To read a comprehensive article on the issue, click here.
Some friends sent me a fatwa that represents the position of major Deobandi figures in the Midlands and North, asking me to comment on it (given the serious nature of the affair). The fatwa is dangerous (especially where it encourages 60 year olds to attend congregational prayers) since it pertains to matters of life and death, as well as poorly reasoned. And this is not to mention that it’s predicated on folk religion – an outlook that represents a village mentality that takes God’s deen as magical or a superstitious way of thinking. Yes, the masājid’Allāh are safe spaces where believers congregate, but they’re not mystical buildings that keep out physical harms or devils, nor does a building become consecrated merely because we call it a name.
A mosque is an assigned place where believers gather, when and if they need to gather. And when it comes to prayer, the Prophet said: “The earth was made a masjid and purifying for my mission.” (al-Bukhārī) As long as it is clean, a believer connects to God anywhere. We really need to get that subservience to God will not collapse because some mosques in some parts of the world are temporarily closed.
None of the points mentioned in the fatwa are compelling. It is unworthy of consideration, and as I quickly pick apart each point, you’ll see how bad it is. As believers, we are called to employ our intellects and revelatory guidance. Unfortunately, this fatwa does neither soundly.