Updated at 9:50 p.m. March 12, 2020
Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a pandemic.
Many of us have been following developments related to the coronavirus, including travel bans; countries shutting down; closures of schools and colleges; and the cancellation of major, minor and college sports leagues’ seasons.
Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom recommended that all nonessential gatherings of 250 people or more be canceled until the end of March. Governor Newsom highlighted that people should practice social distancing and be at least 6 feet apart in any smaller gatherings.
READ: California Public Health Experts: Mass Gatherings Should be Postponed or Canceled Statewide to Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Following statewide, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and WHO precautions, some Sacramento Valley masajid today, March 13, made the very difficult decision to shut down, including canceling the weekly mandatory Jummah prayer, congregational daily prayers and programs until further notice.
It’s important to understand that while some individuals may not show symptoms of having the coronavirus, they could still be carrying it and spread it to more-vulnerable populations.
In a statement, the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations (COSVIO) and Sacramento Valley Muslim religious leaders said:
“This is about protecting the most vulnerable among us, including our elders and those who are immunocompromised or have pre-existing conditions. We have to do everything in our power to prevent the further spread of this virus for the safety of our community as a whole.”
The following Sacramento-area Islamic centers will be closed for Friday prayer services and be partially to completely shut down until further notice:
- California Islamic Center – Lodi, www.facebook.com/CaliforniaIslamicCenter/
- Islamic Center of Davis, www.davismasjid.org/
- MAS Community and Youth Center (MCYC), elkgrovemcyc.org/
- Masjid Aisha, West Sacramento, www.facebook.com/Masjid-Aisha-215933958443676/
- Masjid Al Tawheed, Elk Grove, www.facebook.com/EG.Tawheed/
- Masjid Annur, Sacramento, www.masjidannur.com
- Masjid Abu Hanifa, Sacramento, https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Masjid-Imam-Abu-Hanifa-1638554306263617/
- Muslim Community of Folsom (MCF), www.mcfolsom.com/
- Muslim Mosque Association, Sacramento (MMA, V Street), www.mmasacramento.com/
- SALAM Center, Sacramento, www.salamcenter.org
- Tarbiya Institute (all locations), tarbiya.org
Additional mosques in the area may announce plans for closure later.
Please check each Islamic center’s website and/or social media accounts for updates.
In Islam, a primary principle is that “preventing harm takes precedence over the acquisition of benefits.”
According to the Fundamentals of Jurisprudence, we find dispensations when there is a threat to the health and well-being of people. One is the dropping of an act, like congregational prayers, fasting, Hajj, or Umra due to a Shari’a approved reason.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
لا يُورَدُ مُمْرِضٌ على مُصِحٍّ
The sick should not mix with a healthy one. (Bukhari in his Sahih collection)
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم excused those who were sick from attending congregational prayers:
مَنْ سَمِعَ الْمُنَادِي فَلَمْ يَمْنَعْهُ مِنَ اتِّبَاعِهِ عُذْرٌ لَمْ تُقْبَلْ مِنْهُ تِلْكَ الصَّلاةُ الَّتِي صَلاهَا” قَالُوا: مَا عُذْرُهُ ؟ قَالَ: خَوْفٌ أَوْ مَرَضٌ
“He who hears the caller to prayer, but finds no excuse not to respond, his prayer that he prays (alone) will not be accepted.” The companions asked, “What is an ‘excuse.'” He responded, “Fear or sickness.” (Al-Sunna al-Saghir, Hadith 241.)
In light of these Islamic guidelines and principles, the suspension of an act of worship is permissible in order to protect worshipers and the public from a threat to their health.
We understand that this is an extraordinary moment for our community, our nation, and the world at large, and we are committed to ensuring the fulfillment of the spiritual needs of our community during this time. Please stay tuned as our Islamic centers announce online programs.
May Allah SWT bestow His mercy and protect you and your families during this time.
Dr. Irfan Haq, Chair, COSVIO
Shaykh Ammar Syed, Islamic Center of Davis
Imam Mumtaz Qasmi, Muslim Mosque Association
Sheikh Yasir Khan, Al-Misbaah
Imam Aamir Nazir, Muslim Community of Folsom
Imam M. A. Azeez, Tarbiya Institute
Imam Sherif Azeez, Tarbiya Institute
Imam Kamran Islam, Tarbiya Institute
Imam Dr. Hamdullah Sayedi, Masjid Aisha
Imam Sayed Waheed Ahmadzada, Masjid Tawheed
Imam Bilal Elsakka, MAS Community and Youth Center (MCYC)
Imam Fida Tahiri, Masjid Abu Hanifa
Khaled Mahood, Muslim Mosque Association, Sacramento (MMA, V Street)
Waseem Bawa, SALAM Center
Wasim Ali, CAIR-Sacramento Valley
Usama Khalil, REDA Organization
Junaid Ahmed, ICNA, Sacramento
SEE ALSO: AMJA declaration on coronavirus
PLEASE NOTE: If you’re experiencing potential symptoms of coronavirus or have been in contact with someone who is, state authorities recommend that you call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
Sacramento County Public Health Department contact info: 916-875-9753; https://dhs.saccounty.net/PRI/EMS/Pages/COVID-19/COVID-19-.aspx