With Eid approaching family members are intending to gather ignoring government and medical advice surrounding social distancing stating not to visit one another’s houses. Some people are being put under pressure from their family to gather on Eid. I'm worried that if I tell my family I won't go due to the current covid-19 crisis a rift will build between my family. Is there any ruling to support? Answer: ِﺑ ْﺴ ِﻢ ا ِﷲ اﻟ ﱠﺮ ْﺣﻤ ِﻦ اﻟ ﱠﺮ ِﺣْﯿﻢ In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Governments prohibit such gatherings for our own health and safety.
If the government issues a stay-at-home order which prohibits all gatherings on the basis of looking out for the well-being of its citizens, even visiting relatives and friends, then a Muslim should obey such a mandate. The general rule is that we must obey the law of the land we live in on the condition that it does not oppose the teachings of Islam. Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ says, “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.” (Surah Al-Nisa: v. 59)
However, if there is no executive order from the government which requires everyone to stay home, rather, remaining home is merely advised, then if someone feels uncomfortable to meet others, even when exercising extra precaution, and chooses to avoid Eid family gatherings, there is nothing wrong with that, and it would not fall under the category of cutting family ties. Thus, such a person should not be criticized for their decision.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “There should be no causing harm to others nor reciprocating harm.” (Sunan Ibn Majah: 2341) Furthermore, it is difficult to discern who has this virus and who does not, therefore one must adopt precautionary measures in order to protect oneself and others, at the same time, knowing that one can only become sick with the decree of Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “There is no adwa (contagion-- the interpretation of this is that contagious diseases do not transfer on their own, however they only transfer with the will of Allah ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ)... and flee from the leper just as you flee from the lion (in this section of the hadith the Prophet [s.a.w.] teaches us to adopt the means]) (Bukhari:5707)
It is suggested that you speak to your family in a kind, wise manner and explain to them that the reason you are avoiding such gatherings is for your safety and their’s. In addition, when restrictions end and it is safe to meet again, you will visit them in person as usual. If a person decides not to visit family and friends due to the virus, another alternative would be to contact them via phone, email, etc.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah Darul Ifta Birmingham