Two Important Questions on Practicing Islam this Ramadan during the COVID-19 Pandemic Answered by Shaikh Ahmad Kutty


Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah Shaikh. I have read your article on

about virtual jumu‘ah and tarawih during this pandemic. 

I have some follow up questions. My local Mosque is not offering virtual Jumu‘ah, but they offer a regular Islamic talk during Jumu‘ah time. Can I do my ghusl and listen to the talk with my family and then pray 2 rak‘ah or do I need to pray 4 rak‘ah  for dhuhr? I have always learned that we pray 2 for Jumu’ah because the talk replaces the other two rak’ahs, can you clarify?


Your question is very relevant for the unprecedented situation we are facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our situation is unique, and our circumstances are different from those of our great scholars and Imams of the past. Hence, there is no way for us to find an explicit solution in the sources of Fiqh: we cannot expect them to have issued a ruling for a situation they never experienced. 

Therefore, we are left to offer a ruling based on our study of the sources, the rationale and wisdom of the Shari‘ah, as well as reasoning based on the precedents and rulings of past scholars.

It is important to add that as with all such new issues, we are bound to face different opinions.  With regard to such differences, we should never force anyone to follow one’s preferred view, and then declare those who follow a differing view as being heretical or liberal. Nor should we ever undermine the principle of ikhtilaf (diversity) and make categorical statements invalidating the prayers of those following alternative views.

It is the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself who taught us how to tolerate such differences. The following story is a wonderful example that we would do well to remember. 

Prior to the expedition against the Banu Quryazah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised his companions that no one should pray ‘asr before arriving in Banu Qurazyah.

The companions then set out but before reaching the place, they saw that the time of ‘asr was expiring. One group from the companions said, regardless of whether the time of ‘asr expires or not, based on the Prophet’s order, we should only pray ‘asr after arriving. Another group thought the Prophet’s order should be taken to mean that they should delay ‘asr only if they arrived before the time of prayer expires. After all, they reasoned, didn’t Allah say “Prayer is appointed on the believers at fixed times. So, how could they let the time of prayer expire?” Consequently, the latter group prayed and the former group postponed their prayer.

The matter was later referred to the Prophet for a decision. Addressing both groups he said, “You are right! And you are right!” In other words, no one was wrong for choosing what they thought was right since both of them had the intention of obeying Allah and His Messenger as best as they understood it! 

The scholars therefore accept that a diversity of views in Fiqh is a given that no one should neglect. This has been clearly stated by some of the most prominent scholars of the pious generations including Ata who said, “Whoever is not knowledgeable of the diversity of views in Fiqh, he is not qualified to give a ruling.” Qatadah went a step further and added, “Such an individual is not even able to smell the fragrance of Fiqh (let alone master it).”

Now coming to my answer to your question:

It is my considered opinion that it should be fine to pray two rak‘ah for those following their own congregation from their own mosque. This is provided that they listen to the virtual Khutbah(i.e. talk) live-streamed at jumu‘ah time and have the required number for a jama‘ah (the minimum number being two or more). With the required number, one of them can lead, and the others should follow.

Because they have completed the first part of Jumu’ah by listening to the Khutbah, now they are allowed to complete jumu’ah by finishing with two rak‘ahs. There is nothing in the sources to prevent them from making this choice. In other words, those that wish to pray dhuhr can do so, but those that wish to follow up a live-streamed Friday Khutbah with two rak’ah in this way can also do so freely.

Here are the supporting evidences for this opinion:

By giving the “virtual talk/Khutbah” at the time of jumu‘ah, they are already assuming they are performing the first and most essential integral of jumu’ah, which is one of the greatest symbols of Islam.  Khutbah, as we know, has been instituted in lieu of the two rak‘ahs of dhuhr on Friday.

Moreover, Khutbah is the most important aspect of jumu‘ah as many scholars have told us. That is why many of them, like Abu Hanifah, for example, consider the order of Allah to hasten to dhikr as an order to listen to the Khutbah.  It can also be inferred from the hadith of the Prophet about the angels posted at the doors of the mosque on Fridays. “The angels record the names of those who arrive for the prayer. However, as soon as the Imam stands to deliver the Khutbah, they close the register to listen to the dhikr (I.e. Khutbah).”(Reported by Ahmad and others).

As for the objection ‘how can we be praying jumu‘ah if the khateeb delivering the Khutbah is not the one leading the prayer?’

The answer to that is that according to the preferred ruling of many scholars, it is not essential for the khateeb to lead the jumu‘ah. In other words, if one person delivers the Khutbah, another person can lead the prayer. We have done so on a few occasions at our mosque, the IIT, as well as at the Islamic Foundation and Jami Mosque in the past.

Consequently, according to the sound ruling of many scholars, it is fine for someone else to lead the prayer after the Khutbah.

