The Islamic Ruling Regarding praying salaatul Jum’ah over the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic, Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

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QUESTION: Because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, many local and state governments have ordered people to stay in their houses, practice self-quarantine, and social distancing, and to not gather in clusters of ten or more, for fear of spreading the virus. In the United States, many if not most masaajid are closed for the daily and Jum’ah prayers for that reason. Some masaajid have begun to stream Jum’ah services over the internet. People who are affected by the advisory to stay at home, are participating in these online streams as congregants and praying behind the Imam over the internet. Some Muslims have started to criticize this practice and say that it is prohibited or that the prayer is not valid. Can you give us some guidance on this matter according to the Quran and the sunnah and our religious laws (fiqh) as Muslims?

ANSWER: Al-humdu lillahi Rabbil aalameen. The masaajid are an essential part of Muslim life. Closing the masaajid completely is a serious matter. The salat and salatul Jum’ah, like other acts of worship has rules of wujoob (incumbency) , and rules of sunnan. The first rule of Jum’ah is that you pray it, not that you don’t pray it. “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.” 62:9 al-Jum’ah.

Praying salaatul Jum’ah is incumbent upon men in whom the conditions of incumbency are present. If, as in the case of mandatory quarantine from the COVID-19 virus, stay athome order fornthe same reason, or masaajid closed foran extended period of time for legitimate reasons, then alternatives are allowable in this case.

Some people have argued that physically seeing the imam in person is a condition of Jum’ah. However, seeing the imam in person is not a condition (shart), wujoob (incumbent) If you can hear the Imams voice, you can pray behind him. People prayed behind the Prophet (SAWS) during the farewell hajj and they could not see him, nor hear his voice. Deeds are according to intention, and fiqh is according to daleel and circumstance. If you can hear the imam and share the same time zone and have the intention of following the imam in the same Jum’ah prayer (during the duration of the viral pandemic) then such is permissible and the prayer is valid. However if the masjid is reachable there is nothing preventing (no health restriction, fear or cessation of physical attendance to the masjid), then the normal pre-pandemic rules still apply. This is only in the case of daroora (necessity) or special circumstance, in this case, a viral pandemic. .

Can I pray salaatul Jum’ah behind an Imam via the internet?

Yes, you are able to pray behind an Imam via the internet during the course of this COVID-19 pandemic. The Prophet said “And whatever I have commanded your o do, do of it what you are able“. [Muslim] The idea that’s it’s haram/prohibited to pray a streaming Jum’ah salat behind an Imam in special circumstances has some merit under normal circumstances, but these are not normal circumstances and by the grace of Allah and by His mercy, our religious laws are specifically designed to bend with the circumstances as we show in this ruling. .

Then why are masaajid closed on Jum’ah?

Some masaajid (mosques) are closed during this COVID-19 pandemic because health officials have advised people to stay at home and that there be no gatherings of more than ten people to lesson the spread of the disease. This constitutes a rukhsa (dispensation) according to Islamic law.

What is a rukhsa? Plural; (rukhas)

Rukhsa is sharia (Islamic law) terminology means a dispensation or facilitation of something. In the Arabic language, the word rukhsa (plural rukhas) means making easy or to facilitate. Dispensations are exceptions to the rule or an allowance to alter a procedure or modality of worship because of circumstance. Worship in Islam is strictly regulated by religious texts (Quran and Sunna), and by the conclusions of sacred law (fiqh) also known as Islamic jurisprudence. This is especially true with respect to the salat, as in the hadith; “pray as you have seen me pray“. We should always pray exactly as our Prophet did (SAWS). However, a rukhsa allows one to alter the modality or procedure of worship owing to mitigating circumstances.

For example, salatul Thuhr (the midday prayer) is four rak’aats. However, if one is travelling, they are allowed to pray two rak’aats instead of four rak’aats; this is a rukhsa. Another example is fasting during the month of Ramadan. If a person is sick on any given day during Ramadan, or travelling, then they are allowed to break or suspend their fast and make it up at a later date. “And whoever is sick or travelling, then make it up on later days“, 2:185 al-Baqarah. Another example is performing tayammum (dry ablution) in the absence of water; “If you are sick or traveling or one comes from relieving himself and cannot find water, then (perform) tayammam from pure dirt” 5:43 al-Maa’ida

The purpose and value of using a rukhsa

One of the objectives of using a rukhsa is ease for the Muslim and so that the worship of Allah is not forgone, curtailed, suspended or eliminated because of circumstances. For example, in the current crisis, some masaajid have eliminated Jum’ah completely, which in accordance with he allowances of Islamic law. That being the caseit would have been prudent to provide alternatives to physical attendance at Jum’ah by use of rukhsa. The COVID-19 pandemic is a situation that Muslims in the United States have never had to face before. The purpose of this ruling is to clarify to people that such allowances are permissible.

