Senarai Lengkap Artikel English Articles Few Concerning Issues Relating To Ibadah During Covid 19 Outbreak
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Few Concerning Issues Relating To Ibadah During Covid 19 Outbreak


By
Dr. Zaharuddin Abdul Rahman
Adjunct Professor, UNISZA and UNISEL

 

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Ever since the emergence of the COVID 19 outbreak, I have been waiting for the proper guidance and rulings of scholars to address the issues concerning the public, especially on whether it is permissible to not attend and perform Friday prayer congregationally. Thankfully, several scholars have already stated out fatwas as well as their views on a few issues that has been repeated questioned by many. However, there are some that are not covered or less highlighted in the fatwas given. As an alternative remedy, I have listed down below my view on several issues related to certain ‘ibadah performance and COVID 19 precautions, the views will be based on the principles of Fiqh and Usul Fiqh, briefly explained to guide the inquiring public.

1. WEARING A MASK DURING CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER, FRIDAY PRAYER OR TAWAF

According to the majority of mazhab and scholars, it was originally said the ruling to be a displeasure or makruh to perform a prayer while wearing a mask especially when the whole face is covered, that is for both male and female (excluding the minority of scholars who considers the women’s face as a part of their ‘aurah and hence, obligated to be covered even during prayers).

Original Ruling: Makruh

Covering your mouth and nose during prayer was once forbidden by the Prophet SAW in the Hadith:


نَهَى رسولُ اللَّهِ صلَّى اللَّهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ أن يُغطِّيَ الرَّجلُ فاهُ فِي الصَّلاةِ

Meaning: It is forbidden by the Prophet Salla allahu 'alaihi wasallam for a man to cover his mouth during prayers. (Narration of Abu David, Ibn Hibban: Hadith Hasan)

A few scholars also stated that covering of the mouth and nose during prayer was contradicting to the authentic prayer technique as prescribed by the Prophet. Besides, it also resembles the act of Majusi when worshipping fire.

Based on the hadith and for the reason mentioned, this issue can be ruled as MAKRUH according to the majority of Islamic schools (Mazhab) such as Al-Syafie, Hanbali & Maliki. They have discussed on this matter in the chapter '(التلثم)' (Refer to Al-Majmu ', p. 184, Kassyaf al-Qina', Hashiah Al-Dusuqi)

Permissible (Harus) When There Is A Need

However, scholars also argues that if there are inevitable reasons or excuses such as not being able to bear extreme cold, having to cover the mouth when yawning or any other valid reasons that cannot be avoided, it is PERMISSIBLE to cover the mouth and nose during prayer. The permission to conduct such act when necessary is also mentioned by Imam al-Nawawi in al-Majmu’. (Refer to Mirqat al-Mafatih, Al-al-Qari, chap. 2, p. 438)

As a result, the permissibility was also allowed to be implemented in major causes such as preventing the risk of being exposed to the COVID 19 virus during congregational and Friday prayers. This law applies to both male and female and can also be applied to other acts of worship such as Tawaf and Sa’ie.

2. OBLIGATION OF PERFORMING CONGREGRATIONAL PRAYER AND FRIDAY PRAYER AT THE MOSQUE

As already mentioned in the fatwa, the exigency can be excused if gathering and performing prayer can cause harm when it has reached a certain level of danger. Hwoever, the emergency state should only be determined by the government and not up to the individual or even to the administrator of the mosque.

3. THE NEED TO STERILIZE DONATION BOX AT MOSQUES AND PRAYING AREAS

It is recommended for the authorities in charge of handling the well-being of mosques to be pro-active by taking the steps needed to sterilize praying areas and mats. Mosque officials must not take lightly of this issue; the level of hygiene implemented by supermarkets and public areas should be exemplified. In fact, it is PERMISSIBLE for mosques to use the money donated to them for the sake of this purpose. Baitul Mal or the state religious authorities in charge of mosques should also provide the necessary funds if needed.

