Some people are asking if it is permissible for men to not attend the masjid for Jamā‘ah or Jumu‘ah on account of fear of being infected by the coronavirus or transmitting it to someone else.
“Sickness” is a valid excuse to not attend Jamā‘ah/Jumu‘ah. Sickness in this context refers only to such sicknesses that make it intensely difficult to attend the masjid. Hence, ‘Allāmah Ẓafar Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī explains the sickness that excuses one from attending Jamā‘ah as follows:
والمراد بالمرض ما يتعذر به الحضور إلى الجماعة
“What is meant by sickness is that which makes it intensely difficult to attend the Jamā‘ah.” (I‘lā’ Sunan, Idārat al-Qur’ān, 4:204)
In this book, originally titled Īmān Aur Kufr Qur’ān Kī Roshnī Mein (Īmān and Kufr in Light of the Qur’ān), Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘* provides a detailed explanation of the principles of Takfīr (declaring someone outside the fold of Islām). As he explains in the preface to the book, most of the academic content is taken from a highly technical and largely inaccessible work by his teacher, ‘Allāmah Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīrī, called Ikfār al-Mulḥidīn. Thus, writing for the benefit of a more popular audience, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ offers a clear understanding of what constitutes Īmān and Kufr, and outlines the principles on which a person who claims to be Muslim while denying core elements of Islām will be deemed a Kāfir.
Since the work was written shortly after the creation of Pakistan, Mufti Muḥammad Shafī‘ also includes a short tangential discussion on the two-nation theory (which was the basis for the creation of Pakistan).
In light of Zandaqah (crypto-Kufr) and Ilḥād (heretical distortion) – concepts discussed in detail in the book – being on the rise today, Muftī Shafī‘’s work is all the more relevant and important.
Some rulings of Islām change based on a person being in a Muslim-governed territory or “Dār al-Islām” or in a non-Muslim governed territory or “Dār al-Ḥarb”. What constitutes a Dār al-Islām or Dār al-Ḥarb is therefore a vitally important question of Fiqh.
In the context of British-rule in 19th century India, Mawlānā Rashīd Aḥmad Gangohī* (1244-1323/1829-1905) provides a detailed answer to this question. There is in particular some misunderstanding over the position of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah. Hence, Mawlānā Gangohī outlines the principle used to designate a region as Dār al-Islām or Dār al-Ḥarb, clarifies the view of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah and then applies the principle to the context of British India.** A translation of his answer is provided below.
Are wives responsible for housework?
The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Each of you is responsible and will be asked about his responsibility…The man is responsible for [maintaining] his household and the woman is responsible for [the upkeep of] the house and children of her husband.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 5200) Imām al-Khaṭṭābī explains: “As for a man’s responsibility over his family, it [means] supervising them, managing their affair and fulfilling their right of maintenance and [good] companionship. As for the woman’s responsibility over the house of her husband, it [means] good management in the upkeep of his house and minding those under her care like [his] dependents, guests and servants.” (A‘lām al-Ḥadīth, 1:580)
It is reported that the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) determined that Fāṭimah (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā), his daughter, is responsible for the work inside the house, while Alī (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhu), her husband, is responsible for the work outside the house. (Muṣannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, 29677) ‘Ᾱbid al-Sindī explains that work “outside the house” refers to things like “collecting firewood and water, and acquiring maintenance”, while work “inside the house” refers to activities like “grinding, baking and kneading”. (Ṭawāli‘ al-Anwār, 6:410) The work was so difficult for Fāṭimah (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhā) that she complained to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) of marks on her hands, and asked for a maidservant. The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), however, told her that better than a maidservant is to recite tasbīḥ before going to sleep. (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 5361) The author of al-Hidāyah, Imām al-Marghīnānī, thus explains: “When a woman is from those who serve themselves, she must cook and bake [and do housework], because the Prophet (upon him peace) allocated the chores inside the house to Fātimah (Allāh be pleased with her).” (Mukhtārāt al-Nawāzil, 2:194) Continue Reading
What is the Islāmic ruling on forming alliances, joining or working together with non-Muslim political parties, or taking assistance from non-Muslim groups or individuals for state administrative purposes?
What is the Islāmic ruling on taking the assistance of non-Muslim organisations to perform exclusively religious work or work exclusive to the Muslim community, like Zakāt collection/distribution or running a masjid?
