Mar 3, 2020 — UAE Council for Fatwa, Fatwa No. 11, 2020,. Pertaining to the Rulings of Performing Congregational. Rites in Light of the Spread of COVID-19 (

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!”!AB! UAE Council for Fatwa, Fatwa No. 11, 2020 , Pertaining to the Rulings of Performing Congregational Rites in Light of the Spread of COVID -19 (Coronavirus Disease) Tuesday, 8 Rajab, 1441 AH/3 March, 2020 CE All praise is due to God , sustainer of the worlds, and may the choicest blessings and most perfect salutations be upon our master Mu^ammad, his kinfolk, and all of his companions. To proceed: On the basis of the statement s of God , the exalted , ÒHe has chosen you and placed no hardship in your religion Ó (Qur Õan 22:78) as well as ÒYou who believe, obey God and the Messenger, and those in authority among youÓ (Qur Õan 4:59); the hadith of the Messenger of God s, ÒWhatever I command you, do to the extent of your abilityÓ (Bukh´rì and Muslim); the le gal maxim s (qaw´¢id shar¢iyyah ), ÒAversion of harm takes priority over acquisition of benefit ,Ó and ÒRisk of individual harm is endured in order to repel public harmÓ; the consideration of public welfare in light of the spread of COVID -19 and the need for all segments of the country to cooperate to combat this disease and halt its dissemination; and in light of the obligation to obey governments

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!#!in their directives and instructions, the UAE Council for Fatwa issues the following fatwa: 1.!It is a religious obligation for all segments of society to strictly adhere to all public health directives and regulations provided by the dedicated state agencies 1 as well as t o take all necessary measures to prevent the transmission and spread of the illness. It is impermissible according to sacred law to disregard such directives and measures under any circumstances. 2.!It is forbidden by shar iah for anyone infected with this illness or even one thought to be at risk for infection to enter public places or go to the mosque for all congregational prayers, incl uding Friday prayers and the Eid prayers. It is an obligation for such a person to take all necessary pr ecautions as outlined by medical authorities , such as observing quarantine and adhering to any prescribed treatment. This is so that one does not transmit the illness to others. 3.!There is a religious concession ( rukh|ah ) for the elderly, children, anyone suffering from respiratory conditions, and those with compromised immunity to not attend all congregation al prayers, including Friday prayers, Eid prayers, and tarawì^ prayers . Such people may pray in their homes or wherever they are an d can pray áuhr in place of the Friday congregational prayer. !1 Such directives include frequently washing hands with soap and water, for cleanliness is part of the teachings of Islam based on the agreed upon hadith narrated by Abä Hurayrah in which the Prophet s said, ÒWhen one of you wakes up from sleeping, he should wash his hands thrice before putting them into the water vesselÓ; limiting greeting others to verbal salutations and avoiding shaking hands and hugging; observing proper etiquette when sneezing, including covering the mouth and nose with the elbow or a tissue; and others.

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!$!4.!Regarding the hajj, ¢umrah , and visiting the Messenger of God s, it is obligatory to adhere to all directives issued by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , which are rooted in their governmental and religious responsibilities for the welfare of all pilgrims. Adhering to these directives helps them in ensuring the well -being and safety of all. 5.!It is a religious obligation for all parties to cooperate with the appropriate agencies , each with in their respective capacity, to limit the spread of disease and to work to eradicate it. They should also not circulate misinformation or rumors and should rely only on official statements from the appro priate agencies . Those committed to the safety and stability of soci ety should ignore all unfounded rumors and prevent their spread . 6.!All groups and individuals should extend help and support to one another in whatever capacity they are able to do so and not capitalize on such situations by raising prices, particularly as it pertains to pharmaceuticals and healthcare. 7.!The basis for this fatwa is derived from several sources, including verses from the Holy Qur Õan, the p rophetic way ( sunnah ), scholarly consensus, and analogical reasoning. Here are a few : Qur Õanic Verses ¥!ÒDo not kill each other, for God is merciful to youÓ (Qur Õan 4:29). ¥!ÒDo not contribute to your destruction with your own handsÓ (Qur Õan 2:195). ¥!ÒAnd when some matter of security or ala rm comes to them, they broadcast it; whereas had they only referred it to the Messenger,

