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A REJOINDER ON: PERMISSIBILITY OF OBSERVING JUMA'T AT HOMES AMID COVID-19





By
Uthman Jaarullah bn Zakariyyah Oladele bn Abdillahi
14th April, 2020

I read through the write ups of some Islamic articles on (9th April,2020) in which their   submission is that in this exceptional case (COVID-19), observing Jum’at Prayers at home is not prohibited by Allah and His Messenger, hence it is permissible. 

Before refuting his claims, the Global Muslims and Muslimahs will be given a glide tiding that; whoever among the Muslim Ummah that was engaging in Five times daily prayer in mosque congregations, fasting, and other related acts of Ibadah, but later finds it difficult to do those acts of Ibadah   due to sickness, old age, and other acceptable restrictions by the Shari’a, he will have the same rewards from Allah during restriction period. For instance, any Muslim who observes Zuhr Prayer at home during Jum’at Day due to an acceptable excuse in Shari’a, will have both the rewards of Jum’at Service and Zuhr Prayer.

Our brother claimed that, there is no direct injunction from Allah and His messenger for observing Jum’at Prayer in the Mosques. This rejoinder will provide direct injunctions from the Qur’an and Sunnah   cum other sources   about that for the perusal of the readers.
My rejoinder on those   short essays follows thus:

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 is both a health Hazard and a Global Pandemic.  This particular pandemic raises a lot of arguments in the fields of medicine, politics, economics, and religion. Islam as a religion without borders is heavily affected as Global Muslims were restricted from their normal religious daily   life such as gathering in the mosques for five times daily obligatory prayers, weekly Jum’at services, funeral processions, and other activities that warrant social gatherings in the Islamic Legal Understanding. 

This people who claimed that we can observe Jum’at Prayer at home ignored the statement of Abdullah bn Masood;

قال عبد الله بن معدان عن جدته, قالت : قال لنا عبد الله بن مسعود: " اذا صليتن-يوم الجمعة -مع الامام فصلين بصلاته , واذا صليتن في بيوتكن فصلين أربعا " أخرجه ابن أبي شيبة(2⁄207⁄1 ) 

Abdullah bn Mi’daan reported from his grandmother who herself reported Abdullah bn Masood giving Sunnatic Directives to women on Jum’at service: “ Whenever you observe  Jum’at prayer with the Imam (in the Mosque), pray   in accordance with the portion of his prayer(two units), and whenever you pray  on Jum’at day and time at your  homes, pray four Rak’at(Four Units of Prayer as Zuhr). Documented by ibn Abi Sha’ybah in his treatise volume 2 page 207. Also, they were   unfortunate enough to read the statement of As-Sana’aniy: 
   
"وأن الجمعة اذا فاتت وجب الظهر -اجماعا -فهي البدل عنها (الصنعاني74 ⁄2 ) 

Verily, when Jum’at congregational prayer is missed, it is compulsory from Consensus of Islamic Scholars   to observe Zuhr Prayer in its replacement. (As-Sana’any, Volume 2 page 74)

Well, without an iota of doubt, Abdullah bn Masood and As-Sanaaniy were both explaining the global sunnatic practice of the Muslims during and after the demise of Prophet Muhammad.

Nevertheless, some sentimental writers of articles   want us to observe Jum’at at homes with their futile   evidences which I will refute in these short explanations.

For the sake of academic clarity and referencing, Barr.Alikinla (a Nigerian) -May Allah guide him and guide us aright-who was one of the Muslims  giving verdict of permissibility of performing Jum’at services at homes (by April, 2020) in his essay titled :  (OBSERVANCE OF JUM'AH SERVICE AT HOME: AN INNOVATION OR?) gives these reasons:

“●There is no direct injunction about that (i.e. Performing Jum’at at a   Mosque) from Allah nor His Messenger.

●A congregation according to the Prophet starts with two. So, two people can observe Jum’ah if they cannot join other Muslims for any reason best known to them and God.

●It is compulsory for a man to observe daily prayers in congregation with fellow men in the mosque and not optional. So, if he is allowed to stay at home and lead his family in those prayers. WHY NOT IN THE CASE OF JUM’AH?"

