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Virtual Jumu`ah and Tarawih: Response to Objections

Since publishing my opinion on the permissibility of conducting Jumu`ah and Tarawih online as a temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have received the following objections which were not addressed in my initial paper. Consequently, I will address these additional concerns.

1. Changing the form of `Ibadah:

The first objection centers around the fact that we are not allowed to tamper with the format of Jumu‘ah. It is argued that Jumu`ah must be performed in the way it was done by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions.

In addressing whether having a virtual Jumu`ah as a temporary measure constitutes tampering with the format of  `ibadat and the way it was implemented by the Prophet (peace be upon him), allow me to narrate something I witnessed as an early seminary student.

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Microphone is Haram?

In the early 1950s, my local community was faced with the dilemma of whether it was acceptable to use a microphone for the adhan, khutbah, and prayers. Several eminent scholars gathered to discuss and debate the issue. Upon completion of the debates, the unanimous consensus was that Jumu`ah prayers conducted with a microphone were invalid. This was because it was an innovation, something that was not a part of the format of Jumu`ah as was conducted by the Prophet and his predecessors.

However, after a few years, microphones were introduced at that very same mosque, not only for adhan and Jumu`ah but also for lectures and mawlid celebrations with hundreds if not thousands being able to benefit.

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