As Salaamu Alaikum,
As you know many mosques around the world have closed down the mosques completely to anchor the spread of this virus.
One of the narrations used to justify this is:
“Ibn ‘Umar announced Adhan for prayer on a cold, windy night. Then added: Pray in your dwellings; and then said: When it was a cold, rainy night, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used to command the Mu’adhdhin to say” Pray in your dwellings.”
My understanding of this narration is that pertains to salah not closing down of the mosque. Furthermore, surely this applied to those companions who lived some distance away from Masjid Al Nabawai otherwise their feet would’ve been soaked with wet sand and that’s not how one should enter the masjid. According to authentic narrations and corroborated by historical narrations the house of the Prophet (SAW) was adjacent to he mosque and other companions, so it stands to reason there was some congregational salah taking place, but the point was being made to those who live farther away, their exempt from this Wajib practice solely because of the weather.
I don’t see how this Hadith can be used to close down the mosque completely?
Wa Alaikum As Salaam
The hadith (of Ibn Umar) mentioned above gives no indication to closing the Mosque. It is used out of context and for a wrong reason. Abdullah bin Umar uttered those words at the end of the Azan, to give an allowance to the people to offer their salah at their homes. He then said that the Prophet (SAS) used to ask the Muazzin to make the same announcement when it was a cold, rainy night. It means that an allowance was given to some people to stay in their homes to perform Salah since the Prophet (S.A.S) did not want to put them through difficulties to come out of their homes to join salah in congregation. However, he and other companions performed Salah in congregation. Therefore, to use the above hadith to show the allowance for closing the Mosque is totally wrong.
Another tradition similar to the above which has also been used by some people to show that Jumu’ah can be cancelled and a mosque can be closed, is that of the hadith of Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A). In that tradition which has been recorded by Imam Bukhari (A.R) and others, it is narrated by Abdullah bin Harith who said, ‘Ibn Abbas (A.R) delivered a Khutba to us on a muddy day and when the Mu’aazin reached the words, ‘ Hayya Alas Salah’, he (Ibn Abbas) ordered him to say (call out) ‘As Salatu fir Rihal’ (perform salah in your homes). When he said this, the people looked at each other (as if they disapproved of his action). So he said (to them), ‘He who was far better than him (referring to the Prophet S.A.S), did this, and certainly this is a firm duty.’ (Sahih Al Bukhari).
This tradition has been mentioned with different words, but all refer to the same incident where the great companion, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) instructed his Mu’azin while calling the Azan to inform the people that they must not come to the Masjid for Salah due to the mud/slush that was on the pathway. They should instead perform their Salah at home.
This tradition, along with the other hadith of Ibn Umar (R.A) show the permissibility of adding words in the Azan. It is for this reason Imam Bukhari used the Hadith of Ibn Abbas to establish his chapter as,
باب الكلام في الاذان – The Chapter which speaks about the permissibility of speech in the Azan.
These traditions also show that when it becomes difficult for a person to attend the masjid for Salah in congregation, then it is permissible for him to forgo Salah in congregation in the mosque and perform it at home. Valid reasons for this can be heavy rainfall, stormy weather conditions, extreme coldness, muddy/slushy pathway, fear of animals, fear of enemies, sickness etc, or any other valid reason acceptable by the Shariah.
These traditions do not indicate to, nor prove that the mosque was closed or should be closed for Salah,, or that Jumu’ah was cancelled.
The tradition of Ibn Abbas clearly shows that he delivered the sermon for the Jumu’ah Salah in the mosque while people were there. However, seeing that it would have been difficult for others to walk on the muddy pathway to reach to the mosque, he granted them the allowance to stay at home and perform the Salah, while he and the other Muslims at the mosque performed the Jumu’ah Salah. Therefore, the mosque was not closed for Salah or Jumu’ah.
In the tradition of Ibn Umar, he was on a journey at the place ‘Dhajnaan’, and he called the Azan while informing the people who were not there as yet to perform Salah at their homes/huts. However, he along with those who were with him performed the Salah in congregation. Here also, there is no evidence which can be taken to show that a mosque was closed or Jumu’ah was cancelled. Therefore, it is totally wrong for anyone to use these traditions to say that a mosque must be closed or Jumu’ah should be cancelled.
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.