#52: Wearing Mask Whilst Praying

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. What is the ruling of wearing a face mask while praying?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah for the countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations for our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and those who follow his footsteps till the Last Day.

The Definition and Types of Face Mask

Wearing a face mask is an important precautionary step in preventing the spread of respiratory disease which is caused by viruses, which also include COVID-19. A face mask is used to protect both a healthy person from getting infected as well as prevent an infected person from infecting others around him.

Two types of face masks can be worn as a precautionary step which is medical and non-medical face masks. A medical face mask such as the 3-ply surgical mask is normally used by health officers. However, it is also recommended for the public who are experiencing breathing difficulties or symptoms. In areas where COVID-19 infections are reported and physical distancing is hard to be observed, the 3-ply surgical mask is also recommended for the high-risk and vulnerable such as the elderly (those who are 60 years and above) and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

The usage of non-medical face masks is recommended for those who don’t have any symptoms but is in places where physical distancing is hard to be observed such as in public transportation, workplace, grocery store and crowded places. Currently, there are various types of non-medical face masks in the market.

World Health Organization (WHO) recommended fabric non-medical face mask should have 3 layers which consist of:

  • The innermost layer should be hydrophilic which means it can absorb water (for example cotton or a mixture of cotton);
  • The outermost layer must be made from a hydrophobic which means it doesn’t absorb water (for example polypropylene, polyester or its combination) which limit the contamination from the outside from penetrating and entering the nose and mouth of the wearer; and
  • A hydrophobic middle layer made from non-synthetic woven material such as polypropylene or cotton could increase the filtering or hold water droplets.

However, there are numerous non-medical fabric face masks sold on the market that don’t fulfil the characteristics recommended by the WHO. However, these face masks can still be worn by the public but their efficiency may be different depending on the type and number of fabric layers used. Face masks cannot be worn by children under the age of two (2) years old, those who have difficulty in breathing and unconscious individuals, less abled, or those who cannot take off their face masks without the help of others. The face masks worn should be disposed of properly. [1]

The Ruling of Wearing Face Mask Whilst Praying

In the above issue, originally, the ruling of covering one’s mouth in prayer without any reason is makruh (discouraged). In a hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah RA, he said:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَهَى عَنِ السَّدْلِ فِي الصَّلاَةِ وَأَنْ يُغَطِّيَ الرَّجُلُ فَاهُ

“God’s Messenger forbade trailing garments during prayer and that a man should cover his mouth.” [2]

In understanding the above hadith, al-Khatib al-Syirbini stated that it is makruh for a person to pray while covering his mouth. [3] Among the reasons for this restriction is because it could prevent him from reciting the recitation in prayer properly as well as prevent him from prostrating perfectly. [4]

However, if there is a need or reason to do so, then covering one’s mouth while praying is permissible. This is as cited by Ibn Qudamah from the statement of Ibn Abd al-Bar. [5]

Hence, here we state that in the situation when the COVI-19 pandemic is rampant, then wearing a face mask while praying is permissible for there is a reason and need to do so, which is to prevent and stop the spread of this pandemic. The reason is when a person wears a face mask, it helps prevent saliva, phlegm and mucus of the wearer from being spread in the air if he coughs or sneezes, thus preventing others from getting infected.

In a hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

لاَ يُورِدَنَّ مُمْرِضٌ عَلَى مُصِحٍّ

“Do not put a patient with a healthy person).” (as a precaution). [6]

AL-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said: “There is a strengthening element on the restriction of being a carrier or spreading diseases.” [7]

Fatwa Regarding the Wearing of Face Mask Whilst Praying

According to the fatwa issued by Dar al-Ifta’ Palestine on 25th June 2020, the ruling of wearing a face mask whilst praying during the COVID-19 pandemic is permissible, the opinion of some which state that it is makruh is only when there is no need or muktabar reason to do so. [8]

Lajnah Fatwa Majma’ Buhuth Islamiyyah among others stated: What is presumed as most people regarding it is makruh to cover one’s mouth and nose, this is only when there is no muktabar reason or need to wear it. And the meaning of makruh according to fiqh scholars, the prayer is still valid. Imam al-Nawawi said, it is makruh tanzihi according to the hadith of Abu Hurairah R.A. (Fatwa issued on 20th March 2020)

Syeikh Dr Shauqi Allam, Egypt’s Grand Mufti stated that Syarak didn’t restrict the wearing of face masks in prayer to save ourselves from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is included in uzur Syarie which is permissible and this situation is exempted from makruh. (See the statement made on 10/12/2020)[9]

Imam and Khatib of Quba’ Mosque, Syeikh Sulaiman al-Rahili gave his opinion stating that wearing a face mask when praying in the mosque is permissible and it is not makruh during the coronavirus pandemic. (See the statement on 28th May 2020) [10]

Conclusion

Hence, it is permissible to wear a face mask while praying during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the final opinion and included in the exemption that happened when a certain infectious disease is spreading such as COVID-19. May Allah SWT give us the understanding of religion for us all. Amin. Wallahu a’lam.

 

[1] See the portal Medical Device Authority (MDA), Ministry of Health Malaysia https://portal.mda.gov.my/ms/pengumuman/574-pemakaian-pelitup-muka-facemask.html

[2] Narrated by Abu Daud (643)

[3] See al-Iqna’, 1/124

[4] See Mirqat al-Mafatih, 2/636

[5] See al-Mughni, 1/432

[6] Narrated by al-Bukhari (5771)

[7] See Fath al-Bari, 10/242

[8] qudsnet.com/post/489959/فتوى-حول-حكم-ارتداء-الكمامة-والقفازات-في-الصلاة-والتباعد-بين-مصلي-ال

[9] al-ain.com/article/mask-prayer-corona

[10] www.watan.com/2020/05/27/هل-يجوز-إرتداء-الكمامة-أثناء-الصلاة-وق/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Home
Account
Cart
Search