By Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
A concept of our Dīn worth remembering is that the various rulings and prescribed acts of worship are not ‘necessarily’ about feeling a vibe, enjoyment or feeling better. Rather, what is required from us is ‘adherence’ (الإتّباع) and ‘submission to God’ (الإستسلام).
Indeed, we will often enjoy and feel spiritual when carrying out a certain act of worship (ibadah). If that transpires, then Al-hamdulillah. One should be grateful and thankful to Allah for being granted the ability (tawfiq) to worship Him, and at the same time, given enjoyment and pleasure during it. However, on some other occasions, we may not feel the same vibe and pleasure. This is the real test from Allah, whether we carry on or slack off.
At times, we may want to do a certain act of worship because we feel a positive vibe or spirituality in doing it. However, the command of Allah for us may be to not do it. In this case, we must avoid doing what we feel like doing or ‘enjoy’ doing, rather our duty is to obey Allah’s command and submit to him. Our wants, desires, positive feelings and good vibes must be sacrificed before the command of our Lord and Creator.
For example, a sister may feel left out, sad and gutted that she is unable to fast during Ramadan due to being on her monthly period (hayd). She longs to fast and feels spiritually fulfilled by fasting, but she sacrifices her own ‘want’ because the command of her Lord is to not fast. Likewise, a person feels such spiritual pleasure in fasting for Allah that he or she wants to fast even on Eid day. However, he or she abandons the fast simply because the command of God is to not fast on the two days of Eid. In essence, our deen is all about submitting to God – what He wants from us we do, at the time He wants us to do it, and in a manner that He wants us to do it. This is the meaning of ‘Islam’ or ‘istislam’ (submission).
Keeping the above in mind, if we take the current unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, many people have probably never experienced a Ramadan or Eid like this. We miss the mosque vibe, opening our fasts collectively, performing Tarawih together, observing i’tikaf in the masjid, waking up early in the morning to go to the mosque for Eid prayers, wearing our best clothes and so forth. However – keeping the above mentioned Islamic principle in mind – if the command of the Shari’ah is for us to avoid any of the above, then that becomes an act of reward, because we would be obeying the command of Allah.
If the government and medical advice is that friends should not all open their fast together and there should be social distancing, then that is what we must do. Indeed, we miss the ‘Iftar vibe’ but remember it’s not about the vibe, it’s about the requirement of the Shari’ah – not to put one’s self or anyone else in danger. Likewise, we may be accustomed to hugging one another on Eid day, but if the advice is to avoid it, then that becomes an act of virtue. Not hugging others on Eid with the intention of protecting oneself and others from catching the virus becomes an act of reward, whilst in normal situations hugging a Muslim with the intention to show kindness and love is an act of reward.
The same applies to the Eid Prayers. I know many of us can’t imagine having an Eid without performing the Eid Salah. It has become a symbol of Muslim identity for many people. It’s how many of us ‘feel’ that it is a day of Eid. However, once again, it is important to remember that it is not about the feeling. Without going into the fiqh of whether Eid Salah should be performed at home or not (we know there are diverse opinions within the Fiqh Madhabs), If the Madhab or scholar you have always been following issues the ruling that the Eid Prayer can not be performed at home, then just embrace it and do not feel down or despondent about it. Indeed, you want to perform it and feel the Eid vibe, but if the ruling – in relation to you – is that there is no Eid Prayer at home, then do not feel sad. There is no need to break the law and try and gather outside in halls and parks for Eid Prayers with friends and family, and potentially put yourself and others at risk.
Keep in mind that Allah knows your intention. He knows that you want to offer the prayer for Him. Remember also that the Fajr Prayer on Eid day is much more important to Him than the Eid prayer. Also, you can still worship Allah in other ways; for example, in the Hanafi School, one may offer two or four Rak’at nafl prayers. The Hadith mentions that the Eid prayer is for collecting our reward and gift from
Allah in return of the worship and effort we put during Ramadan. Our Lord is still present and can still grant us rewards even at home. Thus, spend the day offering the five prayers, maybe some nafl prayers too, avoid sins, rejoice and express happiness with family at home, and it will still be an Eid In Sha Allah.
The above is for those who will not be performing the Eid prayer at home due to the ruling provided by the Fiqh/Madhab/Scholars they follow. However, if one follows a Madhab/Fiqh/Scholars who allow the performance of Eid Salah at home, then go ahead and perform it as a way of thanking Allah – keeping in mind that the reason you’re performing Eid Salat at home is not to fulfil the inner feeling or desiring a vibe, but rather, because the Fiqh or Madhab allows it or even encourages, and through it you want to submit to the command of your Lord.
In conclusion, we must do what we or our Madhab/scholar thinks what Allah wants us to do – and not do things just for sentimental reasons or enjoyment. Ultimately, it’s all about submission to God. May Allah Most High grant us the tawfiq to adorn ourselves with the qualities of submission and slavehood to Him, Ameen.
