Social Distancing in Masjids from 17 May 2021

Social Distancing in Masjids from 17 May 2021

Social Distancing in Masjids from 17 May 2021


The UK Government’s guidance for the safe use of places of worship updated on the 14th May 2021 states, “From Step 3, in line with indoor social contact limits, individuals may attend communal worship in groups of 6, or larger groups where everyone present is from the same 2 households.” It also states, “Social distancing (staying at least 2m away from others) helps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.” The guidance makes no reference to 1m distancing.

The Government’s guidance on what you can and cannot do updated on 17 May 2021 also states, “You can go to places of worship for a service. When a service is taking place indoors you must not mingle in groups larger than 6, except when everyone present is from no more than 2 households (including support bubbles). You should maintain social distancing between groups at all times.”

Currently, most Masjids across England are continuing to operate based on the previous guidance which is 1m distancing between worshippers or households.

From an Islamic perspective, should Masjids continue with the status quo, or organise the congregation in groups of six or two households standing together with 2m social distancing between them, as per the below?

6 people or 2 households together — 2m gap — 6 people or 2 households together — 2m gap — 6 people or 2 households together (This is for each row)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم


Islam has placed huge emphasis on standing together in congregational Ṣalāh. Under normal circumstances, it is strongly disliked to have any gaps within the Ṣufūf (rows).

In light of this and the maxim of adopting the lesser of the two harms, Masjids should organise the congregation in groups of six or two households, as per the updated Government Guidance, and make use of each Ṣaff (row). Masjids should continue to adopt reasonable precautionary measures and take note of any local restrictions should they be introduced.

May Allah Almighty remove this pandemic from us so congregational Ṣalāh can resume without any distancing.

Note: The six people can be from multiple households. For two households, there is no limit.

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أقيموا الصفوف وحاذوا بين المناكب وسدوا الخلل ولينوا بأيدي إخوانكم ولا تذروا فرجات للشيطان، ومن وصل صفا وصله الله، ومن قطع صفا قطعه الله، رواه أبو داود (٦٦٦)۔

وقال الفخر الزيلعي في التبيين (١/١٣٦) وحكاه الشرنبلالي في حاشية الدرر (١/٩٠): وينبغي للقوم إذا قاموا إلى الصلاة أن يتراصوا ويسدوا الخلل ويسووا بين مناكبهم في الصفوف، ولا بأس أن يأمرهم الإمام بذلك، لقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام: سووا صفوفكم فإن تسوية الصف من تمام الصلاة، ولقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام: لتسون صفوفكم أو ليخالفن الله بين وجوهكم، انتهى. وقال ابن الهمام في فتح القدير (١/٣٥٩): ولنسق نبذة من سنن الصف تكميلا، من سننه التراص فيه والمقاربة بين الصف والصف والاستواء فيه. وحكاه الطحطاوي في حاشية المراقي (ص ٣٠٦). وقال الحصكفي في الدر المختار (١/٥٦٨): قال الشمني: وينبغي أن يأمرهم بأن يتراصوا ويسدوا الخلل ويسووا مناكبهم، انتهى۔

وقال ابن نجيم في الأشباه (ص ٧٣): ما أبيح للضرورة يقدر بقدرها، انتهى. وقال ابن مازة في المحيط البرهاني (١/٥١٣): والثابت بالحاجة يقدر بقدر الحاجة، انتهى. وقال ابن نجيم (ص ٧٦): إذا تعارض مفسدتان روعي أعظمهما ضررا بارتكاب أخفهما. وقال (ص ٧٥): لو كان أحدهما أعظم ضررا من الآخر، فإن الأشد يزال بالأخف، انتهى۔

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shabbir

6 Shawwāl 1442 / 18 May 2021

Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmed and Mufti Muhammad Tahir

(For other Q&As, Fatwas & articles regarding Covid-19, click here)