Another objective of the rukhsa, is that it is considered divine charity (sadaqa) from Allah sub’haanahu w ta’ala. In the hadith of Yahya ibn Umaiyya, the Prophet (SAWS) characterized the rukhsa as “Sadaqa that Allah spends upon you, therefore accept His charity” [Muslim]. This provisional ruling should serve as clarification until the circumstances change. If you accept that there is an emergency, then you must also accept the plausibility of contingency, and Allah knows best.

Understanding The Islamic Ruling Allowing Following and Praying Behind the Imam over the Internet

Note: The current COVID-19 pandemic is a particular circumstance affecting movement, health, safety, congregational worship, continuity of the Friday prayer, and even freedom of the world at large. No one denies that. The ruling here is a provisional ruling based upon this circumstance only. and not a general ruling for all times, when there is no such emergency. Neither is it a ruling for another type of emergency besides this pandemic.

Listening to the Jum’ah khutba and the salat over the internet and praying behind the Imam through streaming is permissible during this pandemic according to the allowances of the sharia and the foundations of ease and facilitation according to the law. There is no contention amongst contemporary scholars of Islam regarding internet streaming of salaatul Jum’ah accross the internet. The contention seems however by some to be whether or not salaatul Jum’ah by a long distance congregant participating through he internet, is valid. The answer as we have stated, is that such prayers are valid and can serve as an alternative to physical attendance of Jum’ah during the length of this current crisis.

It would take an overabundance amount of proofs to invalidate such prayers in light of our current circumstances and in light of the prevailing legal axiom in Islamic law to make things easy on the believers within the boundaries set scriptural law. “Allah wishes ease for you and does not wish difficulty for you“, 2:185 al-Baqara.

The same rukhsa (dispensation) principle that allows the legitimate cessation of Jum’ah or opting out because of the coronavirus, is the same principle that allows Jum’ah prayer through streaming. It would be implausible to dispense with Jum’ah because of the virus by use of a rukhsa (dispensation) but disallow Jum’ah in altered fashion because of the same virus by using a rukhsa. That is not the way sharia law works.
You can’t use medical technology as a reason to legitimately stay home from Jum’ah despite it being an obligation, and then disallow internet technology as a means to fulfill the religious obligation that has been disbanded because you were forced to stay home in the first place, or in times of dire necessity.

The prevailing principle in fiqh is that if an action of worship cannot be completed fully, then partial completion is allowable in extenuating circumstances. This is based upon the verse; “And what I have commanded you to do, do of it what you are able”, [Muslim]. Physical connection to the congregation is full completion of all tenants since closing gaps in the rank is waajib. However, when that is not possible due to particular sharia supported circumstance, prayer while disconnected from the physical rank is permissible.

People prayed behind the Prophet (SAWS) during the farewell hajj and they could not see him, nor hear his voice. Deeds are according to intention, and fiqh is according to daleel (proof) and circumstance. Seeing the Imam in person is not a condition of performing salatul Jum’ah behind an Imam. People perform salaatul Jum’ah at the Holy Sanctuaries (Mecca and Madinah) outside of the physical sight of the imam all the time without any objections from our scholars. additionally, people perform salaatul Jum’ah in Egypt and other places where there are thousands of worshippers for blocks around the Masjid and the Imam is blocked by buildings , streets, cars and even traffic at time, and their prayers are held to be valid without question, and this is without a state of emergency.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, Associate Imam Toledo Masjid al-Islam, Toledo Ohio. imamabulaith@yahoo.com.

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WHY MUSLIMS SELLING LIQUOR IN THE HOOD IS SUCH A BIG DEAL, Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

There are too many fake Muslims in the world. Where are the 'real ...
Muslim owned liquor store

Although it’s not a topic that makes its way too often to the forefront of American Muslim dialogue or concern, Muslim owned liquor stores is an important issue. It’s represents perhaps the most visible presence and contribution of American Muslims to inner city America. The number of owners and employees of local Muslim owned liquor stores in inner city American likely far exceeds the number of attendees of Jum’ah at the local storefront masjid in the hood. Muslim business owners in the average poor or Black neighborhood in America where it’s legal to sell liquor, pull more gross revenue out of inner city neighborhoods each day from the sale of alcohol, crack pipes, meth pipes, blunt wrappers (for weed), and lottery tickets cigarettes, than the average majority Black or convert attended masjid in the United States collects in zakat and or sadaqa in an entire year.

