Not attending congregational prayer in the mosque out of fear for oneself
Fatwa No: 292729

Question

I live in a colony of soldiers, though many civilians are mixed within. Our country is, sometimes, subject to terrorist attacks that may specifically target the police or soldiers, and there have also been some attacks on mosques. As such, according to my father, our mosque is a possible target. Sometimes, for a few days after such an attack, he would stop me from going to the mosque altogether, at other times, he only stops me from going out in the dark, thus telling me to pray the Fajr and Isha prayers at home, out of fear of getting hurt or dying. Is this permissible? Sometimes, I feel like he is being over-cautious. Then again, being only a teenager, this is just a feeling, and I cannot refute my father's fear, as seeing the incidents happening in our country, it could be regarded as valid. Please answer my question directly considering my particlar situation instead of only redicrecting me to other fatwas.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The jurists  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them stated that the fear for one’s life is one of the sound reasons for not attending the Friday prayer and the congregational prayer in the mosque according to those who hold the view that it is an obligation to perform the five daily prayers in congregation in the mosque.

Imam Ash-Shaafi’i  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book al-Umm, “If a man fears that if he goes out to the Friday prayer, the ruler (the authorities) will imprison him without right, then he is entitled to not attend the Friday prayer.” 

Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni about the sound reasons for not attending the Friday prayer and the five daily congregational prayers:

The person who fears for himself is excused for not attending the Friday prayer because the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, 'The sound excuses are illness or fear;' and fear is of three types: fearing for one’s life, fearing for one’s wealth, and fearing for one’s family; the first type is to fear that the ruler would take (imprison) him, or that an enemy, or a thief, or a beast, or an animal, or a flood, and so on, will hurt him in himself.

Also, the Fiqh Encyclopedia reads:

The jurists hold the view that fear from the ruler is considered as one of the sound reasons for not attending the Friday prayer and the congregational prayer because being safe from the wrongdoer is a condition for them [i.e. for the Friday prayer and the congregational prayer] being obligatory; so anyone who fears for himself or his honor or his wealth; or who fears for other people’s money which he is obliged to defend; or who fears for his religion, like fearing to be obliged to kill a man or beat him; or who fears to be imprisoned because he is unable to repay his debt [as he has no money to do so], because imprisoning a person in financial difficulties is an injustice; so everyone who is in such a state is excused for not attending the Friday prayer and the congregational prayer.

Besides, the congregational prayer in the mosque is something upon which the scholars differed in opinion in regard to its obligation; the majority of the scholars hold the view that it is a confirmed Sunnah and not an obligation. Also, many of the scholars who hold the view that the congregational prayer is an obligation do not consider that it is an obligation to perform it in the mosque, and the congregation according to them is achieved by performing it in congregation even if this was not in a mosque.

Therefore, if your father orders you to perform the prayer at home because he fears for you, then you are obliged to obey him, and you may pray in congregation with your family.

Allaah Knows best.

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