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Virtual Jumu`ah and Tarawih: Response to Objections

Further Objections:

Many of the smaller points raised in objections do not need discussions as detailed as the above but will still be addressed. These include that:

“The congregants should be able to reach the imam in case there is a need.”

This cannot even be applied to the Haramayan, nor at many of today’s mosques. Reaching an imam under today’s circumstances will often need to rely on technologies like cell phones, which would also apply to the case of reaching the imam during virtual Jumu‘ah.

Another objection is that : “There have been other plagues in the history of Islam during which Jumu`ah was suspended and no one suggested alternative formats for Friday prayer during such times.”

Virtual platforms and other means (including microphones and monitors which we freely make use of today) were not available at that time. And therefore, to make such an argument is akin to comparing apples to oranges.

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In closing, those who believe in these fiqh conditions as absolute requirements, would therefore have to admit that they have invalidated the prayers of millions of worshippers in the Haramayn and all over the world (including their own mosques and centers).

In other words, there is no consistency or rational coherence in such arguments when you look at what we have been doing in our mosques on a consistent basis.[1]

As a final point, we should acknowledge that there may be differences of opinion on this issue. However, it is my personal view that what is in keeping with the spirit of our great fuqaha of the past who agreed to disagree on many matters is this: Those who find this view unacceptable should not follow it, and those who agree with its permissibility, based on the evidences, should be given every opportunity to partake in online Jumu`ah as a temporary measure during these unprecedented of times.

Allah knows best!

Important Note:

Please be advised that this is an addendum to the piece I wrote earlier on the matter which calls for virtual Jumu’ah and Tarawih as a TEMPORARY MEASURE until the Covid-19 Lockdown is lifted. This piece is not a standalone piece, and should be read in conjunction with my previous article.

[1] It is worth remembering that, according to Imam Abu Hanifah, Jumu‘ah can be valid only in the central city mosque, and cannot be held multiple times in the same mosque. If we consider these conditions valid, then we would end up invalidating the Jumu‘ah prayers held in many of those mosques (who claim to follow the Hanafi school), unless they have waived those conditions because of necessity.  

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