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Congregational prayers affected as the Muslim world reacts to the coronavirus pandemic

As the world continues to react to the growing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, governments are responding with varying measures to slow down the spread of the virus. At the time of writing, over 140,000 cases have been confirmed from 136 countries, and more than 5,000 have died as a result.[1] Indeed to Allāh do we belong, and to Him do we return.

Whilst many in Europe and beyond have banned large public gatherings and shut down schools, the UK government has opted to avoid these steps for now, although it has warned that these steps might be pursued in the near future.[2]

Around the world, many Muslims have continued to attend congregational prayers in their mosques, particularly Friday prayers, where many sermons would have included reminders and advice on the virus. However, Jumu’ah has been cancelled in some countries, including Kuwait and Iran, as well as in areas of Iraq and Lebanon.[3] Similarly, Egypt today limited Jumu’ah to 15 minutes (sermon included) throughout the country, whilst many mosques in the USA have also cancelled Jumu’ah to avoid large gatherings.[4]

With similar measures and restrictions expected to follow in the UK, mosques and representatives of the community have also began issuing guidance, particular regarding congregational prayers. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) announced advice to the community yesterday, covering congregational prayers and madrasahs, and warning that tarawīh is likely to be affected.[5]

Many scholars and du’āt have been posting advice pertaining to congregational prayers, with a constant theme that elderly worshippers should consider praying at home and are exempt from the obligation of Jumu’ah. These scholars have also stated that those who are ill or are feeling symptoms of the virus are obliged to stay home.

However, it has also been emphasised that the importance of the Friday prayer should not be underestimated, with the same du’āt reminding believers that the institutions of Jumu’ah and congregational prayers are extremely virtuous, and that cancelling them should be a decision that is taken as a last resort.

Shaykh Abu Eesa Niamatullah posted:

Shaykh Waleed Basyouni and Shaykh Sajid Umar also posted videos with similar messages and underlined the importance of Jumu’ah:

In the meantime, we are reminded to have tawakkul in Allāh, and know that the power of du’a should not be overlooked. The Messenger of Allāh said to Ibn Abbas:

“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allāh and Allāh will protect you. Be mindful of Allāh and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allāh [alone]. If you seek help, then seek help from Allāh [alone]. And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allāh had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allāh had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”[6]

Shaykh Muhammad Yusri commented on the pandemic:

When people oppress and wrong one another; spill blood; violate dignities; help one another in sin and oppression; commit sacrilege and desecrate religious sanctities; deny the reckoning of the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth; when their oppression reaches such criminality and al-Jabbār is angered; then His retribution befalls!

”When they provoked Us, We punished and drowned them all.”[7]

Don’t mingle with those who have been afflicted by the coronavirus (Covid-19). Take the necessary precautions but remember that contracting the virus is only by the permission of Allāh and His decree. There are many reasons behind contracting the illness. You might mingle with someone infected but not get infected or sick. And you may not come in contact with anyone infected and take all the precautions, yet still fall sick.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“So, how did the first one get infected?”[8]

Let us also not forget about our brothers and sisters in refugee camps[9] and warzones, where minimal information is available on the pandemic and where there is nowhere to hide or isolate should the pandemic strike them. May Allāh keep them steadfast.

We ask Allāh to keep us all safe and to enable us to take this opportunity to turn back to Him seeking forgiveness, and to cure our sick and protect our elderly. Āmīn.

Source: www.islam21c.com


[1] https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51865915

[3] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/prayers-restricted-middle-east-coronavirus-fears-200313113106897.html

[4] https://www.instagram.com/tv/B9qtIEhAqG3/?igshid=e47hv6ixddl8

[5] https://mcb.org.uk/mcb-updates/coronavirus-guidance-for-mosques-and-madrassas/

[6] Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2516

[7] Al-Qur’ān, 43:55

[8] Bukhāri and Muslim

[9] https://www.islam21c.com/news-views/confirmed-case-of-covid-19-on-lesbos-sparks-fear-in-overcrowded-moria-refugee-camp/

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