Asalamualaikum ustaz. If the current Restriction of Movement Order which also includes the restriction of attending Friday and congregational prayer is extended, am I considered as the people who are warned because they leave the Friday prayer three times consecutively? Hope for an explanation.
Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Attending Friday prayer is one of the syara’ commandments upon a mukallaf Muslim man. This is in accordance with the saying of Allah SWT which says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.
Surah al-Jumu’ah (9)
It can be understood that attending and performing Friday prayer is the attributes of a Muslim who prioritizes his obligation as a servant of Allah SWT than worldly benefits like performing trade during this time.
Still, the commandment of performing Friday prayer congregationally is excused to those with excuses permitted by syara’. This is in accordance with a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma where he said that the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ سَمِعَ النِّدَاءَ فَلَمْ يَأْتِهِ فَلاَ صَلاَةَ لَهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ عُذْرٍ
“Whoever hears the call and does not come, his prayer is not valid, except for those who have an excuse,”
Sunan Ibn Majah (793)
According to the above hadith, basically, one is commanded to attend congregational prayer if he hears the adhan. Still, if there is a certain excuse, then he is excused from attending the call. While in another narration, the Companions asked the Prophet PBUH, what is meant by excuse? The Prophet PBUH answered:
خَوْفٌ أَوْ مَرَضٌ
"Fear or illness,"
Sunan Abi Dawud (551)
So, it is clear in the above hadith that the feeling of fear or illness are included under the category of excuse which prevent a person from attending congregational prayer. Then, the jurists (fuqaha’) further detailed the level of fear which permits someone to not perform the Friday and congregational prayer. This is what is mentioned by Sheikh Ali al-Qaradaghi as follows:
“It is permissible to suspend Friday and congregational prayer during the virus outbreak due to the feeling of fear of infection.” He added that the permissibility is on the condition that the fear that the infection really takes place and not only a prediction. Refer https://bit.ly/2WvN367
Hence, due to the advice and opinion from the authoritative experts, order is made to suspend all congregational and Friday prayer. So, not attending it is an excuse permitted by syarak which is the fear of infection of the virus.
Coming back to the question presented above, we state that it is true that there is a warning upon those leave the Friday prayer three times consecutively according to syara’. This is in accordance with a hadith narrated by Abu al-Ja’d al-Dhamri (some said that it is al-Dhumairi) R.A where he said that the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ تَرَكَ ثَلاَثَ جُمَعٍ تَهَاوُنًا بِهَا طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قَلْبِهِ
He who leaves the Friday prayer (continuously) for three Friday on account of slackness, Allah will print a stamp on his heart
Sunan Abi Dawud (1052)
While in another narration from Jabir bin Abdillah RA, he said that the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ تَرَكَ الْجُمُعَةَ ثَلاَثًا مِنْ غَيْرِ ضَرُورَةٍ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قَلْبِهِ
Whoever misses jumu'ah three times with no cogent excuse, Allah (SWT) will place a seal on his heart
Sunan al-Nasa’ie (1370)
Both narrations above clearly show us the threat and warning in the hadith is bound with the condition of leaving Friday prayer because he deprecates, belittles and leaves the commandment without any dharurat.
Syeikh Badruddin al-‘Aini in his commentary on the above hadith narrated by Abu Dawud said: “This chapter explains the grave warning for those who miss the Friday prayer without any excuse.” He added, the phrase تهاونا بها means: “(Leaving it) due to being lazy and negligent in performing it”. Refer Syarah Abi Daud, Badr al-Din al-‘Aini (4/371).
While Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari when commenting on the hadith cited the words of al-Thibi which states: “(In which leaving the commandment to degrade)”. Then cited the opinion of other scholars which states: “Leaving it due to being reckless”. Refer Mirqaat al-Mafatih, Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (3/1024).
So, it is clear to us that the warning intended in the hadith is upon those who leave it without any excuse permitted by syara’. While those who leave it due to valid excuses, then they are not included under the warning. Conversely, they are given the same reward, as mentioned by the Prophet PBUH:
إِذَا مَرِضَ الْعَبْدُ أَوْ سَافَرَ، كُتِبَ لَهُ مِثْلُ مَا كَانَ يَعْمَلُ مُقِيمًا صَحِيحًا
When a slave falls ill or travels, then he will get reward similar to that he gets for good deeds practiced at home when in good health.
Sahih al-Bukhari (2996)
The in-depth discussion on this may be referred to Al-Kafi #1661: The Rewards of Congregational Prayer at Home if A Person is Unable to Perform the Congregational Prayer At The Mosque
In conclusion, after we analyze the evidences and arguments presented, we are of the opinion that if this Restriction of Movement Order takes a long time that resulted in the suspension of Friday prayer three times consecutively by considering the factor of fear that the Covid-19 pandemic will spread further, then leaving the Friday prayer due to this reason is not included under the warning in the hadiths. Wallahua’lam.
Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to give us true understanding for us in religion. Ameen.