FATWA ON MUSJID CLOSURE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING IN SALAAH
Mufti Makada Saheb,
There is much confusion amongst people of knowledge regarding the term difference of opinion.Many Students and Scholars alike latch on to the term when it comes to social distance in Salah and closure of Masaajid .
To clarify this dilemma:
- Is social distance in Salah and musjid closure a valid difference of opinion?
- What are the limits of and what type of valid difference of opinions ought to be respected?
Haamidan wa Musalliyan
Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh
A valid difference of opinion (ikhtilaaf) takes place in the case where the differences come within the scope of the textual proofs of the Quraan and the Hadith. These types of differences will be similar to the differences between the four mazhabs who establish their mazhabs from the textual proofs of the Quraan and Hadith. However, if a difference goes against the textual proofs of the Quraan and Hadith, then this is not regarded as a valid difference of opinion (ikhtilaaf) that can be accommodated in Deen. Rather, it is regarded as a violation of Deen (khilaaf).
In regard to the issue of social distancing, then practising this in salaah is impermissible as it opposes the clear and categorical texts of the Hadith. Hence, one will accept the opinion of those people whose view conforms to the command of the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). One will not accept the opinion of those people whose view opposes the command of the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
When we view the Ahaadith, then we see that Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was greatly displeased with the Ummah not joining the saffs and mentioned that this method of performing salaah is the means of one being cut off from the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, as well as disunity being created in the hearts.
Below are a few Ahaadith that will shed light on the displeasure of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for the Ummah performing salaah in this manner.
- Being Cut Off from the Mercy of Allah Ta‘ala
In one Hadith, Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The one who joins the saff (i.e. he does not leave gaps in the saff), Allah will join him (to His special mercy), and the one who cuts the saff (i.e. by leaving gaps), Allah Ta‘ala will cut him off (from His mercy).” (Mustadrak #774).
- Creating Disunity in the Hearts
On one occasion, before Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) commenced the salaah, he turned his mubaarak face towards the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and said thrice, “Straighten your saffs.” Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then said, “By Allah! You will certainly straighten your saffs, or Allah will most definitely create disunity in your hearts!” (Sunan Abi Dawood #662) On hearing this, the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) immediately ensured that there were no gaps between them.
- Shaitaan Entering between the Gaps
Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Join your saffs (i.e. stand joined to one another, with no gaps in between), and keep your saffs close to one another, and ensure that your necks are in line with one another, for I take an oath by that Being in whose control lies my life – I certainly see Shaitaan entering through the gaps in the saff like a small goat.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #776)
From the above mentioned Ahaadith, we understand that through carrying out the salaah in accordance to the sunnah, the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala will be acquired, unity will be created in the hearts of the believers, and they will be saved from the evil effects of Shaitaan.
The Fuqahaa have clearly mentioned that performing salaah with gaps between the musallis is makrooh-e-tahreemi (impermissible) and one will be sinful through performing salaah in this manner. Imagine that salaah is the greatest ibaadat of Deen, and it is a means of acquiring the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, yet through opposing the sunnah, one receives sin through the salaah instead of reward!
For further details, you may refer to the attached kitaab we have prepared on this topic.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee