Covid-19: Eid Ṣalāh in the Garden
We are three neighbours who live adjacent to each other in terraced houses. We understand that lockdown measures do not permit us to congregate in any one house or one garden and we appreciate the importance of complying with these measures. However, in each of the three homes, there are only two or three bāligh (mature) males each. As this number is insufficient for Eid Ṣalāh, we neighbours are thinking of performing Eid Ṣalāh in one congregation, by remaining in our own front gardens. The two or three members of each family will stand in their own gardens with a small distance (1-2 metres) between them, and the person closest to the Qiblah will lead. In this scenario, the gap between everyone across the three gardens will be more or less the same and social distancing will also be achieved. This would comply with the lockdown measures as we will all remain in our own gardens respectively, and it should also fulfil the Islamic requirements. We just wanted confirmation that Eid Ṣalāh would be valid if done in this manner.
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
The Eid Ṣalāh will be valid in this scenario as the requirements of iqtidāʾ and Eid Ṣalāh are being fulfilled, which include that the Imam should be in front, there should not be a significant gap between the participants, and four bālig (mature) males must participate.
It is important to reiterate that this answer does not in any way condone the gathering of people from different households in one garden. Our consistent advice from the outset is that people must comply with the lockdown measures, as you rightly mention. However, if it is possible for a group of neighbours to perform Eid Ṣalāh in one congregation whilst remaining in their own gardens and complying with the Islamic requirements, this is commendable and should be considered. This would comply with the lockdown measures and is somewhat similar to the ‘Clap for our Carers’ weekly gesture of appreciation for the NHS workers.
However, in scenarios where it is not possible to comply with the Islamic requirements or the lockdown measures, Eid Ṣalāh will not be performed as outlined in our guidelines. Inshāʾ Allah, such individuals will be rewarded based on their intention and actions of previous years, and if they wish they can perform two or four rakʿat nafl Ṣalāh individually. This is merely optional and there is therefore no need to collectively fix a time for this. People can, if they wish, perform it at a time that suits them.
It must be remembered that Allah Almighty is Merciful, and therefore He does not burden us beyond what we are capable of doing. Therefore, if a person cannot perform Eid Ṣalāh in accordance with the Islamic and legal requirements, he is excused and does not need to violate any of the Islamic or legal regulations. Allah Almighty requires from us at all times that we follow His commands and worship Him according to the divine rules. Undoubtedly, it is a matter of great regret that most people will be unable to perform Eid Ṣalāh in the usual venues. However, the ultimate objective is to attain the pleasure of Allah Almighty and Inshāʾ Allah this will be attained by adhering to the Islamic principles. Accordingly, to participate in an Eid Ṣalāh virtually via the internet, TV or receiver system is incorrect. Likewise, whilst there is no harm in listening to the sermon via the internet or receiver system, caution must be exercised in relation to fixing a time for the individual Nafl prayer as mentioned above.
However, if it is possible to perform Eid Ṣalāh in the home or in the garden whilst complying with the Islamic requirements and lockdown measures, this should certainly be considered. Once again, we reiterate that people should continue to comply with the lockdown measures and supplicate for the well-being of everyone.
Allah knows best
28 Ramadan 1441 / 21 May 2020
Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmad, Mufti Muhammad Tahir and Mufti Yusuf Sacha