Saturday, March 14, 2020

Coronavirus spread: Should we pray at mosques or home?

  Pakrush Admin       Saturday, March 14, 2020
With Coronavirus (covid-19) disease having found its way into several countries causing worry, the boards and governing bodies of some mosques (masjid) in Muslim and non-Muslim countries are imposing rules and guidelines for worshipers as precautionary measures.

The concerns and fear is obvious and this causes many Muslims to wonder how they should deal with the question of whether or not to attend prayers at mosques. Some scholars have spoken on the issue, giving helpful guidelines from both medical and Islamic perspective.

Adults with symptoms

The American Muslim Jurist Association (AMJA) released a statement regarding the Coronavirus that revolves around a number of points.
People who may have been exposed to the virus and those 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. AMJA declaration


Hadith supporting the decision

Although it's not permissible to skip congregational prayers under normal conditions, scholars and experts in fiqh at AMJA assert that persons having symptoms of Coronavirus should not go to mosque, citing a popular hadith that sheds light on how Islam aims to nurture human behavior that protects the rights of others. 

Prophet Mohammad said:
He who eats of this plant (garlic) should not come near our masjid and should not bother us with the odor of garlic. Sahi Muslim (The book of prayer)
Keeping in the mind the seriousness of the outbreak and the initiatives being taken by the authorities in the US and many other Coronavirus-hit countries, renowned American Scholar Yasir Qadhi also explained why following instructions from the boards of masaajid and Islamic centers is important.


"Think rationally, not emotionally," Yasir Qadhi

"This is a special message to the people of our congregation in particular and all those masaajid whose boards, and whose communities have decided to suspend jummah (Friday prayer) and all of the congregational prayers. Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, realize that during this time of great crisis, tensions running all-time high, and our shariah requests, and our shariah demands all of us to think rationally, and not emotionally."

What does the text of Shariah say

"The texts of the sharia are very clear. It is true that the masaajid, generally speaking, it is fard kifayah for the community to be praying five times a day, and it is fard al ayn on the Muslim to pray Jummah -- the Muslim adult male who does not have a valid excuse to pray Jummah. This is the default. At the same time, every single ruling in the Shariah, pretty much without exception, there are situations and circumstances where the ruling does not apply."

Exceptional circumstances

"In other words, as is the case in every system, for every rule there are exceptional circumstances, and our scholars have mentioned that plagues are one of those situations in which definitely reasonable measures can be taken."

How Prophet Mohammad SAW responded to a leper

"In fact, it is authentically reported that our Prophet SAW heard that one of the delegations that had come to give the oath of allegiance to Him (SAW), that one of those people was afflicted with leprosy. And the Prophet SAW announced that 'go tell that person, don't give the oath of allegiance to me, rather go back and I accept his oath from afar, he doesn't have to come to the city. 
"And of course we can assume from this that the person afflicted with leprosy was on the way to the city of Medina and before he got there, so his colleagues then came and told the Prophet SAW. He SAW said 'look, tell him (the leper) that we accepted his oath. He can go back.' And this is a man who essentially was coming to become a Sahabi (companion of Prophet SAW). He is coming to visit the city of Medina and put his hand in the hand of the Prophet SAW, but leprosy of course is a disease that transfers from person to person, and that's why in another hadith our Prophet SAW told us that 'run away from person who's a leper the way you run away from a lion.'"

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