At the time of an epidemic disease, is it a sin not to perform Friday prayer?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In case of an epidemic disease, etc. which affects community life, if it is reported by a committee of experts that prayer in congregation is dangerous and if the state authorities approve this ban, it is necessary to obey this prohibition. Those who do not obey will become sinners.

This is valid for Friday prayer and eid prayer, which can only be performed in congregation (jama'ah) and also valid for other daily prayers performed with jama'ah.

When we understand the verses of the Qur'an and hadith as a whole, the result is as follows: epidemic diseases could happen, and it is Allah’s and the prophet's order to take precautions for it.

Fiqh is based on 5 fundamental purposes: to preserve life, mind, religion, property/wealth and generation/human species.

When these assets and values are in danger, the doors of permissions are opened and harams and restrictions are suspended to a certain extent and for a certain time.

Religion bans stealing and grabbing others’ property, but if a starving person steals or grabs food that is enough to survive, he is not to be punished, and it is not haram for him to eat and drink what he grabs and steals.

Religion orders fasting. If someone fears that he will be sick or his sickness will worsen due to fasting, he does not have to fast; he gives a certain amount of money to the poor instead.

In case of rain, mud, frost, danger, sickness, contagion or increase of sickness, protection of wealth or family, a person does not have to go to mosque; he does not have to perform Friday prayer. He stays at home and performs zuhr (noon) prayer instead.

These rules and decrees should also be applied related to epidemic diseases like coronavirus.

Science committees agree that if the required precautions are not applied strictly, coronavirus spreads rapidly. These precautions include staying away from crowds, avoiding skin contact and being very close to each other.

In that case, zuhr prayer will be performed instead of Friday prayer if it is understood to be unsafe for personal and social health.

We can say that Muslims who perform zuhr prayer alone in their homes will receive the thawab (reward) of both Friday prayer and congregation.

When our Prophet was informed that there was a patient with leprosy among delegation of Thaqif, who were coming to Medinah to pay allegiance to him, our Prophet wanted that patient to go back and declared that his allegiance was accepted. (Muslim, Salam, 126; Ibn Majah, Tibb, 44)

So, the allegiance of a person who cannot pay allegiance in person due to his sickness is accepted in his absence.

Then, Muslims who always perform Friday prayer but who cannot attend it because of sickness or epidemic are regarded to have performed it in congregation in the mosque when they  perform zuhr prayer; Inshallah they will receive the reward of both Friday prayer and congregation.

We can say that the same thing is valid for other prayers too.

If a Muslim who always performs prayers in congregation in the mosque or in other places is not allowed to go to mosque due to an epidemic, he will inshallah receive the thawab of congregation when he performs prayers individually. If there was not this epidemic, he was going to go to mosque and perform the prayer in congregation. In that case, he will receive the reward of his intention.

Nevertheless, those who perform daily prayers in their homes should try to perform them in congregation with their spouses and children. They should make their homes a private mosque and madrasah. Thus, we hope they will be rewarded more.

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