Based on these two points, it is fine for those who listen to the online Khutbah/ Friday talk during jumu‘ah time to perform the two rak’ahs of jumu‘ah at home as long as they have the correct number of people and one is willing to lead. In this case, there is no compelling evidence to state that they must pray dhuhr after listening to the Friday Khutbah.

In terms of the objection raised that a talk which is live-streamed is not a Khutbah, this is mere wordplay. A talk delivered at the mosque and live streamed can be a Khutbah as long as it fulfils the condition of dhikr. According to Imam Abu Hanifah, the essential prerequisite of a valid Khutbah is praising and glorifying Allah. Shafi‘ites and Hanbalists add to this list (besides hamd) the following: Salawat (sending benedictions) on the Prophet (peace be upon him), referencing a Qur’anic verse or more, and advising the people to be conscious of Allah. Others add to the above, that it should conclude with a general supplication or du‘a.

Therefore, as long as the talk contains these essentials, there is no reason to insist that a talk that is live-streamed at the time of jumu‘ah is not a Khutbah. The word Khutbah in Arabic means talk, speech or discourse. Furthermore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) never meant for the Khutbah to be a ritual recitation, but an occasion to deliver a message or educate the congregation. That is why various companions referred to the Prophet’s Khutbahs as the greatest learning moments in their lives.

In conclusion, there is no basis to insist that those who listen to a talk that is live-streamed at jumu‘ah time ought to pray dhuhr if they have enough people to pray the two rak‘ahs of salatul jumu‘ah after listening to the talk.

Please remember though that this ruling is only for the exceptional circumstance we find ourselves in due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Once the lockdown is lifted we must gather in our congregational mosques to perform the regular jumu‘ah salah.


I usually go to Mosque for taraaweeh and enjoy the recitation but can’t because of this coronavirus. My Husband doesn’t know too many surahs to lead. Can I listen to recitation from online or my smartphone and follow or pray taraaweeh?


It breaks every Muslim’s heart to find himself or herself deprived of the Quranic spirit of Ramadan. In taraaweeh, we stand behind a qari who reads the Quran melodiously; it is one of the most intensely spiritual experiences of Ramadan that most Muslims look forward to.

Of course we can pray taraaweeh at home with whatever surahs we know. However, that is not the same as listening to a qari leading us in taraaweeh, unless you are a qari who can read the Quran (from memory) melodiously. Sadly, this is not the case for the vast majority of people. 

So how do we find a way to compensate for what we are missing during this pandemic? Can there be another way for the community to experience something of the real Quranic spirit of Ramadan while praying taraaweeh at home in this unprecedented time?

I would state upfront that we can do so by listening to recorded recitation. 

The basis for this is the following:

Earlier, our scholars discussed the issue of the permissibility of reading the Quran from a Mushaf, while praying taraaweeh or tahajjud or naafl prayers; most approved it. 

This is because the precedent for this was set by Aisha, the beloved wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him).  We are told that she had her servant lead her and other women in taraaweeh. Since he had not memorized the Quran, he was advised to read it from the Mushaf. This practice became widespread amongst those who lived later. And this is why when Imam Zuhri was asked whether this practice was permissible, his answer was that the most righteous people in his generation used to do it.

Therefore, it would not be a huge leap to infer from this the permissibility of following along using a recording of the Qur’an. These days, people are used to reading the Quran from apps on their smartphones or tablets. Smilarly, for taraaweeh, they can listen to a recorded recitation of a qari after they have recited their own fathihah. The extra actions of pressing the buttons to play and pause, would be no different from turning the pages of a Mushaf while reading from it. After all, nowadays such apps are akin to the Quran stored in a Mushaf.

While saying this, I do not ignore the fact that some scholars might object to such a lenient, accommodating ruling. However, since leniency is one of the fundamental principles of the Shari‘ah, as stated in the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), there is no reason why we cannot allow it, especially if this unprecedented situation continues. I am confident that if this situation continues, we will see more and more scholars agreeing to relax their rules on these matters.

Another option I have put out as a ruling for these exceptional times is to follow the live-streaming of taraaweeh prayer from your own mosque – and only from your own local mosque. Please see my article for further details on the wisdom of this:

and my 2nd article responding to the objections raised against it: 

I am pleased to report that scholars in Ireland and a group of scholars in the USA and others have also come out with the same view and published a detailed statement with supporting evidences:


They have also started live streaming their jumu‘ah prayers and have decided to stream virtual taraaweeh for their congregants to follow. I have no doubt that if the COVID-19 lockdowns continue, others will come out endorsing this view as well, as anyone who has studied the evolution of Fiqh may see.

In the meantime, I leave it to each individual to choose what feels right for themselves.

In other words, if you choose to follow the above lenient rulings, no one should stop you. After all, on issues where there are diverse rulings, we are not compelled to follow any particular view. It does not matter whether you follow a particular school or not, all of the scholars allow for a person to follow a valid opinion different from that of their school, if and when circumstance demands it. 

I hope this answers your question. Allah knows best!