بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على سيّدنا رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه ومن تبع هداه
In the name of Allah. All praise and thanks are due to Allah. O Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad more and more and shower him with more blessings along with his household, companions and all of those who follow his guidance.
Say, “Nothing will ever befall us except what God has destined for us. He is our Protector.” So in God let the believers put their trust.
Meanings of the Holy Qur’an 9:51
.روى الإمام أحمد من حديث أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ: فِرَّ مِنْ الْمَجْذُومِ فِرَارَكَ مِنْ الْأَسَدِ
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “Run away from a leper (or any person with an infectious disease) as you would run away from a lion”. Musnad Ahmad
From the blessed Holy texts above we can derive the golden rule to deal with the extraordinary circumstances we are facing today: Trust in God, and yet take all necessary precautions.
Almighty Allah controls everything. Nothing can happen except if Almighty Allah allows it to happen. There is always a wisdom or a reason behind what happens, but sometimes we as humans fail to realize it. This is why a Muslim should always submit to the Will of Allah ta’aala, and that is what a “Muslim” means. This belief should give us comfort and tranquility.
Keeping this belief in mind, Islam requires that we take all necessary precautions to protect ourselves and others. The great tradition of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) include a lot of the examples that guide us in these trying times.
إذا سمعتم بالطاعون بأرض فلا تدخلوها وإذا وقع بأرض وأنتم بها فلا تخرجوا منها
“If you hear that a 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.” Sahih Al-Bukhari.
He ﷺ said this 1400 years ago! That is what we know today as quarantine. Any disease that is similar obviously takes the same rulings.
Islam puts the preservation of the human life as a priority above everything else including the religious rituals. Islam also makes it clear that there is no burden or difficulty in applying the religious obligations as Almighty Allah said:
“…He has not laid on you any hardship (or burden) in the observance of your faith…” 22:78 meanings of the Holy Qur’an
Based on the above and other agreed-upon principles, we find so many exceptions and accommodations in practicing the religious obligations such as permitting a sick person to skip fasting and use dry ablution if necessary.
Another example is what we are facing during this time of the spread of the Corona virus in regard with the issue of the congregational prayers.
In the Hanafi school, the legally sounder opinion, as explained by Ibn Abidin in his Radd al-Muhtar (Main Hanafi reference), is that the command for able men to pray in congregation is fulfilled by any congregation one prays in, even outside the mosque. This would (even) include praying in congregation leading one’s wife. [ibid.]
At the same time, Ibn Abidin points out that doing so (in normal circumstances) does not have the same reward as praying at the mosque
Furthermore, Imam Ibn Abidin mentions around 20 valid excuses for skipping the congregational prayer such as the case of a heavy rain, intense mud, sickness and fear (this includes fear for his possessions and fear for himself from an enemy, an oppressor. This excuse should apply, with greater reason, to our situation where the fear of the virus and its deadly effects is prevalent).
This ruling applies to all of the congregational prayers including the Friday prayer.
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said to his mu’aththin (caller of prayer) on a rainy day, “After you say, ‘I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,’ do not say, ‘Come to the prayer,’ but say, ‘Pray at your homes.’ He said: “It appeared as if some people didn’t like that!” So he said: “Are you surprised at my position? This was done by the one who is better than me (he meant the prophet ﷺ)…” Albukhari and Muslim.
Almighty Allah is the Most Generous. He treats us based on our intentions.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “For a traveling or sick person, his deeds will be recorded in accordance with what he used to do when he was resident or well.” Al-Bukhari.
Likewise, If you have a valid excuse for not performing your prayer in congregation, you will still get the full reward. Alhamdulillah!
Imam Ash-Shurunbulali (main Hanafi authority) in His Imdad Alfattah says: “if a person skips the congregational prayer for an excuse, he will have the reward as long as he had the intention to attend. He should then hold a congregational prayer with his family”
So in the case of not being able to fulfill the Friday prayer in the masjid, we are supposed to prayer Thuhr at home instead.
Our beloved Prophet ﷺ says: “The whole earth (land) has been made a place of prayer for us…” Sahih Muslim
In such trying times our Holy texts urge us to turn to Almighty Allah in repentance, prayer and supplication. We should utilize this time in joining our families in increasing our connection with our Creator through the various acts of worship such as reciting the Holy Qur’an and reflecting on its meanings, performing the daily prayers together, Thikr, sending salawat (duroud) to our beloved Prophet ﷺ , educating ourselves through the reliable online sources, etc. We should also remember that taking care of one another, especially taking care of the most vulnerable is a great act of worship as well.
I would like to finish with a great hadeeth from our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) that brings very happy news for those who act upon it in these trying times.
“ فَلَيْسَ مِنْ عَبْدٍ يَقَعُ الطَّاعُونُ، فَيَمْكُثُ فِي بَلَدِهِ صَابِرًا، يَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ لَنْ يُصِيبَهُ إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَهُ، إِلَّا كَانَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِ الشَّهِيدِ»
“…and no person remains in his/her town, during the plague ( and any similar pandemics), showing patience, knowing that nothing will aflict them except what Allah has decreed for them, except that they will get the reward of a martyr.” Sahih Al-Bukhari
Imam Ibn Hajar in his Fathul Bari mentions that this means a person who meets these conditions will get the reward of a martyr even if he does not die because of that disease.
We pray to Almighty Allah to lift this disease and all harm. We pray to Him to never disconnect our hearts from Him. We pray to Him to have mercy on our brothers and sisters who passed away and to grant speedy recovery to those who are sick. Amen
وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين والحمد لله رب العالمين
Sheikh Abdullah Khadra
Director of Education at the Islamic Association of Cary
Rajab 24, 1441 AH
March 19, 2020 CE