Is it permissible to perform prayers at home for fear of contracting COVID-19?


By Abdullah Al-Dani

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – It is permissible for a person to perform prayers at home for fear of contracting coronavirus infection, opined Sheikh Dr. Abdulsalam Al-Sulaiman, a member of the Council Senior Scholars and member of the Standing Committee for Fatwa.

He further said that the person, especially the one suspected of having contracted the infection, might even be rewarded for this act — staying at home — with the intention of protecting himself and others.

“Such cases are forbidden from attending Friday and congregation prayers so that they don’t harm others,” Sheikh Al-Sulaiman asserted.

In a statement to Al-Ekhbariah satellite channel, Sheikh Al-Sulaiman said: “The mosque is the place most frequented by people, so they should be well taken care of.”

The Council of Senior Scholars had earlier issued several statements and decisions on performing Friday and congregation prayers in the mosques prior to imposition of the curfew.

In this regard, the Council of Senior Scholars had stressed that it is forbidden (haraam) for a person who has contracted the COVID-19 infection to attend these congregation prayers. The same applies to quarantined persons. Such cases should perform their prayers at their places of isolation. Furthermore, whoever fears that he might be harmed or harm others, is allowed not to attend Friday and congregation prayers.

The directives issued must be taken into consideration and complied with strictly, as they are for the interest of the nation and society.

He added: “If someone fears contracting the disease, he will not be committing a sin if he does not go to the mosque. Rather, he may be rewarded because it is permitted to stay at home, and people must abide by all directives and instructions.”

The role of the mosque’s imam is of great importance as he shoulders a great responsibility, especially in organizing and disciplining the worshipers who attend congregational prayers. He ought to be in the mosque quite early so as to instruct people and ensure their protection. People must listen to and obey the imam and muezzin, Sheikh Al-Sulaiman stressed.