Taraweeh Guidelines During the Covid-19 pandemic

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhī wa barakātuh,

Respected ‘Ulamā/’Alimaat,

Please see the CCMT Taraweeh Guidelines During the Covid-19 pandemic below. You can also access it in PDF here. 

17 April, 2020 – 23 Sha’ban, 1441
What is the ruling regarding performing Taraweeh in Toronto during the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic? Social Distancing laws prohibit more than 5 people who do not live in the same household from getting together. In this case, will it permissible to perform Taraweeh at home? If so, what is the relevant Shar’i ruling. Kindly guide us in this matter.

Jazak Allahu Khairan for your query.
It is very unfortunate that this year we will not be able to perform our Taraweeh in congregation at the Masjid. The situation that we are in is a test from Allah Ta’ala. It is imperative that as believers, we turn to Allah Ta’ala, repent for our sins, increase our good deeds, and beg Him for His mercy.

In reference to your query, firstly, let it be understood that the performance of 20 rak’ats of Taraweeh in the month of Ramadhan is Sunnah Mu’akkadah Alal Ayn. This emphasized Sunnah can be fulfilled by performing Taraweeh individually or in congregation. (Hashiyatul Tahtawi p. 411)

Secondly, the performance of Taraweeh in congregation is a separate Sunnah alal Kifayah (communal Sunnah). This means that it is Sunnah for at least a few people in each community to perform the Taraweeh prayer in congregation. (Hashiyatul Tahtawi p. 286)

Thirdly, it is more virtuous to perform Taraweeh with congregation in the Masjid. Therefore, if someone was to perform Taraweeh at home in congregation, he would get the reward of performing Taraweeh with congregation but would miss out on the virtue of praying in the Masjid. (Hindiyyah p. 129)

Fourthly, the completion of the entire Qur’an in the Taraweeh prayer is Sunnah. If one was to perform the entire Taraweeh, without completing the Qur’an, he would still have fulfilled the Sunnah of Taraweeh, but will have missed out on the Sunnah of the completion of the Qur’an. (Shami 2/47)

From the above, it can be understood that there are four separate Sunnahs in relation to Taraweeh. 1) The performance of Taraweeh itself 2) Performance of Taraweeh in congregation 3) Performance of Taraweeh in congregation in the Masjid 4) Completing the entire Qur’an in Taraweeh.

Under normal circumstances, one should strive to fulfill all four of the Sunnahs mentioned above. However, given the unique situation that we are in (i.e., the importance of protecting human life and the necessity of following the non-discriminatory laws of the land we live in):

1) If possible, a small group of people should perform Taraweeh in congregation at the Masjid and complete the Qu’ran. The number of people should be in accordance with local social distancing laws.

2) Others should perform 20 Rakats of Taraweeh at home in congregation with family members of the same household.

3) If there is a mature Hafiz in the household, an effort should be made to complete the entire Qu’ran.

4) If there is no mature Hafiz in the household, but there is a mature male who knows large portions of the Qur’an, then an effort should be made to recite as much Qur’an as possible.

5) If no mature male in the household has memorized a large portion of the Qur’an, then Suratul Feel to Suratul Naas, or any other portion of the Qur’an can be recited. (Al Bahr Al Raiq 2/121)

6) The one leading the Salah should be a mature male who is not an open sinner and who can recite the Qur’an correctly. Trimming the beard is also considered an open act of sin. Therefore, in the presence of someone who does not trim their beard, one who trims his beard should not lead the Salah. (Shami 1/559)

7) If there is no one to lead the Salah other than one who trims his beard, he should repent to Allah and make an intention to keep a beard. In such a case, he may lead the Salah, and at the same time repent to Allah for his shortcoming. (Shami 1/562)

8) Womenfolk may join the congregation behind a male. In this case, their row should be behind the row of males. If there is only one female and a mahram male, the female will stand directly behind the male. (Hindiyyah 1/89) 

9) It is not permissible to join the congregation of a Masjid through live streaming if there is a gap of two rows or more or a public road between a person’s house and the Masjid. (Shami 1/587)

10) It is not permissible to recite while looking in the Qur’an or for one to correct the Imam while looking in the Qur’an. This will render the Salah invalid according to stronger opinion in the Hanafi school of jurisprudence.  (Al Bahr Al Raiq 2/17)

11) One should constantly remind one’s self that the manner he is performing Taraweeh in is just a temporary measure given the circumstances. One’s heart should yearn to perform Taraweeh in the Masjid with the completion of the Qur’an. By doing so, it is hoped that one will earn the same reward as performing Taraweeh in the Masjid as can be understood from some narrations.

And Allah is All-Knowing
Muhammad Ismail Kotwal
22 Sha’ban, 1441
April 15, 2020
Check and approved by Mufti Muhammad Aslam Kaachvi (Khairul Ummah Academy)