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Statement On The Invalidity Of Establishing Friday Prayers At Home | Dr. Khalid Hanafy

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Friday Prayer at home

All praise is due to Allah, and we send salah and salam upon Allah’s Messenger, his household and companions.

Numerous fatwas – several attributed to some prominent scholars and muftis – encouraging Muslims to establish Friday Prayers at home with their families have circulated on social media. Their argument is that what validates any congregational prayer, in terms of minimum numbers required, is also what validates the Friday Prayer. They also argue that establishing the Friday Prayers at home is better than not establishing it at all, especially given the prevailing circumstances it will likely be cancelled for some time.

With all respect to the scholars and muftis who have said this, and irrespective of their good motivations, what I believe – and Allah knows best – is that Friday Prayers held at home are not valid prayers and their performance does not suffice in lifting the obligation to pray. Instead, our duty is to stay at home and to establish congregational prayers, and to substitute Dhuhr for Friday Prayers, regardless of how long the current conditions prevail. This measure will protect lives – one of the principal objectives of the Shari’ah. This is also in line with the prophetic advice to “pray at home”, and in compliance with the instructions given by the authorities.

The evidence for the void nature of establishing Friday Prayers at home is as follows:

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1. Friday Prayers were made compulsory in Makkah, prior to the Hijrah, yet we have no example of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)establishing it at home – not even once. Although he did affirm and grant permission to As’ad b. Zurarah and Mus’ab b. ‘Umayr to establish it in Medina before his migration, the congregation then consisted of forty men, and reports indicate it was not held at home. Rather, they held it in an open place fit for purpose, like a mosque. There is no question that Friday Prayers are a public facet of our religious practice, one that cannot be established the way excused persons pray, and therefore Allah instructed us to “set out” to it – and you cannot “set out” towards your own home.

Further, note that the Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) did not establish Friday Prayers in Makkah, even though the minimal numbers required (according to some juristic options) were present, and this is because they were in a weak position and unable to go public with this practice. Had it been permissible to establish it at homes he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would have directed them to it. The jurists have mentioned many instances where people are spared the obligation of attending Friday Prayers, among these are fear for one’s life or wealth. Based on the above, in the current situation where Friday Prayers in masajid have been suspended due to the spread of Coronavirus, praying Dhuhr at home is in accordance with prophetic guidance. This would be the obligation for its time for anyone who does not pray Friday prayers.

2. Contemporary scholars who are in favour of establishing the Friday Prayer at home have relied on some opinions found in the Hanafi school, since they are the most relaxed compared to other legal schools on the question of the numbers required to establish the Friday Prayer. But these very scholars failed to acknowledge the other conditions the Hanafi jurists set for the establishment of the Friday Prayers, including: “That they stipulated for the validity of Jumu’ah ‘That it be performed with a general permission which necessitates it be widely known about. That is only attained if Jumu’ah is performed in an open known place for multiple groups of people (to attend), opening the doors to all-comers. The wisdom behind this condition is what the author of al-Badā’ī’ has said ‘This is a condition because Allāh legislated that Ṣalāt al-Jumu’ah be publicly announced for, Allāh says: “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”, the public announcement (nidā’) is for it to be manifest and widely known about, and it for this reason that it is called Jumu’ah: because it gathers groups together (li-jtima’ al-jama’at), which entails that all the groups are giving a general permission to attend, to affirm the meaning of the word [Jumu’ah].

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And so, I ask: can this condition be established through praying at home?

3. Most jurists argue that the validity of Friday Prayers is conditioned on it not being repeated multiple times in any major city, since the aim is to gather the congregants together in one place and for them to meet and associate. The antithesis of this is to establish it – without good reason – in multiple mosques and locations. We have no report of any sahabi nor tabi’i allowing the recurrence of Friday Prayers in any one vicinity. Contemporary scholars have permitted the recurrence of Friday Prayers in a single vicinity out of necessity, because mosques are unable to accommodate the large number of attendees. If the jurists rejected the establishing of many recurring Friday Prayers with many congregants in one city, how then can they allow the establishment of them in homes today with negligible, small numbers?

4. This opinion – of establishing Friday Prayers at home – is a new, aberrant view, that lies contrary to and undermines the broader and specific aims and purposes of Friday Prayers. There is also a fear that it will lead to a belittling of this great facet of the religion, leading to people establishing it in their homes with their families all the time, thereby abandoning the mosques, especially given that the fatwas advancing this view and the evidences they use are general and applicable always and not specific to any disaster or epidemic.

Friday Prayers, in its known fashion and with its well established conditions, is one of the prides of Islam and a great blessing upon Muslims. It is incumbent that its forms and objectives are adhered to and that it is not substituted for anything else, not least in forms and manners that never crossed the minds of the earlier jurists at all.

We ask Allah for a speedy exit from this trial, and for a swift return to our mosques, happy and rejoicing with Allah’s relief. Indeed, He answers prayers and is all-hearing.

