Friday Jummah Prayers are Cancelled at Sammamish Masjid, due to COVID-19 outbreak.
Due to COVID-19 situation and order issued by the State and King county SMA have decided to cancel the Jummah Prayer and large gatherings at Sammamish Masjid until further notice. Please follow safety guideline from CDC https://www.cdc.gov/ and stay safe and healthy.
Guidance from King County health department.
Jazāk Allāhu Khayran (جَزَاكَ ٱللّٰهُ خَيْرًا),
Secretary Sammamish Mosque
======== Earlier Message on the subject =====
March 05, 2020, Sammamish, WA
Dear respected Sammamish and Issaquah Sisters and Brothers,
The Sammamish Muslim Association (SMA) is strongly committed to the health and safety of our congregation and the broader community. In light of that commitment, and out of an abundance of caution given the recommendations from King County Health and the State of Washington about the COVID-19 outbreak, we are cancelling Jummah (congregational prayer services) tomorrow, Friday, March 6, at Sammamish Mosque, and we advise our congregants to pray dhuhr at home instead. We are also suspending all programs at the Sammamish Mosque to include the congregational daily prayers. This decision to suspend Jumma, Congregational prayers will remain until further notice and we will assess and advise the community in due course.
Since many of us gather in the mosques, especially on Fridays, there is even a greater risk of the flu spreading in our communities. In times of crisis, public health and safety takes precedence over normal actions and activities that could lead to the spread of the virus.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) encouraged actions designed to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. The Prophet told his community, if disease breaks out in a particular area, “do not leave that place, and when you hear of its spread in another place, do not go there.” (Al-Tirmidhi) Another hadith states: “A sick person (with a contagious disease) must not be brought among the healthy.” (Fiqh-us-Sunnah)
We did not make this decision lightly or easily, as Jummah is a religious obligation and a core part of our services at SMA. But we have followed religious guidance in this matter and came to this conclusion for the reasons set forth below.
In making this difficult decision, we had to answer two questions:
- Do we have permission from a religious perspective to cancel Jummah in the event of a public health emergency or advisory from public health officials?
- Does the current situation warrant cancellation?
The religious scholars agreed with the ruling about coronavirus from the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) available here that “It is not permissible for the masjids and Islamic centers to suspend the congregational prayers and jumuah because of the spread of the virus in the United States, unless the local public health authorities in a particular city advise the suspension of services at the houses of worship and avoidance of large public gatherings. In the event of that development, the masjid managements should comply with such instructions. This would be a sufficient excuse to pray Jummah at home (as dhuhr) until the restriction is removed.”
This ruling provides the religious permissibility for cancelling the Friday Jummah service.
The second question then is whether the current situation meets the standards for cancellation. As you know, King County is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in our country, and King County along with the State of Washington have both declared a state of emergency. In addition the city of Sammamish has issued a proclamation of local emergency for the City of Sammamish, WA, to support the City’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the public health impacts of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – see the announcement here
We have spoken directly with King County public health officials and read their public health advisories and recommendations. They recommend cancellation of events and avoidance of large public gatherings. Specifically, King County Public Health has recommended “social distancing” measures that include (1) canceling or postponing events/gatherings of more than 10 people; and (2) maintaining a distance of 4-6 feet in gatherings. Since our Jummah gatherings have in excess of 150 people, and because our prayers are such that we cannot maintain 4-6 feet of distance (as we pray shoulder to shoulder), we would not be complying with the precautions advised by local public health officials if we held Jummah.
The AMJA ruling directs us as follows: “The masjid managements should follow the updates that are periodically issued by the public health agencies like CDC and comply with their instructions.” In accordance with the AMJA religious guidance and to ensure compliance with the recommendations of King County Public Health Department (created in consultation with CDC), we are cancelling Jummah and advising individuals to pray dhuhr at home instead.
Additionally, we have also taken the decision to suspend all school activities and all social gatherings sponsored at Sammamish Mosque until further notice. Again this an action necessary to restrict the movement or contact between people designed to limit the exasperation of the situation and the spread of the virus.
We also know that our religious tradition teaches the importance of protecting life and public health. We seek to uphold those teachings, while also setting an example in the community by complying with the instructions of our local public health officials.
In addition, many of you have shared your concerns and questions about coronavirus and Jummah prayer. We hope this announcement addresses your fears and concerns. We also know that not everyone will agree with this decision. Different masjids in King County will make their own decision on whether to proceed with Jummah. We respect the choice of each individual masjid, but given the size of our congregation and the recommendations of our local public health officials, along with the religious ruling from AMJA and the scholars, we at SMA feel that cancelling Jummah this week is the right thing to do in the interest of communal health and public safety. We hope and pray that Allah (God) protects us all and guides us to the right decision now and every day.
Because these are changing circumstances, we do not yet know if we will cancel Jummah next week. We are closely monitoring the situation and will update the community as circumstances develop. In the meantime, we continue to encourage you to take all necessary precautions to help protect yourselves, your families and our broader community, especially for the sake of those more vulnerable populations (including the elderly, those who are pregnant, those who have compromised immunity, and more). For more information on these precautions, please see our first coronavirus notice here.
While precautions are necessary, we ultimately place our trust and faith in Allah (God). We hope that you will also remain calm even as we all prepare and are vigilant. By taking appropriate precautions, we will all remain safe and protected, insha’Allah (God-willing).
Wa Aleekum Alsalaam Wa rahmat Allah Wa Barakatuh
Jazāk Allāhu Khayran (جَزَاكَ ٱللّٰهُ خَيْرًا),
Sammamish Masjid Association Board