The affect on the trajectory of the Black American Muslim and convert civilization has been more devastating than many of us care to imagine. It is the major cause of anti-Muslim sentient in inner city America. Still it’s an issue that we are nearly completely stuck in the sand about, and have not yet mustered the courage to address it an a domestic ummah.

We don’t get too riled up about Muslim liquor stores in the hood but it’s actually a major deal. In every major city where it exists, Muslim sale of drug paraphernalia, alcohol and lottery tickets, sidetracks the da’wah and weakens the da’wah to Islam. The visual take away is that Muslims are parasites in the community and a necessary evil that profits on people’s addictions and treat the locals like crap and the Black American Muslim converts are good hearted and somewhat sincere but just plain castrated men in their own religion.

Of course this sounds harsh and crass but I’ve been an Imam for more than 20 years in the hood and that is the perception. Even worse. Of course Muslims thrive in the hood because these are our neighborhoods. Many of us are from there, our family is there, and we grew up in these plantation-like urban enclaves. Many of us are in and out of these penal institutions which feed off of a steady stream of poor and Black men and women. So alongside the people from our neighborhoods where we wield some clout which have waned considerably over the years. However, the perception in the neighborhood is that we are cool but we don’t have much to offer, even many who convert feel that way. We are viewed as subordinate Muslims and they generally view immigrant Muslims as racists with the disposition of slave overlords who supply the products and accessories needed to sustain a lifestyle of addiction.

Now of course some of you may hem and haw about this, and may even feel insulted (typical response) lol. But many of you if not most of you are completely unaware of this reality. If you were then you would understand exactly what I mean. If you ventured for yourself and took a good look, you’d see for yourself.

Pick a city, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Detroit, Sacramento, here in Toledo, Oklahoma city, the Carolinas, New Orleans, Chattanooga, Montgomery Alabama, Houston Texas and many other cities where Muslims hold sway in the liquor and party store business, the da’wah to Islam is tanked. Even when Muslims go out on the street, first thing people say is; “what about your brother over there selling liquor? (Sometimes they even sell drugs). Cities like Philadelphia have been somewhat an exception because only the State of Pennsylvania can sell liquor in Pennsylvania. However, elsewhere, wherever the law allows. The American Muslim liquor, crack pipe, meth pipe, blunt rollers and lottery business continues to thrive as a premier cash crop that shamelessly eats away at the fabric of inner city society, while the rest of us looks away.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad is an Imam and resident scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Toledo Ohio. He can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com

Gender Wars, Feminist Thought, and the Attack on Muslim Marriage. Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

CONSIDER THIS.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Shaitaan/Satan has found a new home amongst Muslims. Radical feminism is now one of the most socially and spiritually lethal internal threats we have in our domestic ummah. Radical feminism is the vanguard of the LGBTQ movement and it has surreptitiously found it’s way into modern Muslim domestic dialogue and intellectual underpinning. It is anti-male, anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-shariah, anti-scripture, and anti-polygamy, all at the same time. We respect our women, and quite frankly, modern-day feminism is beneath them.

Don’t mind saying what others think and know to be true but are afraid to say. When they injected predatory feminism into the Black Muslim woman moral consciousness, it knocked about 60% (my guestimate) of them off their square as Muslimahs. Many never made it back, Some even went to bat for the other side and got caught up.

Feminists came into the Muslim community pretending to be saviors but were predators in disguise, and many of them were lesbians. And as we started to kick them out (ideologically) they just abandoned the Muslim woman. Left them worse off than ever before. Many sisters are still jacked up trying to fuse hard-core feminist ideology with Islam.

Feminists as a rule will not argue with Kitaabillah or with the Sunna in an open ideological field because it exposes their kufr and they would immediately lose adherents from amongst Muslim women who believe, so they merely pressed the stupid nonsensical gender war. If I’ve offended any hard-core feminists creeping around in Islam, that’s not my intention, but know that there will be no apology forthcoming. None at all.

Anytime shaitaan finds a home within an ideology, he runs with it. On the issue of feminism, we have to side with the Lord and our scriptures,. Nothing personal. .The feminist ideological onslaught on the Black American Muslim population was specifically engineered to corrupt and destroy the Muslim family, to fan the flames of the gender wars, and to corrupt our concept of marriage. This occurred on multiple levels. It didn’t happen overnight; it was a slow surreptitious incursion that caught a lot of us off guard. One door-way was in the guise of saving Black Muslim women from their men, who were labeled oppressive, misogynist, controlling, deadbeats, stingy and generally unworthy.

