Given the exceptional circumstances the world is going through and the risks that surround people due to the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic and given the commitment and adherence to the rules of social distancing that the government has committed to; the mosque management will find it exceedingly difficult for all mosque attendees to be able to obtain places inside the mosque due to the limited capacity. As well, there are those who will not be able to come to pray in the mosque due to their health condition or any other reason.
We would like to inform you that the honourable Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Yusuf Al-Judai ', the Mufti and Sharia advisor of the Leeds Grand Mosque has issued a fatwa "On following the imam during Tarawih prayers through live broadcasts”.
Its summary and its meaning:
To follow the imam through a mean that live broadcasts his voice or image, is correct.
Praying behind the imam is by following the example, as in the meaning of the hadith of the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him:
“The Imam is appointed to be followed, make takbeer when he makes takbeer; bow when he bows; rise when he rises; and if he says, 'Sami`a l-lahu-liman hamidah, say then, 'Rabbana wa laka lhamd and prostrate when he prostates.” (Agreed upon)
This is what many mosques do when they become full of worshippers and run out of space, they may use extra places (or rooms) where the rows are not connected, and the imam is not seen and his voice is only heard through loudspeakers or screens that directly transmit his actions, so their prayers are still valid.
Here are some important points that must be taken into account:
- It is better to attend the mosque for the five daily prayers and Taraweeh, and whoever can read from his memorization or the “moshaf” and cannot come to the mosque, it is better for him to pray by himself or lead his family at home.
- The ruling in this fatwa does not extend to the Friday prayer. The Friday prayer is not prescribed except for the sake of meeting for it and striving for it, and therefore it is not held except in mosques or places of public meeting.
- The condition for the validity of following the imam by the live broadcast is to share with him the same time of the prayer and the same night of the Taraweeh prayer.
- The usual praying of the jammah in the mosques is not one of the conditions for the validity of following the imam, as this matter is related to the jurisprudence of exception.
- If the broadcast was interrupted due to a technical issue, the follower will have to complete the prayer himself.
In conclusion: ALLAH Almighty says: “and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship”, as well as other verses of the noble Qur’an from which our scholars have derived rules and principles of leniency and easy, and leeway in Islamic jurisprudence, such as the principle: "Hardship brings ease."
This fatwa from the honourable Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Yusuf Al-Judai ', the Mufti and Sharia advisor of the Leeds Grand Mosque comes in the context of the jurisprudence of exception and the exceptional provisions for the current circumstances due to the pandemic afflicting people.