The quotations above sound humanly reasonable by evaluating them via the principles of reasoning in Psychology. But by putting them in the scale of Islamic Jurisprudential Assessment Parameters, 97% of its contents are evident-baseless. In this regard, it would be a point of both reference and justice to move  back to the  audio explanations of; An Internationally Renowned Jurist, the Pioneer Chairman of Kwara State Arabic Board, the President of  Sheu Alimi Foundation for Peace and Development, and the Founder of Darul Kitaab wa Sunnah; College of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Ilorin, Kwara State; Al Shayk Dr. Abdulkadir Al-Jum’ah Al-salman Sholagberu -may Allah preserve him upon goodness -which he made in earlier April,2020 and which is  a strong motivating factor in writing this rejoinder to refute those quotations above. His audio lectures would be major points of reference here inshaa Allah. 

To announce that; there is no direct   injunction from the Qur’an and Sunnah that stated that we should perform Jum’at in the mosque is both a fallacy and an understatement. It is a fallacy because it misleads the Muslim Ummah and it is an understatement due to the point that it obviously negates both explicit and implicit verses of the Qur’an and Sunnah on Jum’at Service. Subhanallah!  Responding in the same way, let us ask him to show us the verses in the Glorious Qur’an that:

● explicitly states the punishment of anyone that beats their parents,

●pinpoint the exact penalty of the one smoking cocaine,

●highlight the sanction of people engaging in sharp practices like 419 in Nigeria?

He will never find the exact verses that mention the exact punishments for the three offenses above. “Say not to them a word of disrespect” Qur’an 17 verse 22 answers question 1.

“Do not throw yourself into destruction” Qur’an 2 verse 195 responds to the second question. Then,” And eat up not one another’s property unjustly” Qur’an 2 verse 188 is the answer to question three. Islamic Jurists extracted evidence of impermissibility of beating one’s parents, smoking cocaine and sharp practices implicitly from these verses and turn them to explicit evidences to the ummah. Therefore, the rights and functions to extract evidences from the four agreed upon   sources of Shari’a are exclusively reserved for the Jurist Scholars of Islam.

Furthermore, why would one assumes that, Muslims can observe Jum’at Prayer at home “if they cannot join congregation for any reason known to them and God” Subhaana llah! The reasons must be known, announced to the Jurists and evaluated by Al-Kitaab and Sunnah. If not, every Tommy and Jerry who likes to play with Islam can create flimsy excuses of staying back at home to observe Jum’at services. Hence, there comes the clash between Islamic Injunctions and Dictates of human feelings and selections. The issue of the number that makes up a congregation of Jum’at services confuses our people. In reference to your evidence in which you made conclusion that the numbers of those observing five-times daily obligatory prayers is the same as that of Jum’at. This is   harmonization from the article writer between the daily numbers of people in performing five-times daily prayers and  the weekly numbers of people to perform Jum’at which is also an  ignorance on his part.  This is because, each of the prayers has its separate   jurisprudential analyses from the stable of specialized Islamic Scholars. To remove his   ambiguity in understanding Shari’a,  let us read through the understanding of different schools of thoughts of Islamic Scholars in regards to special Numeric rules of performing Jum’at prayer. This will eventually lead us to digest the fact that, the rules guiding jum’at prayer are different from the rules guiding fives times daily obligatory prayers even though both are Jama’t (congregational prayers). For instance; 

●ibn Azm allows 1 person to observe Jum’at prayer (see Al-Muallah volume 3 page 248.)

●Anakhayi allows just 2 people including the Imaam to observe Jum’at Service (see Bidayatul Mujtaid  volume 1 page 201.)

●Al-Imaam Abu Yusuf; the student of Al-Imaam Abu Haneefah allows 2+1 person including the Imaam to observe Jum’at Service. (See Badaeu-l-Sanaei volume 2 page 358)

●Abu Haneefah allows 3+1 person including the Imaam to perform Jumu’at service (see Nailul Aotaar volume 3 page 224)

All these quotations show that, these jurists   were discussing numbers of people to perform Jum’at and not places of performing it.  However, we are calling on those people making public announcement of performing Jum’at Prayer at homes and who also relied on Jurisprudential verdicts of Ibn Azm, Anakhayi, Al-Imam Abu Yusuf, and Al-Imaam Abu Haneefah to point out the  exact source where one or all of these scholars said we can perform Jum’at prayers at home.  Nay! They will never be able to point it out. 

