Is Concern of Contracting the Coronavirus or Transmitting it a Valid Reason to not Attend Jamā‘ah or Jumu‘ah?

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)

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I’la’ al-Sunan: The Obligation of Attending Jama’ah in the Masjid

Is performing the Fard salahs in jama’ah an obligation for men? If so, is this obligation discharged by performing them in congregation at home, in the workplace or another musalla? Or is it a further obligation to perform the jama’ah in the masjid?

‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmani discusses the answers to these questions in detail in the section from his I’la’ al-Sunan translated in the file linked below. He provides a thorough analysis of the hadiths on the topic and carefully determines the position of the Hanafi madhhab from the statements of its great early jurists, like al-Halwani, Qadi Khan and al-Kasani (may Allah have mercy on them).

The translation includes the chapter of I’la’ al-Sunan that immediately follows on the valid Shar’i excuses that frees one of blame if he were to not attend the masjid for jama’ah. Continue Reading