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Congregation during COVID-19 Pandemic: A joint Statement from the Indiana Muslim Community

As Ramadan quickly approaches, the Indiana Muslim community solemnly acknowledges that this month of fasting will deviate from the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. After consultation with both religious and health experts, we concede that congregation at the mosque puts our local and wider communities at risk, especially our elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. COVID-19 is highly contagious, and prayers or gatherings in large groups can intensify its spread.

We agree that continuing temporary suspension of religious congregation is not only permissible, but necessary for the greater public good. As many of us will be working on the frontlines and fighting for the well-being and safety of our communities, we recognize that social distancing is part of our civic and religious obligation. Islam commands us above all else to preserve and protect human life, a commandment that takes precedence even over obligatory rituals and practices.  There are many instances in the Quran and example of the Prophet Muhammad (S) that highlight social distancing, quarantine, and restriction of congregation for the preservation of health and life in dire circumstances. In this challenging time, Muslim scholars underscore that praying at home is not only recommended but is mandatory when health and well-being are at risk. Allah (SWT) says, “Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into harm.” [Quran 2:195].

We renew our commitment to suspend prayer in congregation and other group rituals until health and elected officials deem it safe to resume. We urge fellow Muslim Hoosiers to follow the stay-at-home order issued by Governor Eric Holcomb, maintain social distancing, and abstain from large gatherings. Given that this is a rapidly evolving situation, we will work closely with local health officials and religious leaders to update the guidelines and best practices as the situation unfolds. As a community, we will continue to explore safe, effective, and mindful ways to engage and enrich our faith during this holy month. May Allah relieve the world from this pandemic and grant us a successful Ramadan. 

Signed in peace and hope, 

Lori Joundi
Executive Director 
Muslim Alliance of Indiana

Hiba Alami
Executive Director
Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network

Ahmed Alamine
Imam
Indianapolis Muslim Community Association (IMCA)

Arman Siddiqui
President, Board of Directors
Alhuda Foundation

Shamaas Nyazee
President
AlHussnain Inc
Board of Directors
Masjid-e-Noor

Ibrahim Eljirby
ISNA Masjid – Plainfield

Salihou Diallo
President , Board of Director
MASJID ALHIKMAH

Heather Akou
Chair, Board of Trustees
Islamic Center of Bloomington

Richard A. McKinney BSW, AS
Board Member, Muslim Alliance of Indiana
Former President, Islamic Center of Muncie

Nayab Ahmed
Board of Trustees
Geist Community Center

Ismail Abdul-Aleem
Imam
Masjid Al-Mumineen

Michael “Mikal” Saahir
Resident Imam
Nur-Allah Islamic center

Halima Al-Khattab
President, Board of Directors
Indianapolis Muslim Community Association (IMCA)

Ghufran Ahmad
President, Board of Directors
Islamic Society of Columbus Indiana

Osama Saad
Imam
Al-Azhar Foundation

Hassan Mahrouq
President, Board of Directors
Masjid Al-Sahabah

Hydre Abdullah
Majlis Shura Member
Muslim Community Center

Zaim Khalid
Gen Coordinator
Islamic Society of Greater Lafayette

Nadeem Ikhlaq
Board of Trustees
Al Salam Foundation

Rami Musleh
Board of Directors
Northwest Indiana Islamic Center

“The Fiqh Council of North America reiterates:

1: That masajids and Islamic centers shall strictly follow the health and state official guidelines for social gatherings and distancing. The Juma’, Jama’ah, Taraweeh and Eid al Fitr prayer shall be suspended until the ban on congregation is lifted. We hope and pray that Allah SWT brings relief sooner than later but we strongly encourage the Muslim community to follow the local and state instructions to avert possibilities of COVID -19’s transmission. Our acts of devotions include ablution (Wudu), prostration (Sujud) and touching of surface with multiple organs. These acts particularly expose us to wider transmission of this deadly virus. Changing carpet or disinfecting it on daily basis is costly and cumbersome. Therefore closure of masajid, suspension of Juma’, Jama’ah, Taraweeh and Eid al Fitr prayer remains the only viable option to safeguard the community from viral outbreak.

2: That Taraweeh prayers shall be performed at home within a family setting just like the regular daily Jama’ah. The Taraweeh can be done by reciting shorter Surahs, repeating the same Surahs over and over again, holding the Qur’an in hand and reciting from it. It can be established individually and collectively. The Council does not encourage virtual Taraweeh or Eid al Fitr prayers. People can listen to the live or recorded Qur’anic recitation but are not allowed to follow a virtual Imam in Jama’ah. We know of some recent fatwas vis a vis virtual Juma’, Taraweeh and Eid al Fitr prayers but do not recommend that due to multiple Sharai’ reasons.

3: That virtual lectures, reflections, reminders and recitations are encouraged.

May Allah SWT take this pandemic away from us, grant us relief and normalcy. Ameen.   

Witten by Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah and approved by the Fiqh Council on April 16, 2020.”

The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) is a body of recognized and qualified Islamic Scholars from the United States and Canada who accept the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah as the primary sources of Islam. Furthermore, FCNA is guided by the judicial heritage of the Prophet’s companions and the legal rulings and methodology of established classical normative Muslim Scholarship.

Visit fiqhcouncil.org for more info.

We have created an Indy Muslim Response website to pool together resources from and for the Muslim community in the spirit of collaboration and unity in this time. All resources will be available on the website www.indymuslim-response.com, and we will be highlighting specific ways you can support the community over the next several weeks. Additionally, there is a link to resources if you are in need of assistance.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have suggestions or additional resources!

This week’s action alert is to DONATE BLOOD

There is a national blood supply shortage due to quarantines. If you are healthy, young, and able, please donate blood through the Red Cross or Indiana Blood center! This counts as an “essential” activity under Stay at Home orders. Check out www.indymuslim-response.com/ for more info.

UPDATE: This year’s Muslim Day at the Statehouse has been cancelled, in an effort to #FlattenTheCurve, and do our part to minimize large gatherings on account of the Coronavirus.

We appreciate and reciprocate all the love and support from our Hoosier community, and pray that you and yours stay well!


Join MAI at the Statehouse to learn about legislation that affects all Hoosiers, and legislation that is specific to the Muslim community. This will be an engaging half-day session with educational panel discussions and a meet-and-greet with state elected officials and candidate.

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. 

Space is limited, so register early!

For media and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Executive Director Lori Joundi, ljoundi@indianamuslims.org.