follow and accept the safety regulations and should be patient and ask Allah(SWT) for full recovery and also be sure that patience is greatly rewarded during sickness and times of distress.

2. The Islamic view regarding the cancellation of Friday prayers and daily prayers in mosques:

Individuals who suspect being infected are obliged to stay away from mosques and all other crowded gatherings until they are examined and ensured that they are not infected. Doing otherwise is considered a harmful and sinful act in Islam.

Islam forbids self-harm and bringing harm to others. Furthermore Islamic rules were very sensible in the matters of respect to other to the point that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) requested from his Companions to avoid going to the mosque after eating garlic as to not bother other worshipers with its odor.
If you follow these general guidelines, it will be clearly a priority to not go to the mosque in case of an infectious virus harming others.

3. Can we leave the countries that are affected by the virus to avoid infection?

It is not allowed to leave the country in which the virus has spread for the sake of self-protection. According to the Hadith, “If you found out about it in a country, you do not enter that country, and if it hits the country you’re in, then do not leave it anymore”

If leaving, the country or region infected, has justifications other than escaping the disease and is approved by health authorities, then it is Islamically unobjectionable.

4. Can we enter countries where the virus has spread?

The simple answer is no following the guidelines of the aforementioned Hadith. In exceptional cases, such as helping authorities with efforts to contain the disease, then entrance would be permitted.

5. What borders should be considered when entering or leaving an infected area?

The official borders set out by authorities of the given country are the ones that should be observed and respected. If this such official borders are contested, then the geographical borders are to be considered, otherwise the borders known by the locals are taken into account.

6. Is it permitted to interrupt Friday and common prayers in the mosques because of the epidemic?

Human preservation is respected as one of the primary goals of Islamic jurisprudence and therefore If strong evidence is presented showing that the epidemic will spread faster through big gatherings like Friday prayers and common prayers, then these communal prayers should be canceled until the country recovers from the epidemic and the emergency status is lifted.

Islamic Council of Fatwa in Europe have already issued a corresponding press release in this regard.

7. Can the Hajj and Ummrah be canceled due to the Coronavirus?

If Muslim doctors have decided that the gathering of pilgrims will cause the virus to spread faster and pose a risk to pilgrims, the pilgrimage and Ummrah may be canceled until the danger is over and the virus has been fully eradicated.

Allah(SWT) says in the Quran:

Do not throw ( yourselves) with your ( own) hands into destruction ( by refraining). And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. (Surat Albaqara: 195)

There are also Hadiths, mentioned above, in which the Prophet (PBUH) forbade Muslims from entering a land in which the plague is occurring and leaving a land in which the plague is happening.

Al-Bukhari (5739) and Muslim (2219) narrated from ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf (RA) that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “If you hear that it (the plague) is in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a land where you are, do not leave, fleeing from it.”

8. What is the Islamic ruling regarding the quarantine at home or in certain designated locations?

Islam encourages and supports those in charge to take all necessary measures that seem sensible to avoid contagion among people and to contain the epidemic as justified in the hadith mentioned earlier.

9. Regarding the washing of a Coronavirus infected dead body.

Washing the dead body is the first essential step before shrouding and burying in Islam. It is a collective obligation to wash the body which means that if some people attend to it or do it, then the rest are excused.

However, if there is a risk of contagion from touching the body of the deceased, then rubbing part of the wash is excluded and instead one can simple pour an ample amount of water on the body without touching it.

If washing with water does not seem possible, then Tayammum will suffice ( to clean body parts with dry sand or earth, without using water).
If there is any risk from being in close proximity to the dead body, then it is recommended to proceed with the funeral prayers without any washing, which would be the safest option for the people around the deceased in such a scenario.

In the Holy Quran, Surat Al Baqara, Ayah 185, the approximate translation reads:

“… Allah wants relief for you; He does not want any difficulty for you … “

“Therefore fear Allah as far as you can …” (Surat Al-Taghabun:16)

10. Islamic guidelines in dealing with epidemic and protection procedures:

Islam values public health by placing very detailed measures to avoid diseases and to protect humanity from any imbalances that affect the Allah’s perfect creation.

for instance, Islamic law is considered as one of the most organised and detailed in the rulings that deal with the use of livestock. While it details the various possibilities of benefitting from animals and puts specific regulations for that, It forbids eating some animal meats. It also places strict regulations to protect the public health of people while preserving the rights of animals. Caring for animals, gentle handling of animals during slaughter, and consumption of permitted animal meat are some example of these sensible guidelines.

