Last week, Wednesday, March 11, 2020 which is equivalent to 16/7/1441 AH, the council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia met to consider how to curtail the spread of coronavirus, especially during congregational prayers.
A few days ago, they met again and ruled that Jumu’ah prayer and all congregational prayers be suspended except for the Haramain. (the two Holy Mosques). The decision is part of the preventive and precautionary measures being taken by the Kingdom to stem the spread of coronavirus. Similarly, in the United States, the Council of Islamic Jurists, which has a Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas, also met to ruminate over the spread of the virus that has ground socio-economic activities in the world. As at press time, the US has recorded 96 deaths and battling with over 5,700 cases. Both councils at different time last week met and their resolutions along the Quran and Hadiths are also listed hereunder which I hope will serve as lessons for us in this part of the world. Here, we have every reasons to show gratitude to Allah, The Exalted, giving the infinitesimal number of cases we have had to contend with compared to other parts of the world. The Council of Senior Scholars considered in its session, while it was presented to it, the issue of whether or not to attend the Friday and Friday prayers in the event of a pandemic or fear of its spread, and by extrapolating the texts of the Islamic Sharia, its purposes and rules, and the words of the scholars in this matter, the Association of Senior Scholars resolves as follow:
First: The person is forbidden to desire the Friday and congregation for his saying, “A nurse does not supply a clinic” agreed upon, and because he said, peace and blessings be upon him: “If you hear the plague of land, do not enter it, and if it falls to the land while you are in it, do not get out of it” Agreed upon. Secondly: Whoever has jurisdiction over the procedures for isolation, then he is obligated to adhere to that, and he should not attend the congregational prayer and Friday, rather, observe the prayers in his house or the place of his isolation. Al-Sharid bin Suwaid Al-Thaqafi, may God be pleased with him, said: (There was in a cultural delegation a leper man and the Prophet sent to him May God’s peace and blessings be upon him. Third: If a person is afraid to harm or harm others, he is authorized to refrain from attending Friday and congregation prayers, because he, may God bless him and grant him peace, said: (There is no harm on harm) narrated by Ibn Majah. In everything that is mentioned if he does not attend the Friday prayer, he prays it as Zhur. The Senior Scholars Association recommends that everyone adhere to the instructions, directives and regulations issued by the competent authority. It also recommends everyone to fear Allah and seek refuge in Him with supplication and supplication in his hands to stop this calamity. Fine, there is no reason for his grace to befall those whom He wills of His servants, and He is the Forgiving, the Most Merciful. Council of Islamic Jurists, United States of America The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas in the Council of Islamic Jurists in America issued a statement stating as follows: Praise be to God, and may blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of God. After a number of questions related to what the mosque administrations and the general worshipers have to do regarding the emerging Coronavirus, a number of questions have been submitted to the Synod. The Synod issued this statement to answer these inquiries. First: On the one hand, the departments of mosques and Islamic centers. The departments of mosques and Islamic centers may not cancel the Friday or congregational prayers in them in order to have cases of coronavirus infection in the United States unless the health authorities have issued instructions to close the places of worship and prevent gatherings, then the departments are obliged to implement these instructions, and this is an excuse that permits Friday prayers at noon in homes until this ban is lifted. The departments of mosques and centers may require people with symptoms of the flu to put medical masks during their prayers in the Friday and Friday mosque, and a room in which they pray may be allocated separately from the rest of the worshipers or allocate a party at the side of the mosque to them, while recommending that they not shake hands with other worshipers and observe medical instructions related to protection from the spread of the disease. Mosque departments should follow developments from local public health bodies such as the CDC and adhere to their directions. Second: On the part of all Muslims It is permissible for individual people to leave the gathering and groups for fear of disease in which there is a detail: As for the group, its command is wider, and the public is not obligatory, and the one who mandated it, most of them are not required to perform in the mosque. As for Friday, it is not permissible to abandon it to those who are assigned to it by men except with the realization of unimaginable fear, and the lesson in that for the general public under the directions of health organizations. When it is prevented from gatherings, the threat of the epidemic has become an excuse for not being able to collect. As for groups at risk, such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases, they adhere to the advice of their doctors, and they are more excused than others. People with symptoms of the disease should avoid mosques when doubting the infection in order to see doctors to ensure their safety if the virus – if they are carrying it – is more harmful than the harm caused by the smell of garlic. The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, said: “ Whoever eats of this tree, let our mosque not be near us, nor harm us with the smell of garlic.”