AUTHOR: Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah
March 16, 2020
The Fiqh Council of North America is recommending the following:
1: Elderly adults, mothers with small children, children and individuals with symptoms of disease shall stop coming to mosques for daily as well as Friday prayers. Instead of Juma’ they shall do Dhuhr prayer at home.
2: People with serious health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart and blood pressure problems shall also stay home and not attend the daily or Friday prayers. Genuine fear of contracting virus is a valid Sharai’ reason to miss the congregational prayer.
3: Mosques shall follow the guidelines of local authorities and reduce traffic/gatherings at mosques. All non-essential programs shall be cancelled. Unless they can move the class to an online platform.
4: In cities where public gatherings are allowed, Friday crowd shall be curtailed, controlled and dispersed soon after the Fard prayer. Khutbahs and prayers shall be shortened. People shall do their Sunnah and Nafl (supplementary prayers) at home. Combining Dhuhr with Asr and Maghrib with Isha is permissible to limit crowds during these trying times.
5: Mosques can be closed for daily or weekly congregational prayers based upon local authorities’ advisory. The closure will depend upon local mosque leadership’s assessment of credible threat of pandemic. Such a drastic step is permissible to avert dangers of widespread transmission. Historically speaking, the mosques were closed and Juma’ was suspended due to pandemic of A’mawa’s in Syria during the time of second caliph Umar (RA), during Crusades and on many other occasions when the conditions were not congenial.
6. Under the current circumstances, the Sharia permits people to perform Jummah prayer in their residence with a minimum number of 3 persons.
The guidelines will be regularly updated in the future, consequent to any changes on the ground.
May Allah SWT protect us all and accept us all.