والدعاوي ما لم تقيموا عليها‖بينات أبنائها أدعياء

Acclaimed cases without provable proofs are prone to mere proclamations

To the proponents of Permissibility of Observing Jum’at at homes, can you please point us to a Globally and Islamically acceptable literature that supports your stand? Can you mention the author, place and date   of publications of such literature?  Virtually, up till today; there is no single book any where in the world that authoritatively says we can observe Jum’at prayers in our homes. 

Let us read on to disentangle our brains from the intellectual slavery   of their claims   on this topic and this will refer us back to the lectures of  Ashayk Dr. Abdulkadir Al-Jum’at Al-Salman Sholagberu -حفظه الله--which he  delivered to Organization of Shari’a and life in which  he categorically stated two types of conditions that must be fulfilled before observing Jum’at prayer and it leads us  to: 

●Conditionalities of Jumu’at Service.●

As a result of the ongoing refutation, reading from the audio lectures of our cosmopolitan jurist, there are two categories of conditions for performing Jum’at Service which are Binding Conditions (Shurootul Wujoob) and Validating Conditions (Shurootul Si-hhat). Binding Conditions relate to conditions that make the practice of  an Islamic Obligation binding on anyone engaging in them before initiating the obligation such as Salat, Zakat, fasting,hajj, etc. Those binding condinditions   are as follow: I. Islam-not binding on Non-Muslims   II. Maturity-not binding on infants III. Psychological Balance -not binding on Lunatics ,etc. Note that, having fulfilled the binding conditions, you are not eligible to observe Jum’at prayer except you fulfill the validating conditions by Al-Imaam Malik   which are: 

I. Al-isteetaan(Placement of Jumu’at Service in a   Residential Community), II. Presence of 12 People III. Al-Masjidul Jaamih ( A Central Mosque) like the ones we have in Ilorin, Lagos State, Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, IV. Al-khutbataan (the two sermons on Fridays). 

II. Al-Imaam (who should be a permanent resident in the community or temporary resident with at least four days resident validity in the same community)
As-Shart  (Condition) in Islamic Jurisprudence is a factor that its presence  determines the validity of an Islamic Practice by a Muslim and its absence invalidates this Practice. The most important point in fulfilling the validating conditions is that each condition must complement the other without which Salatul Jum’ah is rendered useless. That is, any Muslim or Muslimah that fulfills the Binding Conditions above but misses one of the Validating conditions cannot perform Jum’at Prayer. 

Let us  have a glance at the aforementioned validating  conditions above as laid down by the Greatest Jurist; Al-Imam Malik-رحمه الله -who we in some parts of Africa and Nigeria inclusive happened to be  his followers  before the pandemic, and -inshaa Allah- we remain his followers during and after the pandemic. How many of those validating conditions are missing when you observe Jum’at Service at home? Definitely, two are missing and one of which is Al-isteetaan and the other one is  Al-Masjidul Jaamih. Al-Isteetaan according to  its meaning, jum’at service must be in a public place where no permission is needed before gaining entrance to the place. How would people come to your home for Jum’at Service without requesting for permission prior to their entrance. Al-Masjidul Jamih which is a public mosque is known before Pandemibut  your home was not regarded nor named as a Central Mosque. Why naming your home a central mosque now?

●Direct Injunctions from Qur’an and Sunnah  On Why We Cannot Observe Jum’at Prayers at Homes During and After Covid-19●

Qur’an chapter 62 Sûratul Jumu’ah verse 9 states that: “ O you who believe ( Muslims)! When the call is proclaimed for the Salât (prayer) on Friday ( Jum’at Prayer), walk laboriously to the remembrance of Allâh(khutbah and prayer), and leave off business (and every other thing). That is better for you if you did but know! The context of the statement of Allah: ‘ walk labourisly  to the remembrance of Allâh ‘ indicates leaving one’s home to a prescribed place by the sunnah which is both a theoretical and practical explanation of the Glorious Qur’an. Further analysis shows that walk laboriously to the remembrance of Allah comes from ( فاسعوا الي ذكر الله): سعي  يسعي سعيا اسع  in Arabic morphology means (he walked laboriously, he will/would walk laboriously, laborious walking, walk laboriously). For this reason, nobody can walk laboriously for a purpose like that of  divine purpose of observing Jum’at service without leaving their homes to the specified  direction of their targets.

