The Al-Azhar Islamic Scholars orders a fatwa (Sharia legal opinion not to perform Friday prayers and congregational prayers to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). This decision was taken at a joint meeting with Haiah Kibaril Ulama al-Azhar (Association of the Grand Ulama of al-Azhar) on Sunday, 3/15 Egyptian time.
The fatwa for the cancellation of Friday prayers and congregational prayers is based on mutual interests and benefits, of course, in order to prevent transmission of the Coronavirus. “This decision was taken after observing that the Coronavirus spread quickly to become a global pandemic” Al-Azhar released via Twitter.
Furthermore, in the fatwa, Al-Azhar Islamic scholars also give a suggestion for people who are sick and elderly groups to remain at home and obey the health authorities’ statement in each region.
According to al-Azhar Islamic scholars, one of the two obstacles who allows someone to leave Friday prayers and congregational prayers is fear and pain. One of the propositions used as a reference is the hadith narrated by Abu Dawud, explaining the Prophet Muhammad has told us that prayer obstacle is sick and afraid.
In addition to this, the Islamic scholars also compared with other arguments in the Hadith al-Bukhari that told the story of Prophet Muhammad asked people to get out of the mosque and pray at home because he had just eaten onions, while the smell can disturb others.
عن جابر بن عبد الله رضي الله عنه أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: «من أكل ثومًا أو بصلًا فليعتزلن ليه وسلم قال:« من أكل ثومًا أو بصلًا فليعتزلن ليه
Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who has eaten garlic or onion should keep away from us or our mosques.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
The al-Azhar scholars also appealed to the muezzins to keep the call to prayer and add the phrase “Shallu fi buyutikum” (Please pray at your houses).
Nevertheless, the Islamic scholars of al-Azhar still appealed to the community to continue worshiping Allah and remember Allah in their homes in order to ask Allah to stop this pandemic as soon as possible.