Performing the Friday prayer when it is raining or snowing
Fatwa No: 92708

Question

Assalamo alaykum wa rahmato Allah My question is in regards to an incident that occurred in The Islamic Center of Boulder located in Colorado, USA. Due to harsh weather conditions (heavy snow), the Islamic Center announced that Friday prayer will be canceled two consecutive weeks. Some Muslims, however, live close to the masjid and could make it to the masjid to perform the prayer. To the best of my knowledge, Friday prayer, including a speech, is obligatory whenever a group of Muslims are present together. The number seems to be an issue about which scholars have not agreed, although many say three or more people makes the prayer obligatory. The president of the Center, who was present in the masjid both times, prevented them from performing the Friday prayer, made them pray Zuhr instead, and he referred to the “hadeeth” from Bokhari un which Ibn Abbass (may Allah be pleased with him) had asked people to stay home and asked the “Moathen” to call for people to stay home in fear of heavy rain. In addition, a man known as Jamal Zarabozo (who is looked upon by some as a scholar), considered what the president had done in the benefit of the community, and considered those who tried to perform a traditional Friday prayer wrong-doers who are not obeying the Muslim leadership. 1. Can the story of Ibn Abbass (may Allah be pleased with him) be used as evidence to perform a Zuhr prayer instead of a Friday prayer, while we are already present in the masjid? 2. Is Jamal Zarabozo correct in that people should not have tried to perform a Friday prayer? 3. Is a situation like this, where we live under the American government law, a situation where we, Muslims, should obey someone just because he is the president of the Islamic Center (knowing that this man is a recent convert, who knows very little about Islam)? Is he considered “ameer almomeneen”? 4. Should we gather somewhere outside the masjid to offer Friday prayer in a situation like this? Jazakum Allah khairan

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

 

The people who live far from the mosque and face difficulties when coming to it are not obliged to attend the Friday prayer or the congregational prayer when it is raining or snowing. However, if they endeavoured to attend and did attend, then they should perform the Friday prayer and the congregational prayer, and the person who prevented them from doing so was mistaken.

The evidence that they are not obliged to attend during rain or snow is that Al-Bukhari and Muslim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them reported that 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him told the person who calls Athaan (the call for prayer) "After saying, 'Ash-hadu allaa ilaaha illa Allaah, ‘Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasoolu Allaah' (I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah, I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger) do not say 'Hayyi 'ala as-salah, (come for the prayer) but say 'salloo fee buyootikum' (pray in your homes)." (The man did so). But the people disliked it. Ibn 'Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: "It was done by one who was much better than I (i.e. the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )). No doubt, the Friday prayer is compulsory but I dislike that you face difficulty by walking in mud and slush."

An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'This narration is evidence that the Friday prayer is not obligatory when there is rain and the like; this is the opinion of our School [Shaafi'ee], and the view of other Schools of jurisprudence, with the exception of the School of Maalik  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.'

As regards the people who live next to the mosque and who are not harmed by snow or rain fall when they come to the mosque, then they are obliged to attend and perform the Friday prayer and the congregational prayers in the mosque because they have no sound excuse for not attending.

If we presume that the man in charge of the mosque prevents people from coming to the mosque or refuses that the Friday prayer be held in it, then it is permissible to hold the Friday prayer at another suitable place and it is not an obligation to obey him in this matter. For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 82835 which clarifies that it is not a condition to hold Friday prayer in the mosque.

As regards obeying him in permissible things, then you should do so as there is a religious and worldly benefit in it for all of you, but you are not obliged to obey him in the same way one would obey the Muslim leader or his deputy.

Allaah Knows best.

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