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)
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.