What is the ruling on not attending Friday (Jumu‘ah) prayer or prayers in congregation in the event of an epidemic or fear of an epidemic?


Praise be to Allah.

The Council of Senior Scholars on Friday prayer and prayers in congregation, and the spread of COVID-19

The Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia issued its statement no. 246 on 16/7/1441 AH, the text of which is as follows:

All praise is due to Allah the Lord of the worlds, and may blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon all of his family and companions.

To proceed:

The Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in their twenty-fourth extraordinary meeting, which was held in the city of Riyadh on Wednesday 16/7/1441 AH, examined the questions that were presented to them regarding the concession of not attending Friday (Jumu‘ah) prayer and congregational prayers in the event of an epidemic or fear of an epidemic. After studying the issue in the light of the Islamic texts and the objectives and guidelines of sharia, and in the light of statements of the people of knowledge regarding issues of this nature, the Council of Senior Scholars has issued the following statement:

-1- It is prohibited for a person infected with this virus to attend Friday prayers and prayers in congregation, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said, “Sick (camels) should not be put with healthy (camels).” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim], and because he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said, “If you hear of the outbreak of a plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it breaks out in a land in which you are, do not leave it.” [al-Bukhaari and Muslim].

-2- If a specialized body determines that medical quarantine or isolation is to be imposed on someone, it is obligatory for him to comply with that, and to not attend Friday prayers or prayers in congregation. Therefore he should offer the prayers at home or in the place where he is quarantined.  This is because of the report narrated by as-Shareed ibn Suwayd ath-Thaqafi, who said, “Among the delegation from Thaqeef there was a man with leprosy. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) sent word to him, saying, ‘We have accepted your oath of allegiance, so go back.'” [Narrated by Muslim}

-3- If anyone fears that he may be harmed or may harm others, it is permissible for him to not attend the Friday prayer and prayers in congregation, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said, “There should be neither harm nor reciprocating harm.” [Narrated by Ibn Majah].

In all these cases, if he does not attend Friday prayer, he must pray Dhuhr with four rak‘ahs.

The Council of Senior Scholars advises everyone to follow the instructions, guidelines and protocols issued by specialized bodies.

They also advise everyone to fear Allah, the Most Mighty and Exalted, and to turn to Him in supplication and humility, and to ask Him to grant relief from this tribulation.

Allah, may He be exalted, says:

“And if Allah should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him; and if He intends for you good, then there is no repeller of His bounty. He causes it to reach whom He wills of His servants. And He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Yoonus 10:107]

“And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’” [Ghaafir 40:60].

May Allah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.

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