Islam allows good things and forbids bad ones

In the Holy Quran, Allah(SWT) says (the approximate translation reads) :

“Who follow the Messenger, the prophet with no writing, whom they find written down in the Torah and in the Gospel. He commands them the right and forbids them the reprehensible, he allows them the good things and forbids them the bad, and he takes away their burden and the bonds that were on them. …. “ (Surah Al-Araf : 157)

Also: in the Quran (the approximate translation reads) :

“I find nothing in what was given to me (as revelation) that would be forbidden for the eating to eat, unless it is dead or poured out blood or pork – because that’s an abomination – or an outrage about what other (name) than Allah (s) has been called. But whoever is in a predicament without desiring or exceeding the measure – your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful” (Surah Al-An’am: 145)

In similar verses of the Holy Quran, the approximate translation reads:

“You are forbidden (to enjoy) those who have died, blood, pork and what has been called (name) other than Allah (s), and (to enjoy) suffocated, slain, fallen or thrown, and what has been torn from a wild animal – besides what you slaughter – and (forbidden to you) what has been slaughtered on a sacrificial stone and to be released with arrows .. “ (Surah Al-Ma’ida:3)

In other Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advises us believers not to leave our pots open with food, but to cover them.

The Importance of Personal Hygiene

Islam also emphasises the important role of personal hygiene and made a regular ritual and condition for prayer. Also, clean clothes and pleasant smell as well as good habits in everyday life were repeatedly mentioned in many hadiths of the Messenger of Allah.

In the Holy Quran,the rough translation reads:

“And your garments, purify, and the (impurity of) idol (service), avoid,” (Surat al-Muddaththir: 4-5)

Islam has Also forbidden intimate relationships outside of marriage because it has been proven that it is a source for the spread of contagious diseases in addition to their catastrophic affects on the social fabric of society.

Islam also prohibits abnormal sexual inclinations that contradict human nature.

Islamic precautions regulate and protect societies from illnesses and social conflicts and turmoil. In the event of an epidemic, it starts with people’s mental preparation for the situation right through to meeting appropriate protective measures and handling in the event of infection and finally finding a Vaccination for healing.

Finally..

In view of the fact that the virus differs in its spread and its danger in different countries, the top priority for mosques, board members, and imams is to cooperate with the local health authorities and to support them in the virus containment and disease prevention procedures, as they are more able to assess the overall situation and take appropriate measures accordingly.

May Allah the Almighty protect all of us, heal those who are in pain and have mercy on our dead. Amin!

 

 

Soucre Link
Categories
FEATURED New Muslims

Coronavirus – an Islamic Perspective

Allah has blessed us with a religion that is complete and perfect for all times and places.  Allah tells us in the Qur’ān:

“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as your religion” (Quran 5:3)

Whatever problem or issue a Muslim is facing, he returns back to Allah and his Messenger for guidance; there is nothing that happens in the life of a Muslim except that his religion has a solution to it.

The coronavirus is a reminder to us all of our weak state. Regardless of our social standing and our financial position, we are helpless.

We recently heard about the coronavirus which is spreading to a number of countries, affecting the lives of many people, causing death to others.

There are a number of thoughts that should cross the mind of a Muslim when they hear something like this. Below are some points that a person must remember and internalise when they see or hear of such incidents:

Trials and tribulations

Trials and tribulations are part of life, this is something that Allah informs us of and warns us so that when we are afflicted, we remember that it is ultimately Allah who controls of our affairs. It is He who will provide help and His knowledge of our affairs surpasses our restricted intellect. As He says in the Qur’an:

“Do you think you that you will enter Paradise without such [trials] as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When [will] the Help of Allah [come]?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” (Quran 2:214)

Allah sends us tests to see how we will react and handle them. How are we going to respond? When you hear the news that your umrah trip is cancelled because of this virus, how will you respond? When you hear your flights have been cancelled, your loved ones have fallen ill, how will you respond?