The next verse dictates thus: “Then when the Jum’ah prayer is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allâh( by working), and remember Allâh much: that you may be successful.” Sûratul Jum’ah Qur’an 62 verse 10. Any Professional Linguist in Arabic Linguistics will understand that,  “ you may disperse through the land and seek the bounty of Allâh” as above means that people from different residential homes and walks of life  in a community converged in a place outside their homes/businesses  for a religious act and were given the optional directive  of dispersing through the  land after the completion of their  religious act. Add to that, “ You may disperse through the land (فانتشروا في الأرض)”  in the verse can never be achieved without walking laboriously to Jum’at Service in a central mosque, spending sometimes for the remembrance of Allah(Khutbah and Jum’at Prayer), and then disperse through the land. The above two verses of (Qur’an 62 verses 09-10) stand as the direct injunctions from Allah   that Jum’at Prayers are to be performed in the central mosques.  

In the hadith of Anas bn Malik that is documented in the book of Abu Ya’liy( page 4,213), Angel Jibreel-peace be upon him- came to Prophet Muhammad with a Pure Glass  having a black spot in its middle, and the Prophet asked him the interpretation of the black spot, he responded that  it means  Jum’at Service which Allah made as Eid (Religious Celebration) for you and your Ummah. As a result, nobody among Islamic Scholars of the Past and Present can antagonize the fact that, Eid prayers are to be   performed outside our homes as Jum’at prayer is observed outside homes. I am still in a surprise   why    some people are still inviting us to observe Jum’at Prayers at homes?
Another Authentic Narration of the sunnah says:

عن سلمان قال : قال النبي -صلي الله عليه وسلم- " لايغتسل الرجل يوم الجمعة ويتطهر ما استطاع من طهر , ويدهن من دهنه, ويمس من طيب بيته , ثم يخرج فلا يفرق بين اثنين ثم يصلي ما كتبت له, ثم ينصت اذا تكلم الامام , الا غفر له ما بينه وبين الجمعة الأخري " ( البخاري 883 )و أبوداؤود (1113 )

Salman reported that, the Prophet of Allah -may the peace and benediction of Allâh be upon him- said :  “ When a Muslim male showers on Friday, takes appropriate ritual bath, rubs over his body with Halal cream, applies some of the perfumes in his house, then goes out (to the Public Mosque) without splitting between the sitting posture of two people(in the mosque), afterwards he observes non-obligatory prayers to the fullest of his capacity, and listens perfectly when the Imaam delivers ( the Khutbah) except that Allâh forgives his sins between the Present Jum’at Service and the Next.”(Al-Bukhariy 883) and Abu Dawood (1113)
For the sake of objectivity, both the denotation and connotation of   the expressions “applies some of his perfumes in his house”, “ then goes out” in the above hadith means that, the  place of Jum’at Services  is outside our homes, particularly a Central Mosque. Be mindful of the fact that, the four paragraphs above are preambles to the reasons why Jum’at Prayer should be observed at a Community Mosque  and the series of the evidence therein are to be  called :  السياق المقامي  Standing Contextual Structure. Then, the two statements of the Messenger of Allah above, explicitly represent the direct injunction from him to the ummah to restrict performance of Jum’at Services to Community Central Mosques. What else do they want? After truthfulness, falsehood follows and pure truthfulness can only be found in this our analysis.

To buttress my points further, the audio lectures of Sheikh Abdulqaadir Al-Salman Sholagberu as his positions are mentioned above, will also play a vital role here. After summarizing his Jurisprudential Analyses, the Public will be sufficiently convinced that, Jum’at Prayers are  to be  observed in the Central Mosques outside our homes. The key points of the audios are: 

A. الاستيطان والمسجد الجامع
●Placement of Jum’at Service in a Residential Community Central Mosque●

In the sharia, Observing Jum’at at a Public/Community  Central  Mosque is one of  the  validating conditions to complete what is called Salatul Jum’ah. Supposing   that somebody fulfills the binding conditions of Jumu’at Service as mentioned above but leaves one of the validating conditions, such a person makes their Jum’at Service null and void . Al-Isteetaan, is   where people are living and everybody can converge under the leadership of a qualified and a selected Imam. (See the Jurispundential Explanations of Al-Imam Malik in Ar-Risalah)