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!%!and to those of them wi th authority, their investigators would have found out about it Ó (Qur Õan 4:83). Prophetic Sunnah ¥!On the authority of Ab ä Hurayrah g, the Messenger of God s said, ÒFlee from leprosy ( judh´m ) as you flee from a lion!Ó (Bukh´rì) . Leprosy is a communicable disease , and the reason for the prophetic command to flee from it is so that its transmission can be stoppe d. This is a proof that we believe that diseases do transmit to others by GodÕs leave and that one should distance onesel f from their sources. ¥!On the authority of Us´mah b . Zayd g, the Messenger of God s said, ÒIf you hear of an epidemic afflicting a land , do not enter it, and if it afflicts the land you are in, do not leave itÓ (Bukh´rì). One of the reasons that an infected person is prohibited from leaving the area of the epidemic is so that such a person does not transmit the illness t o others. Instead, he should quarantine himself from even the healthy people of that region. Ibn Athìr (d. 630/1233) mentions in his Al-K´mil fì al-t´rìkh (The Complete History ), Ò¢Amr b . al-¢¨| g fled Emmaus with the people when the y were afflicted with the plague and went up into the mountains until God removed it from the m. News of this reached ¢Umar b. al -Kha~~´b , and he did not censure it [meaning, as caliph, he deemed ¢AmrÕs actions as appropriate and hence sanctioned by him] .Ó ¥!On the authority of Abä Hurayrah g, the Messenger of God s said, Ò Do not introduce infectious livestock into a healthy herdÓ (Bukh´rì).

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!&!¥!On the authority of ¢Amr b. Ya^y´ al -M´zinì, who related on the authority of his father, the Messenger of God s said, ÒDo not harm or reciprocate harmÓ ( Al-Muwa~~aÕ of Im´m M´lik). ¥!The numerous hadith in §a^ì^ Muslim and elsewhere regarding the obligation to obey government authority are evidence of the obligat ion to adhere to their directives and instructions. The leader has the prerogative to act in the interest of the nation as determined by the appropriate agencies of the state. Al-Sarkhasì says in his Al-Siyar al -kabìr (The Major Compendium of Methods ), ÒIf the leader commands the people to do something and they are uncertain as to whether or not it is beneficial, they must obey him . This is because the obligation to obey leaders is well established with unambiguous texts. As for their doubts as to wheth er or not it is beneficial, that is no justification to contradict unambiguous source text s.Ó And so, that which is permissible in the sacred law becomes an obligation if ordered by the government. This position is noted by Ibn ¢¨bidìn in his commentary un der the chapter of the Rain Prayer. Scholarly Consensus ¥!The scholars unanimously agree that Òharm is to be removedÓ and held this to be a universal legal maxim. It is u nder this maxim that we would include the avoidance of regions afflicted with epidemics in order to protect human life and the health of the body. Analogous Reasoning ¥!It is a well -established dictate in sacred law that a person with an offensive odor is to avoid the mosques and that such a person should leave the mosque in order to prevent harming others. It is narrated in §a^ì^ Muslim that ¢Umar b. al -Kha~~´b delivered the sermon one Friday and said, Ò O people, you eat from two

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!’!substances that I deem rep ugnant: onions and garlic. For I saw that if the Messenger of God s smelled their odor from someone, he ordered that he be removed from the mosque , and he was taken to al-Baqì¢. So whoever eats them should neutralize their odor by cooking them.Ó If a person w as removed for merely an offensive odor, what about the harm of a contagious disease that could be fatal? In this vein, al -±´fiá Ibn ¢Abd al -Barr said in his Tamhìd , ÒIf the ratio legis ( ¢illah ) for his expulsion from the mosque was his harming others, then by extension it would be the same for all that harms the congregation in the mosque, whether a foul odor or a medical condition , such as leprosy or the like, and anything else that harms people if they are in proximity. If the people would want such a person removed from the mosque and kept away, that is their right for as long as the cause for harm is present. When it is no longer present, the ruling no longer applies , and the person may now return to the mosqu e.Ó In conclusion, the Council for Fatwa calls on all Muslims to turn to God through supplication ( du¢´Õ ) and plentiful petitions for forgiveness ( istighf´r ). Seeking forgiveness relieves tribulations and leads to an increase in strength. We see this in the Qur Õan, where God , the exalte d, quotes the words of Prophet Häd e: ÒMy people, ask forgiveness from your Lord, and return to Him. He will send down for you rain in abundance from the sky and give you added strengthÓ (Qur Õan 11:52). So we ask God , the exalted , to perpetuate His gentle care, protection, and well -being on the nation of the United Arab Emirates ; its people ; and all its institutions , both leadership and citizenry, and that He remove this illness from the Muslims and the entire world. And God , the exalted , knows better.

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