What is the different views on Eid Prayer during Covid-19 lockdown in different Madhabs?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
According to the Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali Schools of Sunni Islamic law, it is permissible, even in regular circumstances, for the one who misses the Eid Salat at the mosque or musalla to perform it at home, either individually or in congregation – though some Maliki jurists are of the opinion that it must be performed individually. There is no requirement, however, to have the sermon (khutba) delivered. (See for the Maliki School: Mawahib al-Jalil li sharh Mukhtasar al-Khalil 2/581, for the Shafi’i School: Rawdat al-Talibin 1/578, and for the Hanbali School: Al-Mughni 3/284)
Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him), the great Shafi’i jurist, states, “Two views have been transmitted [in the Shafi’i School] on whether the Eid prayer is legislated for a slave, traveller, woman and a person praying alone at home or elsewhere. The reliable and more renowned position is that it is legislated for them.” (Al-Majmu’ sharh al-Muhaddhab 5/32)
As such, it is permitted for those following the above schools of Islamic law to perform the Eid prayer at home due to the current lockdown and the various mosques/masajid remaining closed for the general public. There are, however, differences in some peripheral details between these schools, hence one should learn the rules prior to performing the Eid prayer.
The Hanafi School
According to the Hanafi School of Sunni Islamic law, Eid prayer is treated the same as the Friday/Jumu’a prayer and, as such, all the conditions of the latter apply to the former – with the exception of the sermon (khutba).
Imam Kasani (may Allah have mercy on him), the great classical Hanafi jurist, states, “In terms of the conditions for the obligation (wujub) and validity (jawaz) of the Eid prayer, all the conditions required for the obligation and validity of the Jumu’a prayer are also required for the Eid prayer. These include: the presence of the ruler [in Muslim countries], it being a city or town, congregation and the time [of Zuhr]. The only exception is the sermon (khutba), since it is a Sunna after the prayer. Thus, the Eid prayer will be valid if the khutba is omitted. (Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/237)
Likewise, Imam Fakhr al-Din Qadhikhan states, “The prerequisites required for the [validity of] Eid prayer are the same prerequisites of the Jumu’a prayer, such as the place being a city or town, permission from the Muslim ruler (sultan) [in Muslim countries] and general permission/public access (idhn aam)…” (Fatawa Qadhikhan 1/162)
Basis of the Hanafi Position
The Hanafi School’s position is based on the fact that both the Jumu’a and Eid prayers have been mentioned together as important and formal communal prayers, where things like it taking place in a city or large town is a prerequisite – as per some narrations (athar).
Sayyiduna Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Jumu’a, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha prayers are not valid except in a city or large town.” (Musannafs of Abd al-Razzaq and Ibn Abi Shayba; similar statements are related from some other companions and their students which can been found in the Musannaf of Imam Ibn Abi Shayba 2/536)
Moreover, the Jumu’a and Eid prayers have been continually, since the first generation of Muslims (al-sadr al-awwal), performed in cities/large towns and in congregation. (Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/237)
Accordingly, in the Hanafi School, there is no makeup (qada) for the Eid prayer if one missed it at the mosque or musalla. Imam Haskafi (may Allah have mercy on him) states, “One will not perform the Eid prayer alone if one misses performing it with the imam [at the mosque or musalla], even if one invalidates it after commencement.” (Al-Durr al-Mukhtar 3/58)
Imam Kasani (may Allah have mercy on him) explains in his Al-Bada’i al-Sana’i that if one misses performing the Eid prayer with the imam, then according to Imam Shafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him), one may make up for it alone with the additional takbirat of Eid. However, according to us [the Hanafis] there is no makeup (qada). The reason is that, as with the Friday/Jumu’a prayer, the specific and unique manner of performing this prayer is known only through the action of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) – and he never performed it except with a congregation, like the Jumu’a prayer. As such, it is necessary to perform the Eid prayer in a manner that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) performed it. Secondly, the Eid prayer has specific characteristics and prerequisites that are difficult to fulfil when making up for it. As such, there is no makeup (qada) for Eid prayer, just as there is no makeup for the Jumu’a prayer [rather one will perform Zuhr instead]. (Bada’ al-Sana’i 2/249)
Incidentally, Imam Ibn Taymiya (Allah have mercy on him) holds the same position as that of the Hanafi School. (See: Majmu’a al-Fatawa 17/258)
The condition of congregation
After having established that the conditions for the validity of the Jumu’a prayer apply also to the Eid prayer in the Hanafi School, two conditions – of the several stipulated – are of importance in light of the current COVID-19 lockdown. The first is the condition of performing the prayer as part of a congregation. All the classical Hanafi jurists (fuqaha) are in agreement that the Jumu’a and Eid prayers can only be performed in congregation. As for the number, the relied upon position within the school is that there must be four people including the Imam. (Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/210)
Incidentally, according to Imam Shafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him), there must be 41 people including the imam for the Jumu’a prayer, yet a person can perform the Eid prayer alone. An ill-disciplined mixing of two favourable opinions would be to follow the Hanafi School for Jumua’, and the Shafi’i school for Eid!