Allah knows best.

Dr. Khalid Hanafy,
Chair of the German Fatwa Council
Assistant Secretary to the European Council for Fatwa and Research
(This statement was reviewed and approved by Sh. Dr. ‘Abdullah al-Judai’)

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mamdouh Mahmoud

    March 27, 2020 at 9:38 AM

    I believe it would be fair to post the other side. This creates more confusion and doesn’t solve it. Also it indicates that Muslim Matters already chose who to follow. If this platform is for all Muslims then give same space to the other opinion. Jazakumullahu khyran

    • Avatar

      Wael Abdelgawad

      March 31, 2020 at 1:34 PM

      I agree with Mamdouh. We are living under unique circumstances, in which we have a global plague combined with technology that can bring us together in a new way. I want to hear from scholars who understand that this situation is unprecedented, and are willing to issue rulings in that light.

  2. Avatar

    Rattilonline

    April 8, 2020 at 7:49 AM

    Jazakom Allah khayra

  3. Avatar

    TellawaOnline

    April 8, 2020 at 7:54 AM

    Jazakom Allah khayra

  4. Avatar

    Demian

    April 8, 2020 at 11:18 AM

    It is unfortunate that this publication is creating division. It is fair to say that Zoom did not exist during the Prophets time. Juma is a congregation that can be achieved via Zoom. What is the point of putting some person’s opinion and not a statements from institutions such as Al Azhar University, AlQarawyin in Fez, King Abdul Aziz University and so on. Disappointing.

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#Current Affairs

This Eid And Beyond Boycott Goods Made With Enslaved Labor Of Uyghurs Even If It Is Your Favorite Brand

Bidding farewell to Ramadan, celebrating Eid?

Well, the Muslims of East Turkestan under Chinese occupation had neither Ramadan nor will they have Eid…

Not only that, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) run government has transferred Uyghurs and other ethnic minority citizens from East Turkestan to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Nike, Gap, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Carters and others. Read Uyghurs for Sale for more information

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CCP is also pressuring governments across the world to extradite Uyghurs back to occupied East Turkestan.

Here is what you can do to help them:

Action Items

  1. Keep making dua for the oppressed of East Turkistan and the world.
  2. Boycott Chinese products! Do not be complicit in slave labour. Start with focusing on the companies in the graphic. Share it with #SewnWithtTears, #StopChina, #BoycottChina. Write to them and demand that they do better.
  3. Raise awareness on the plight of Uyghurs and the East Turkistani cause. Learn more at SaveUighur.org
  4. Work towards reducing your country’s economic dependence on China.
  5. Build alliances with all people of conscience to demand a cessation of China’s oppression of all faith groups, be it Muslim Uyghur, Hui; Chinese Christian; or Tibetan Buddhist.
  6. Encourage and promote fairer trade and commerce with Muslims and others rather than China.
  7. Inquire about Uyghur diaspora members in your area. Organize to help out orphans, widows, and students.
  8. Pressure governments to provide legal protection to Uyghur refugees-exiles by granting either citizenship or refugee/asylee status. Stop the “extradition/repatriation” of Uyghurs to China!
  9. Get your universities/endowments to divest from China. Raise awareness about Chinese espionage and hired guns in academia. Demand academic and financial support for Uyghur scholars and students. Request more academic attention and funds for Central Asian, Uyghur, Turkistani studies. 

Read a greater discussion of action items in A Response to Habib Ali Al-Jifri’s Comments on the Uyghurs, which also contains a greater discussion on East Turkistan’s history and its current situation. A condensed Arabic version of the article can be found here

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#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 9: A Good Word

Now that we have learnt about the life of this world, let’s talk about a good word.

I want you all to close your eyes and think of a beautiful tree. 

Question: Who can tell me what their tree looks like? Is the tree big and strong? Does it have lots of branches and leaves? Does it have fruit?

Now, I want you to think of a time when someone said something really nice to you.

Question:  What are some of the nice statements you remember people telling you?

Question: How did those statements make you feel?

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Yes, they fill us up with a warm feeling. We may have felt proud of ourselves and we may have felt loved. Do you know that Allah [wt] describes a good word to a good tree? 

In Surah Ibrahim, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ 

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تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا ۗ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ 

Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? [Surah Ibrahim; 24]

It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. [Surah Ibrahim; 25]

Question: Now, I want you to think of a time when someone said something mean to you. How did that make you feel?

It’s not fun to remember the mean stuff right? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) continues in Surah Ibrahim and says:

وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الْأَرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ

And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. [Surah Ibrahim; 26] 

Question: What do you think are good words we can use to build strong, firmly rooted trees?

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History and Seerah

Podcast: Five Historic Events That Rocked The World During Ramadan | Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter

We all know that Ramadan is the month of fasting, abstinence and reflection. Ramadan also just happens to be a month of awesome history defining events that shaped the world we live in today.

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