In the following article, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ provides an in-depth analysis of these questions. His discussion is written in the context of the political debates of his time in British India, where different political groups fought for independence and power. Should Muslims work with/join Congress, an ostensibly secular party, or should they join the Muslim League, an openly Muslim party? In exploring these debates, the article provides a useful historical background. It was written in the form of a fatwā shortly after the death of Mufti Shafī‘’s mentor, Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī al-Thanawi, and was endorsed by several leading scholars, including ‘Allāmah Shabbīr Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī and ‘Allāmah Ẓafar Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī.
The following is the translation of an essay by Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ (1897 – 1976 CE)* written in the year 1932 CE. It deals with the subject of personal interactions/dealings with non-Muslims, outlining that such interactions should be respectful albeit infrequent, and should not border on close friendship or become overly frequent.** Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ lived in India under British colonial rule and was one of the most learned scholars of that era. He was writing therefore in a context not so different to that of Muslims in western countries or other non-Muslim majority countries. He also wrote a lengthier treatise on the limits of participating with non-Muslim organisations (primarily, political organisations) to achieve religio-political goals, a translation of which will also be released shortly.
According to the clear statements of the Ḥanafī Fuqahā’ and their understanding of the Dalā’il of Sharī‘ah, women should neither attend congregational ṣalāhs at the masjid nor attend the Eid Ṣalāh. Many people have raised objections against this position. Some of these objections reflect common misunderstandings. We therefore felt it would be appropriate to write a comprehensive clarification, addressing the following issues:
- Approach to Dīn and its Aḥkām (commands)
- Rulings may change based on circumstances
- Opinions of the Fuqahā’ and their explanations of the Dalā’il
- It is more rewarding for women to pray at home
- A woman’s emergence from the home should be restricted
In the course of the clarification, we hope to address most of the substantive objections raised against the Ḥanafī stance, in particular the claim that it opposes the clear guidance of the Sunnah on women being allowed to attend congregational ṣalāhs at the masjid and being encouraged to attend Eid Ṣalāh.
Muftī Muḥammd Shafī‘ (1897 – 1976) narrates the following statement from his father, Mawlānā Muḥammad Yāsīn Deobandī (1865 – 1936) , about his experience at Dārul ‘Ulūm Deoband in the late 19th century:
“I witnessed such a period at Dārul ‘Ulūm [Deoband] when, from the headmaster to the lowest teacher, from the chancellor to the caretaker and servant, all were great possessors of a permanent bond [with Allāh] (ṣāḥib-e-nisbat) and friends of Allāh (awliyā’ullāh). At that time, Dārul ‘Ulūm felt like an institute of learning in the daytime and a Khānqāh in the evening. The sound of remembrance and recitation [of Qur’ān] could be heard from most rooms until the end of the night. This, in reality, was Dārul ‘Ulūm’s mark of distinction – which made it stand out from all the madrasas in the world.” (Mere Wālid e Mājid, Idārat al-Ma‘ārif, p. 62) 
Imitation of non-Muslims or sinful people is not permissible, and is known as tashabbuh (unlawful imitation).
The following fall under tashabbuh:
- Imitation in a distinguishing characteristic of non-Muslim group/s or sinful group/s, seeing which in an individual creates a suspicion that he/she belongs with them, is like them or commits the same acts as them. 
- Imitation in a religious practice/custom of non-Muslims. 
- Imitation in something done with the intention of copying them, even if it is not religious or exclusive to them. 
It does not include something non-religious that is in principle permissible and not regarded as a distinguishing characteristic of theirs (e.g. certain forms of dress, eating certain dishes, dining on chairs and tables, speaking different languages, using certain medications or tools, using certain modes of transport, etc.) when not practised with the intention of copying them. 
It should be kept in mind that the example of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is superior in all matters. Even in matters that are not religious – like the manner of dress, sitting, eating, sleeping and so on – it is recommended as far as possible to copy the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) with the intention of being more like him. 
Mawlānā Manẓūr Nu‘mānī (1905 – 1997) describes his father, Ṣūfī Aḥmad Ḥusayn (d. 1949), as someone whose “concern for Ᾱkhirah was greater than his concern for Dunyā, and while fully occupied in his work, he was from those who remembered Allāh much. The adhkār at different times included within his daily practices numbered around 20,000 in total. In one period, his practice was to recite Durūd Sharīf 4,000 times after ‘Ishā prayer. He was so punctual on Tahajjud that when I asked my noble deceased mother after his demise whether she was aware that our dear father had ever missed Tahajjud, she replied that when she first arrived, he would at times miss Tahajjud but on those days he would definitely keep fast, but for around thirty years, he never once missed it. My respected father died in Ramaḍān of 1368 in such a state that the tasbīḥ was in his hand and he was making dhikr.” (Taḥdīth e Ni‘mat, p. 22)