The condition of public access
A second, and somewhat controversial, condition within the Hanafi School in relation to the Jumu’a prayer – and by extension the Eid prayer – is that general permission and access (idhn aam) is granted for Muslims to join the prayer. Imam Kasani (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions that this condition is implied through the verse of the Quran, “O you who believe, when the call for prayer is proclaimed on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah, and leave trade.” (62:9) He explains that Allah Most High prescribed “proclaiming/calling out” for the Jumu’a prayer, and this “calling out” is for publicising, so that everyone – without exception – is granted permission to attend the prayer. (Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/213)
Various explanations have been offered in relation to this condition. After thoroughly analysing the various texts of classical Hanafi jurists on the matter – such as Radd al-Muhtar, Bada’i al-Sana’i, Fath al-Qadir, Majma’ al-Anhur and Maraqi al-Falah – my respected teacher, Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah protect him), concludes that the condition of general permission/public access (idhn aam) is still applicable (even in non-Muslim countries) in relation to private homes, shops and stores. Jumu’a prayer will not be valid in such places unless the public is given access to attend. This is the case, even if it is being performed in other areas of the city. However, large places within the city, consisting of many people – such as prisons, military bases, big airports and big factories – are exempted. Jumu’a is permitted in such places, even if permission is not granted to the general public due to security and administrative reasons, provided all those inside are not prevented from attending. (See: Fatawa Usmani 1/523)
This position was also taken by him in a recent concise answer posted on this website, the contents of which were read, checked and approved by him. Please see: ‘COVID-19: Ruling on Jumu’a and Eid Prayers in Non-Muslim Countries due to Lockdown’
Furthermore, irrespective of the condition of “public access” (al-idhn al-aam), the overall Hanafi stance (in light of Imam Kasani’s text mentioned above) is that Eid Prayer is a special, devotional act of worship that is reserved for the main outdoor congregation (musalla) or mosque, and not for performing individually or at home. There appears to be no precedence in having multiple mini congregations from the Sunna and lives of the Companions. As such, the only option for someone who misses the main congregation is to find another main congregation, otherwise there is no makeup for it. It is reported from Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, “One who misses the Eid prayer should perform four rak’at.” (Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq 5713 and Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 5799)
The Shafi’is and those who permit performing Eid Salat individually or in a small congregation at home cite the practice of Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him). Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) relates, as part of his chapter-heading and without a chain of transmission (ta’liqan), that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) ordered his freed slave Ibn Abi Utba at [a place called] al-Zawiya; he gathered his family and children and performed prayer like the prayer of the people of the city [i.e. Eid prayer] and [recited] their takbir.” (Bukhari 1/240)
However, the Hanafis prefer the abovementioned statements of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and Sayyiduna Ali over the personal practice of Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all). A verbal ruling, issued in the form of a fatwa, is given preference over a personal practice that is based on personal judgement and open to various possibilities. (See: I’la al-Sunan 8/147)
As such, in light of all of the above, Muslims currently under lockdown may perform the Eid prayer in places like a large compound or large hall where the general public are not refused from attending. If this is not possible or the law does not allow it, then Eid Salat will not be performed at home. However, one may perform four [or two] rak’at supererogatory (nafl) prayers at home individually – similar to the mid-morning prayer (salat al-duha), i.e. without any extra takbirat, as related from Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him). It is not a necessary prayer, but rather, recommended and a good way of earning reward and expressing thankfulness to Allah Most High for granting one the ability to fast and worship during Ramadan. (Radd al-Muhtar 2/175 and Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/249)
Having said the above, certain contemporary Hanafi scholars interpret the condition of “public access” in a somewhat different manner. According to their view, it is permitted to perform the Eid prayer in private homes but as part of a congregation.
In conclusion, in light of the current COVID-19 lockdown, those who follow the Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanbali Schools of Sunni Islamic law may perform the Eid prayer at home, even individually according to some schools. However, there is no requirement for the khutba.
As for those who follow the Hanafi School, the position taken by Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani and many other scholars, and the position which I follow, is that the Eid prayer will not be performed in private homes where there is no public access. Rather, one may offer four rak’at supererogatory (nafl/duha) prayers. However, the position of some other contemporary Hanafi scholars is that the Eid prayer can be performed at home, but in a minimum congregation of four people.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
I concur with this answer
[Mufti] Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf
WhiteThread Institute, UK
Ref : Darulifta
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