B. التباعد الاجتماعي
●Social Distancing●

There is no gainsaying that, the World Health Organization(WHO) recommends among other things -handwashing with Sanitizers or soaps, social distancing and Medical Check-Ups to combat COVID-19.  These recommendations match with the reality of the point that, in congregational prayers, the principles of toes to toes and shoulders to shoulders will negate the temporary application of social distancing. This temporary application is to save lives and properties of people from the pandemic and it is line with Shari’a. Consumers of raw onions, garlic, and lintels are given temporary holiday of observing their obligatory prayers at home and resume to the mosques when the irritating odours of their mouths and bodies vanish.  Telling both   the victims of COVID-19 and those who are asymptomatic to stay at home is also in line with Sharia which is فقه الأولي  Jurisprudential Interpretation to Prioritization of Occurrences. 

C . فقه البيئة

●Understanding Societal Needs●
It is not possible to have Jum’at prayer at one particular home in a street without directly or indirectly inviting some members of the community to the Jum’at Service. By so doing, laid down rules and regulations by the constituted authority in regards to combating the epidemic will be violated. Whereas the first people who supposed to accommodate and apply the directives of their government that do not negate worshipping of Allah are Muslims. Doing otherwise will lead   to clash between the government and non-law abiding citizens. It is pertinent to mention here that, any Jurist giving verdict should do that after interpreting and understanding the local laws of their communities. The most relevant local laws in Nigeria and many countries of the world now  is cessation of movement cum social distancing due to COVID-19. Anyone who establishes Jum’at Service at their homes negates the local law  and misunderstands/misinterprets the   shari’a which entrusts us with the obligation of maintaining the Jama’ah; that is staying with guided group of Muslims under the leadership of a qualified Imaam

C. فقه الضرورات

●Understanding Situational Necessities●

Temporal suspension of Social Gatherings by the government is a necessity in curbing COVID -19. In the sharia, there are   some factors that can cause transferable injuries   and non-transferable injuries  that we are restricted by them for not attending congregational prayers. Eating of Onion, Garlic, Lintels, and   heavy rains are examples of Factors with Transferable Injury while Fear of Meeting Creditors on our way to the mosques is non-transferable injury. The heavier transferable   injury is to contract COVID-19 which is why temporal banning of Jum’at Services is welcomed.

D. التحيل علي الشريعة

●Disguising with the  Interpretation of Sharia●

Sometimes, some people would make impermissible acts permissible in other to achieve their personal aims and objectives. This act is disguising with Sharia. It is an open secret that, every Muslim in Nigeria follows the school of thoughts of Al-Imaam Malik. Why is it that, in this very period some   people would like to make observing Jum’at Prayers at home  a case by diverting to another school of thoughts which they have not been using previously  before the pandemic whereas we know that;   المقاصد والنيات معتبرة في التصرف Our conducts are products of our goals and intentions. 

Moving from one   school of thought like that of Al-Imaam Maalik to another school of thought, and negating the General Consensus of the Jurists in other to   achieve a particular objective and create disunity among the Ummah of Muhammad is nothing but Disguizing with the Interpretation of Shari’a. Therefore, this kind of action correlates with the previous action of the   Jews that is reported in the Glorious Qur’an: 

“ And ask them (O Muhammad ) about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbat ( Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus, We made a trial of them, for they used to rebel against Allah’s command (disobey Allah)” Qur’an 7 verse 163.

E. ملكة استنباط الأحكام من الكتاب والسنة وظيفة العلماء المتخصصين
●Intellectual Ability of Extracting Shari’a Verdicts from Qur’an and Sunnah is basically the Function of Specialized Islamic Scholars●

One of the societal challenges we as Muslims are facing is that, some students of Islamic Scholarship only studied Islam via the reading of Islamic Literature in English Language. Many of this people only read pamphlets and not specialized Islamic Texts. With this, they believe they can independently extract Sharia   verdicts   and announce them  as final status quo without going back to consult the specialists; especially those who studied Sharia with pure Arabic Language. It is pertinent to mention that, this is an academic clash between the two parties. Even As-Shatibi in his Muwafaqaat said: للعربية هي عين الدين  By Allah, understanding the linguistics of Arabic Language helps in understanding the religion.