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Quran 2:155)

 So how do we respond to a calamity? Allah tells us immediately after the previous āyah:

“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.’” (Quran 2:156)

A Muslim is patient in trials; he knows Allah will never forsake him, nor will Allah burden him with a trial that is more than what he can handle.

This is not something new

Illnesses and viruses such as the coronavirus are not something new, nor is the fact that people are afflicted with illnesses.

The companions once asked the Prophet (peace be upon him):

“Oh Messenger of Allah, who from amongst the people were tested the most? The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded and said, the Prophets, then the next best and then the next best.”

We see the great Prophet of Allah, Ayyūb (peace be upon him),اwas tested with a great illness.  His story is synonymous with patience. He lost everything; his family, wealth, and health. Some narrations say he was bedridden for 18 years, tested with a great illness, yet we find he did not give up hope in Allah and turned to him in this great trial.

Allah tells us his story in the Qur’an:

And Ayyūb, when he called to his Lord, saying ‘Harm has inflicted me and You are the Most Merciful” (Quran 21:83)

“So We answered him and removed his affliction and We gave him his family and the like of them with them, as a mercy from Us and a reminder to Worshippers.” (Quran 21:84)

The story of Prophet Ayyūb (peace be upon him) is one filled with lessons for us to ponder over. The virtue of patience is shown to us in the Prophet Ayyūb (ʿalayhi al-Salām) through some of the most dire situations that one can come across in life.

Qadar

The concept of pre-destination is extremely important for a Muslim to understand.  When incidents such as the coronavirus occur, a Muslim should know that this is what Allah had decreed 50,000 years before the creation of the universe. The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained:

“Allah had written the ordained measures (and due proportions) of the creation, fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth…” (Muslim)

All good and bad is from Allah, as is mentioned in the Hadeeth of Jabir: ‘No slave of Allah will truly believe until he believes in al-Qadr; its good and bad from Allāh, and until he knows that what has befallen him was not going to miss him and that what missed him was not going to befallen him.’ (Al-Tirmidhi)

Allah will never harm us nor does he want evil to befall us. We may think something is bad for us due to our restricted view of life, but there is always good in a situation. Allah tells us that perhaps you hate a thing but it is in fact good for you, and perhaps you love a thing when in reality and it is bad for you, yet Allah knows while you know not!

A believer has two positions when it comes to pre-destination: one is before the situation occurs, and one is after. Before the situation he seeks help from Allah, makes dua to him, and relies upon him; he asks Allah for good to come from it.

After the situation, if the result was positive and good the person thanks Allah.  If the event had a negative outcome the person is patient because he knows that Allah will never forsake him even if it seems the result is negative, because indeed Allah is the best of planners.

Taking necessary precautions

A Muslim should not overreact; at the same time he should not be oblivious about a situation and do nothing!

Taking the necessary means and then relying upon Allah is something which is emphasised in Islam.

“One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, ‘Why don’t you tie down your camel?’ The Bedouin answered, ‘I put my trust in Allah ’ The Prophet then said, ‘Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah ’ (Al-Tirmidhi)

We also find in the incident of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) taking necessary precautions is a must when you know of a harm or potential danger that could afflict you.

Umar ibn al-Khattab was traveling with a group of companions during his reign. They approached a town in which it was said had a contagious/infectious disease. Umar asked his group whether they should proceed or return (to Madinah). The majority of the companions said they should go back but some said they should proceed. Then one companion said he knew a hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If you hear that this disease (plague) exists in a country, do not travel to that country.” So Umar decided that they should go back. Another companion asked him whether he was running away from qadar. Umar replied that they were moving away from one qadar to another qadar.

Whenever there is a problem, a challenge, or any hardship which we can remove, overcome, solve, or minimise, we must do so.

Many of the health guidelines given by the NHS are in fact normal practices for Muslims, some of which are as follows:

1. Washing hands: this is a part of ablution, a Muslim’s daily ritual of purity.

2. General cleanliness

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Cleanliness is part of faith” (Muslim)

Keeping our surroundings tidy, cleaning up after ourselves, and wiping surfaces down are all aspects of cleanliness which must be adhered to in these situations.

