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MJC issues fatwa on Co-VID 19

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THE CORONA VIRUS AND OUR RELIGIOUS OBLIGATIONS

The outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic, and the preventative measures adopted by our
government as announced in the President’s speech on 15/03/2020, have necessitated that the
manner in which Muslims conduct their religious obligations align with the universal
imperative of containing the spread of the virus.

Muslims, as much as they carry the obligation of certain religious observances, also share with
all other South Africans and citizens of the world the civil responsibility of ensuring safety and
preserving life.

The Muslim Judicial Council, after due internal and external consultation and deliberation, in full
cognisance of the imperatives that govern this situation, and with due acknowledgement of
alternative points of view, therefore issues the following directives:
1. JUMUʿAH
As much as the preservation of life and ensuring safety of the community is our collective
responsibility, we recognise the role of Jumuʿah as one of the most important shaʿāʾir (public
motifs) of Islam. As long as it remains feasible to observe both these obligations—Jumuʿah
as well as the civil duty to preserve life and health—neither should of necessity have to be
sacrificed for the sake of the other.
1.1. JUMUʿAH AT MASĀJID
1.1.1. As such, the masājid should not be completely closed, neither for Jumuʿah nor
for the congregational ṣalāh. Rather, the observance of Jumuʿah should happen
within the parameters that follow.
1.1.2. Jumuʿah congregations at masājid where Jumuʿah regularly takes place must be
restricted to a maximum of 100 individuals.
1.1.3. Committees managing the masājid should adopt measures to specifically
identify, list and regulate the individuals who will make up the group of 100.
1.1.4. This can be done by asking individuals who want to attend to submit their
names, and thereafter select a group of 100 persons per week from the list of
names submitted.
1.1.5. In order to avoid confusion the list of persons attending Jumuʿah at a particular
masjid should be made publicly known well in advance of Friday. At the masjid
only these 100 persons will be allowed to enter the masjid.
1.1.6. As far as possible, wuḍū should be made at home. Wuḍu facilities at the masjid
must be regularly disinfected, and provision should be made for paper towels
instead of cloth towels.
1.1.7. People are encouraged to bring along their own muṣallas to the masjid.
1.1.8. Any ṣalāh other than the farḍ should preferably be made at home, and
individuals attending the masjid should not linger after completion of the farḍ.
1.1.9. Jumuʿah at the masjid should be brief, not exceeding the basic integrals of
Jumuʿah, and not going over 10-15 minutes. The customary lecture should be
suspended till further notice.
1.1.10.As long as the non-attendance of Jumuʿah at the masjid is motivated by the
intention of contributing to community health and safety, it is in no way less
meritorious than actual attendance.

1.2. ALTERNATIVE JUMUʿAH VENUES
1.2.1. The truncation of Jumuʿah at the masājid leaves out a considerable number of
people. Alternative Jumuʿah venues should be arranged for those left out of
Jumuʿah at the masjid.
1.2.2. Groups such as masjid committees, people in the same vicinity, or employees at
the same company should, with the help of the imām of their area, identify
suitable spaces (eg. classrooms, empty areas, parking lots) where they could
gather at midday on a Friday for the performance of Jumuʿah.
1.2.3. Jumuʿah performed at such ad hoc locations should be limited to the integrals,
not exceeding 10-15 minutes. Specimen khuṭbahs will be available from the MJC.
1.2.4. Four persons—i.e. an imām and three followers—will suffice for a valid
performance of Jumuʿah, in line with the position espoused by the Shāfiʿi jurists
al-Muzanī, Ibn al-Mundhir and al-Suyūṭī.
1.2.5. The MJC is willing to assist with identifying suitable persons to conduct Jumuʿah
at these ad hoc locations. For assistance in this regard, call Ml Siraaj Girie at the
MJC Fatwa Department at 021 6844600.

1.3. THOSE WHO CANNOT PERFORM JUMUʿAH
1.3.1. Those whose circumstances preclude them from attending Jumuʿah should
perform Thuhr ṣalāh instead.
1.3.2. People who experience a serious degree of fear and apprehension of contracting
the virus are exempted from Jumuʿah.
1.3.3. People who due to circumstances cannot perform Jumuʿah, and perform Thuhr
instead, should note that they are not sinful.

1.4. PERSONS WHO SHOULD NOT ATTEND JUMUʿAH
1.4.1. In the interests of minimising numbers at Jumuʿah, females and children should
not attend.
1.4.2. To minimise the risk of spreading the virus the following categories of people are
strongly discouraged from attending Jumuʿah:
1.4.2.1. The elderly.
1.4.2.2. Persons with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, hypertension,
diabetes, and cancer.
1.4.2.3. Persons who suffer from compromised immunity on account of
conditions such as TB, HIV, or AIDS.
1.4.2.4. Persons presenting with flu or cold symptoms.
1.4.2.5. Persons who recently travelled overseas.

2. JAMĀʿAH
2.1. For awqāt at which congregations in excess of 100 persons are expected, it is advised to
restrict the jamāʿah in the masjid to 100.
2.2. Arrangements should be made to accommodate numbers above 100 in alternative
spaces on the same premises, eg. classrooms, halls.
2.3. Those who will make ṣalāh at home are encouraged to pray in congregation with their
families. They will receive the same reward as making ṣalāh with jamāʿah in the masjid.
2.4. The same considerations pertaining to wuḍū and sunnah ṣalāh will apply to ṣalāh in
jamāʿah as apply to Jumuʿah. (See 1.1.6, 1.1.7 and 1.1.8 above)
2.5. Imāms are encouraged to uphold the sunnah of the Qunūt Nāzilah in Fajr.

3. OTHER COLLECTIVE SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
3.1. Gatherings in the masjid for occasions such as Miʿrāj and mid-Shaʿbān are discouraged
and should ideally be suspended for the present.
3.2. Alternative measures such as lectures over radio or electronic means should be
adopted.
3.3. Other social gatherings or occasions such as nikāḥs, janāzahs, dhikr sessions, classes
etc. should be restricted in terms of numbers.

4. SOCIAL ETIQUETTE
4.1. Minimise or avoid handshaking. Encourage salām.
4.2. All unnecessary physical contact should be avoided. Physical contact is the chief means
through which the virus spreads.
4.3. Distancing oneself from others, especially in ṣalah, is not specifically required. Maintain
normal ṣaffs in ṣalāh.
4.4. The sunnah of washing the hands is emphasised. Hands should ideally be washed with
soap, preferably liquid, for at least 20 seconds.
4.5. The use of hand sanitizer is acceptable, even the types that contain the alcohols
isopropanol and ethanol.

5. TEMPORARY MEASURES
5.1. The adoption of each of the above measures is motivated by the serious need to contain
the spread of the Corona virus. We hope and pray that, through measures such as these,
Allah brings the situation into control.
5.2. The MJC, together with all its sister organisations, and in consultation with the
authorities, will continue to monitor the situation.
5.3. When a change for the better occurs by the permission of Allah, the required changes to
these regulations will be made known to the public.
5.4. As long as the status quo prevails, however, all Muslims are earnestly requested to
willingly cooperate in the struggle to contain the Corona virus.

واهلل تعاىل أعلم
And Allah knows best.

 

VOC


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