●Conclusion●

Dear respected brothers and sisters in Islam, Shari’a is a technical, professional and knowledge-based field that is amazingly admired throughout the world. For this reason, it is impossible to place Engineers in the position of Medical Doctors. Giving the jobs of Islamic Scholars to Geographists   is also an impossibility.

Another example is  to release  an Aeroplane to a person who read the manual of piloting  within a week or less to become a pilot flying on both  local and international airspaces   without being exposed to both academic and professional trainings for specified numbers of years before qualification and certification. The same thing applies to non-professional Islamic Muftis who did not surrender themselves to proper trainings before assuming the position of Iftaa. It is Islamically advisable to respect professionalism of Islamic Religious Scholars of both the past and the present, have open discussions with them on issues affecting the generality of the Muslims before coming to a particular conclusion.

From the ongoing discussions, one can conclude that, it is not permissible observing Jum’at Prayers at homes because it negates the Unanimous Consensus of the scholars of Islam as Al-as-Qalany mentioned in his treatise. Before them, Prophet Muhammad-may the peace and benediction of Allah be upon him- who directed us to pray as we saw him praying never observed Jum’at Prayers at homes despite the Siege or  cessation of movement that he encountered from the evil plot of the atheists. The three best generations of his companions never did that   despite the fact that, some of them experienced plagues under their administrative leaderships. Had it been that, it was permissible, they would have done that to set the record straight for the generations that will come after them to emulate. 

We still assume that, those that  want us to shift our Jum’at Services to our homes so that we can have quack and unlimited  Imaams for one Jum’at service in a community of 25 people -for instance- are either talking from their love to say something different from the Specialist Jurists among the Ummah or they are talking from blind emotions العواطف العمياء  which always becloud the sense of reasoning in line with the dictates of Al-Kitaab and Sunnah and  in accordance with  the understanding of the pious predecessors. But they will actually be guided aright if they are ready to compare and contrast their views with our standing using the principle of objective criticism. The quotation below can summarize our position:

The sweetest of it all, is to read from Ibnul Qayim-may Allah have mercy on him-

" ولا يتمكن المفتي ولا الحاكم من الفتوي والحكم الا بنوعين من الفهم

أحداهما: فهم الواقع والفقه فيه , واستنباط علم حقيقة ما وقع بالقرائن والأمارات والعلامات , حتي يحيط به علما.
والثاني الأخير: فهم الواجب في الواقع  , وهو فهم حكم الله الذي حكم به في كتابه أو علي لسان رسوله في هذا الواقع
ثم يطبق أحدهما علي الأخر, فمن بذل جهده واستفرغ وسعه في ذلك, لم يعدم أجرين أو أجرا. فالعالم من يتوصل بمعرفة الواقع والتفقه فيه الي معرفة حكم الله ورسوله. ( اعلام الموقعين 254⁄3 )

“ An Official Expounder of Islamic Law(Mufti) cannot easily delivers Islamic Verdicts on Issues  except with two Kinds of Understanding:
First of It; Understanding the current situation with its Jurisprudential Concepts. This leads to researching on the situation by the tools of comparison, contrast, denotations, and examples. Then, full understanding will emerge via professional usages of the tools.

The Second is; Expounding Allah’s judgement on the present situation by using divine book and the tradition of Prophet Muhammad. A Mufti will balance the equation on both concepts. Whoever uses their efforts and intellectual capacity would never lose  one or two rewards(from Allah). An original scholar is he who by his comprehension of situations of things arrives at validating the verdicts of Allah and His Messenger on the situation. “

_Sheikh Uthman Jaarullah bn Zakariyyah Oladele bn Abdillahi is an Alumnus of Darul Kitaab Wa Sunnah, College of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Ilorin; Founder & CEO Uthman Zakariyyah Longrich Business Ventures, Lagos State, Nigeria

Contact: (+234) 8166 239 154 whatsapp and phone calls,
Olas_a@yahoo.com

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