3. Covering your mouth when sneezing

The Prophet would cover his mouth when he sneezed. This basic etiquette can take big part in the stopping of the spread of viruses

“Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sneezed, he would cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)

4. Quarantine in times of viruses which can spread.

The Prophet gave instructions on what to do if there is an outbreak. Abd al-Rahmān ibn ‘Awf  that he said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “If you hear that it (the plague) is in a land, do not go there, and if it breaks out in a land where you are, do not leave, fleeing from it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also taught us how to protect ourselves by maintaining our adhkar from the Sunnah. One such dua that he taught us was:

“In the name of Allah with Whose name nothing can harm on earth or in heaven, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Being positive and having an optimistic outlook

Always have a positive outlook regardless of the situation you’re in, this is what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us, when he told us

Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affairs are good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him.” (Muslim)

He also said:

“There are no omens, but the best of it is optimism” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

When we look through the seerah we find many examples of the Prophet (peace be upon him) being optimistic event though he was in a dire situation.

We should also not blame others or ridicule them because they are from a certain country or they have come from a part of the world that has been affected by the virus. Unfortunately, we have seen physical attacks on people, racist remarks made, and people making a joke and mocking the situation people are in.

Conclusion

The coronavirus is a reminder to us all of our weak state. Regardless of our social standing and our financial position, we are helpless. Allah says:

“Mankind was created weak” (Quran 4:28)

Situations like this remind us to turn back to Allah.  Allah controls everything and he is the one that can relieve us from our difficulties, we must return to Allah and seek refuge in him and ask his protection.


Source: www.islam21c.com with some modifications

 

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

AMJA Declaration Regarding Coronavirus and Congregational Prayer

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the new coronavirus could spread worldwide. More and more countries are banning major public events to try to limit the spread of the virus. Last Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the country to perform ‘Umrah (the Lesser Pilgrimage).

On the other hand, many Muslims are asking about congregational prayer. Is it allowed to suspend the congregational  prayers in Masjids? Here is AMJA Declaration Regarding this issue.

People with symptoms of the disease (which are like those of flu) should avoid coming to the masjids if they suspect that they may be infected until they check with their healthcare providers and ensure they are not.

All Praise Be to Allah, and May His Blessings and Peace Be on the Messenger of Allah,

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA) received several inquiries regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the proper response by the masjids and individual Muslims. In response, AMJA issued the following statement:

First: concerning the managements of the Islamic centers

It is not permissible for the masjids and Islamic centers to suspend the congregational prayers and jumuah because of the spread of the virus in the United States, unless the local public health authorities in a particular city advise the suspension of services at the houses of worship and avoidance of large public gatherings. In the event of that development, the masjid managements should comply with such instructions. This would be a sufficient excuse to pray jumuah at home (as dhuhr) until the restriction is removed.

It is permissible for the masjid managements to demand those with flu symptoms to wear masks during the congregational prayers. It is also permissible to assign a room for them or a designated area in the prayer hall, and to advise them to avoid handshaking with the other worshippers and follow the proper precautions to prevent the transmission of the disease.

The masjid managements should follow the updates that are periodically issued by the public health agencies like CDC and comply with their instructions.

Second: concerning the Muslim public

The permissibility of missing jumuah and congregational prayers out of fear of the disease depends on several variables. As for the daily congregational prayers, the matter is simpler since they are not obligatory according to the majority. The majority of those who considered them obligatory did not demand their performance at a masjid. As for the jumuah, it is not permissible for adult men who are otherwise required to attend it to miss it except in the case of justifiable, not conjectural, fear. What matters in this regard is the instructions of the public health authorities. If they advise the avoidance of all public gatherings, then the epidemic has reached a level making that fear justifiable. As for the higher risk groups, such as old people and those with chronic disease, they should follow the advice of their primary healthcare providers. They are most entitled to concessions.

People with symptoms of the disease (which are like those of flu) should avoid coming to the masjids if they suspect that they may be infected until they check with their healthcare providers and ensure they are not. This is because the harm of spreading this virus is much greater than that of bothering the people with the odor of garlic; and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “He who eats of this plant (garlic) should not come near our masjid and should not bother us with the odor of garlic.”

We ask Allah for safety and wellbeing for ourselves and all people.

AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee


Source: amjaonline.org

Soucre Link