Over the last week many discussions have arisen about the necessity of performing jummah salah during the current crisis. We have seen some masajid completely shut down, others operating multiple smaller jummas and others carrying on in the normal way.
Some individuals avoided the Friday prayer altogether, some attended and prayed but left promptly after the salah was over whilst wearing masks etc.
Some took their decisions on the basis of self interest, some followed what was said on media, others assumed that the medical profession knew what they were talking about. Others insisted in performing the salah as they thought it is sinful to abandon it. Others simply followed what the masjid committee decided.
In light of this maze of views and opinions caused by the Co-Vid 19 crisis- Muslims need to understand clearly the reality facing them. Insha’Allah the points below may help Muslims to take a stance on the issue.
- The majority of scholars of the madhaib agreed that the Jummah prayer was a fard ayn on every Muslim male upon whom it was fard to pray the five daily salahs. This means that it is a sin punishable on the day of judgement for those that abandon it and cannot be taken as light issue.
“O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.” Quran 62.9
- The establishment of Jummah salah is an obligation in every place Muslims are settled. In normal circumstances the Jummah would come under the Islamic authority that would facilitate this.
The opinion of the Hanafi madhab is that one of the perquisites (shuroot) for there to be Jumma in a locality is that there needs to an Islamic authority that rules over it. These days in both Muslims lands and in the West some Muslims gather to take it upon themselves to set up a Masjid and jummah salah. For this reason they cannot provide a well thought out approach as they are not the ruling authority that can link the running of congregational prayers with wider issues.
- Islam provides dispensation for those that cannot pray out of illness or on the account of an actual threat of catching a disease. The reality of the situation that we face is that there is no reliable source that we can depend on for an accurate analysis of what is going. Those that provide advice have many agendas all of which are linked to other than Islam or a link to success in the akhira.
- The authority we live under in the West (as in the most of Muslim world) is based upon a secular ideology, so has no concern for what is Fard or Haram. Rather it has its fixed principles about how to view public health. For this reason the authority whilst sometimes uses soft words about our Islamic sensibilities but really has no issue with Jummah being cancelled and will require its edicts to be obeyed. Indeed, it is prepared to dispense with Islamic obligation to bury the deceased Muslim and forcibly cremate instead should the need arise
- Many speak of taking medical advice, as we know doctors are obliged to follow the rules of their medical bodies and established procedures within the health service. These procedures again are built upon secular world view. Whilst some techniques are part of science and universal, the ethics, rules and regulations are predicated on a secular basis.
Many Muslim doctors are quite prepared to adopt rules to deny treatment to some patients on grounds of age as an example. This is clearly against one of the maqasid of Shariah which is to preserve life. An Islamic state would be obliged to do whatever is necessary to preserve life and allow doctors to treat all. The reason Muslim physicians are forced in to taking such stances is because they are bound by the rules and ethics set by a secular system and not an Islamic one.
- Taking these points into consideration we need to realise that, firstly the mosque authorities do not have the authority or the expertise to come to a conclusion about closing a masjid or not. They will simply do as they are told by the council/government or the view of the ulema that they follow.
Secondly , the authority has no interest in Muslims completing their faraid or not. Thirdly, the medical profession cannot give an independent medical opinion based on the prerogatives of the shariah, rather they have to tow the line of their professional bodies and their employer the NHS who dictates the way they do medicine.
- In such circumstances, where Muslims have no Khalifah or state , no authority to apply Islam. Where the prevailing system over them that is secular and decides who should live or die according economic rationing and ideology. Muslim doctors advice is based upon medical practice approved by professional bodies, legal frameworks and employers that view the issue ideologically. The opinions that are given by Muslim doctors are based upon those approved by the system. It therefore falls upon individual Muslims to make the call about performing the Jummah. They should seek to do the following
a. Not fall into a sin by neglecting a fard
b. Make an honest assessment if they fall into the category of being ill enough to be excused from jummah ( assuming jummah has not been shut down by the authority)
c. Think about and risk assess if the attendance to a Jummah may have an effect on the ill or elderly in their households.
d. Consider making smaller jummahs in homes- for the Hanafi madhab it is a minimum of 4 people including the Imam. Others madahib said a minimum of 40.
e. Take all the precautions necessary to avoid getting infected.
- Some may ask what is it the that we as Muslims can do in the interim whilst we wait for the Khilafah? The answer is that in the interim there is only the miserable chaos and confusion that we have been facing Muslims during the last 99 hijri years since the demise of the Ottoman state.
This crisis like the ones before and the ones that will follow show that we have no alternative but to demand the Khilafah from those who hold the authority in lands like Pakistan and Turkey to return Islam to existence. This is where all Muslims need to focus their activism not wasteful activities that just dissipate their energies and achieve very little.