Image result for the gender wars

The gender wars between Muslim men and Muslim women was designed to get our women to openly complain about men, not just their men, but all Muslim men; to demean them, declare them unworthy and useless, to be openly hostile towards them, and to exhibit so much disdain, hatred and disgust with men that no sane man would marry them even if he were the best or most desperate of men. Also, so that more and more Muslim women would start to look at women, even non-Muslims for mates and partners. It goes without saying that if you hate men, find them unworthy, hate marriage or at least dislike it, then what’s next?

Excessive anti-man sentiment and a basic cynicism towards marriage, has left many of our women unmarriageable or at least undesirable for marriage. I’m not against women, I’m for them, and incidentally I’m for our men. However, I’m just explaining how I believe that many Muslim women (and men) have been tricked. And if you don’t think that Iblis is in the business of tricking people, then you have already become a casualty of his trickery.

Allah is the ally of the believer, He takes him or her out of the darkness’ss and puts them in the light of guidance. When we make up new laws, conditions, norms, rights and paradigms for marriage that were not already there, or not ordained by Allah, or His Prophet (SAWS), or remove ones that Allah placed there from the start, we effectively turn marriage into Iblis’s or someone else’s test tube creation and not the noble institution that Allah made it from the beginning. We effectively subvert our moral psychology regarding marriage without even realIzing it. This is one of the by products of dajjalism.

We literally twist the concept of marriage, and infuse it with jaahiliyyah and or dajjaali thinking, thereby weakening it, and then wonder why all the confusion, turmoil and chaos. The answer is right in front of us. “corruption has appeared on land and sea by what people have wrought with their own hands. To give the a tasted of some of what they have done, so perhaps they may return (to Allah). 30:31 87. The Book of Allah is clear on this for those wanting the truth.  Now is the time to return to Allah in all of our affairs.

Look, the gender wars, the attack on marriage, the attack on polygamy, and the mass demonization of Muslim men constitutes one of Shaitaan’s greatest  and most successful recent incursions into our religion, our aqeeda (creed) and one of the foundations of stability in our ummah (the family), He chose to go primarily through the women because we were at a point where, because since many women were victims of abuse, mistreatment, and neglect, they, as a group were nearly all labeled victims and survivors and  became totally exempt from any moral accountability, recrimination, or even our religious laws. As victims, they were given a pass by Iblis (Satan). They were victims, they needed support, it’s the mans fault, and that was and still remains the popular (yet tired) narrative. 

Most of us were caught nearly completely off guard. Brothers, sisters and even Imams were blindsided and paralyzed and didn’t see it coming. Many of our men, (Imams included) felt compelled to go with the trend to maintain popularity, and not be accused of being anti-woman. As a chess player (haven’t played in years), it was a masterful strategy on the part of Iblis. He simply played on our ignorance of our own laws, and second guessing or straight out rejection of our own scripture. Worship, forgiveness and reconciliation were all discouraged, even till this day.

The problem was that  after promising our women that the feminist agenda would save them from their men, (us) and that quite frankly, they don’t need men anymore, Shaitaan abandoned them, and our women are no better off than they were before the gender wars and the anti-man agenda. Hardly no one save a few, was watching our ideological borders, so pretty much, any new trend, thought or ideology can be pumped in our dialogue and political correctness and heedlessness of our scriptures prevents any defense.

Nevertheless, I’ve been monitoring the situation to the best of my ability, and what preceded are some of my findings, and Allah knows best.   And no, I don’t subscribe to political correctness and don’t mind being laughed at, or going against the grain. Pay attention beloveds, we will be witnessing fitna after fitna after fitna. It will fall upon us like a string of pearls. This is not the time to be heedless of the Word of Allah. This is not the time to continue the gender wars. This is not the time to reject scripture. This is not the time for Muslim men and women to be enemies of one another. It is during these times that we turn to Allah in repentance, that we follow His word, the we adhere to the congregation, that we be aware of His signs, that we hold to the Book and to the sunnah.

Note: Al-humdu lillaah with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, feminism and anti-male rhetoric has taken a back seat in our domestic dialogue. It’s clear that it has nothing to offer us at this juncture. In sha Allah, this article will help put the nail in the coffin.

I stand for Allah, and what He revealed. He is my Wakeel. Bear witness. Nothing personal. Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

imamabulaith@yahoo.com. support @ Cash app: $abulaith2

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