4. COUGHING AND SNEEZING IN THE MOSQUE

People who are suffering from cold or flu are advised to NOT ATTEND to the mosque for the time-being, this is because although they are not or have not yet been confirmed as COVID 19 patients, their presence may disrupt the attentiveness of the people who are performing congregational prayer and cause the ones who are healthy to be anxious of their wellbeing.
The evidence that can support the need to abstain from stepping foot into the mosque can be pointed out in the following Hadith:

مَن أكَلَ ثُومًا أوْ بَصَلًا، فَلْيَعْتَزِلْنَا - أوْ قالَ: فَلْيَعْتَزِلْ مَسْجِدَنَا - ولْيَقْعُدْ في بَيْتِهِ


Meaning: Whoever has eaten garlic or onion, should keep away from us, or should keep away from our mosque and should stay at home. (Hadith Sahih, Narrated by al-Bukhari)
Only because of the displeasing smell and the possibility of it disturbing the people at the mosques, Prophet salla allahu 'alaihi wasallam ordered the person with the smell to stay away from the mosque. Judging by this incident, we can conclude that it is best for people who are suffering from a cold or flu to follow the same commands given by our Prophet during the COVID 19 outbreak. (You may refer to this source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/02/health/coronavirus-how-it-spreads.html)

The Prophet SAW also said:

إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِالطَّاعُونِ بِأَرْضٍ فَلاَ تَدْخُلُوهَا ، وَإِذَا وَقَعَ بِأَرْضٍ وَأَنْتُمْ بِهَا فَلاَ تَخَن مُو

Meaning: If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place."

5. SHORTENING IMAM’S RECITATION

The people in charge of leading prayers in mosques are advised to shorten their recitation during congregational prayers. Those who are chosen the become the Imam are expected to be more knowledgeable and understanding of the current situation. Because of that, they must simplify prayers and their recitations as well as shorten their sermons. This is to prevent potential harm of being exposed to a large crowd of people for a long period of time during the COVID 19 outbreak. Especially when:
a) Being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case or

b) Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)

The definition of 'close contact' in this case is being less than 2 meters away from a person infected by the virus and has been exposed without any mask on for a long period (30 minutes for example) in a closed area. Being coughed or sneezed on by a person infected could also be another point to take note.

When a person sneezes, coughs, laughs, or talks, the droplets that are blown out could be carried for more than 15 minutes before falling to the ground. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby and has the possibility of being inhaled into the lungs. Because of this reason, congregational and Friday prayers are advised to be shortened to safeguard public health and personal well-being.

Evidence that can further strengthen the need for this is the Prophet SAW’s hadith:

إذا أمَّ أحَدُكُمُ النَّاسَ، فَلْيُخَفِّفْ، فإنَّ فِيهِمُ الصَّغِيرَ، والْكَبِيرَ، والضَّعِيفَ، والْمَرِيضَ، فإذا صَلَّى وحْدَهُ فَلْيُصَلِّ كيفَ شاء

Meaning: When a man among you leads the prayer of the public, he must simplify (his reading) as he should realize that behind him are children, the elderly, and the sick, if he prays alone, he may pray as he pleases. (Hadith Sahih, Narrated by Muslim)


According to a research conducted, other coronaviruses were found and can remain on metal, glass and plastic for up to two hours for a period of 9 days! (See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/02/health/coronavirus-how-it-spreads.html)

6. PEOPLE WITH HIGH RISK SHOULD NOT GO TO THE MOSQUE

According to the Centre of Disease Control & Prevention, those at high risk of getting infected are (refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html):

• Older adults

  People who have serious chronic medical conditions such as:

• Heart disease
• Diabetes
• Lung disease
It is permissible for them to not attend congregational and Friday prayer at the mosque during the outbreak for the sake of their health. They are also given the option to put on a mask during their prayers and suggested to take care of their hand hygiene properly.

7. GREETING PEOPLE AND SHAKING HANDS
During this period, handshakes or any form of direct contact should be refrained, it is best to keep in mind that shaking hands may increase the risk of virus transmission from a person suffering from COVID 19 as a result of them sneezing and coughing with their hands.

8. CLASSES IN UNIVERSITIES, SCHOOLS & TUITION CENTERS
Classes that are usually conducted in closed rooms could also be exposed to the above risks. Thus, it is suggested for students who are ill or suffering from any of the COVID 19 symptoms to seek permission to be excused from classes. It is also highly advised for the school authorities and management to sterilize surfaces and areas that are frequently touched such as doorknobs, desks, canteens and so on.


It cannot be denied that conducting a private home tuition class is easier to control and safer. Handling classes with students ONLINE via video teleconference is another way of curbing the issue of missing out on lessons. As a result, modern educational platforms with Malaysian-made technologies such as MYCLAAZ that is made available on web and phone (https://play.google.com/store /apps/details?id=com.myclaaz.app)https://play.google.com/store /apps/details?id=com.myclaaz.app) is expected to grow and function well as a platform that can connect students and teachers no matter where they are. Try installing it on google play or through its website.

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Dr. Zaharuddin Abdul Rahman
Adjunct Professor
UNISZA and UNISEL
Malaysia

 



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