When a Plague or a Pandemic Occur is Dua or Qunout Legislated? An Essay between the Shafa’I and the Hanabala Jurists

When a
Plague or a Pandemic Occur is Dua or Qunout Legislated?

An Essay
between the Shafa’I and the Hanabala Jurists

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Whenever there is a
plague or a pandemic outbreak is it legislated to make dua to Allah asking Him
to lift it, and should this be done individually, or in a congregation based on
the seriousness of the incident; as found in some Islamic Jurisprudence Schools.
Moreover, should the people go out to a Musala in an open area after breaking
fast similarly to the rain prayer?

The answer to this is a supplication to Allah is a legislated act for the Muslims to perform when a plague befalls them in their country. It’s allowed for them to perform this act singularly and in the congregation. This is the opinion of the Shafa’I Jurisprudence. This opinion is built on the issue of making Qunoot during difficult times. Imam Ash-Shafa’I held the position that it’s permissible to perform Al-Qunoot during difficult times which include plagues and droughts. In his book, “Al-Um”, he wrote, “I don’t dislike a person making Qunoot during difficult times; however in times of ease then it’s disliked.

The Qunoot during hard
times which include is considered a legislated act to the Shafa’I school,
unlike with the Hanabala. The Hanabala (followers of Imam Ahmed) say it’s not
legislated to make Qunoot during a plague asking Allah to remove it; as a
plague happened during the time of the companions and nothing was reported on
them making Qunoot.[1]

 The Hanbali texts such as Zad mention Qunoot
is allowed to be done during difficult times, but dismiss plagues. Imam Ahmed
said a plague happened during the time of companions (رضي
الله عنهم  ) in a town known as
Emmaus during the of Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه
) and nothing was reported that he ordered Qunoot.

Imam Al-Uthaymeen said there is a difference of opinion if whether or not a person should make dua asking Allah to lift the plague.

Some scholars have mentioned dua
should be done as the plague has caused difficult times. This is a great thing
when the Muslims unite fleeing to Allah begging Him to remove the plague.

Other scholars have stated that dua to Allah asking Him to remove the plague shouldn’t be done. The reason being, when a Muslim dies from a plague then he is considered a martyr. It’s inappropriate to make Qunoot to remove something grants a person martyrdom. In fact, we submit to Allah’s decree and when He sees fit to remove the plague then He will do so.[2]

Here we can see that there is a
difference of opinion about the legitimacy of performing Qunoot among the
scholars for the issue. Their differences in more detail are based on several
issues. The weakest of the issues is since death is certain to come there is no
need to make dua asking Allah to help us avoid it during the pandemic crisis.

Ibn Hajr mentioned this is
position is weak as that would include leaving all actions and relying
completely on the Qadr, while not taking up the necessary means for certain things
to come into place. Ie. Having children is by the Qadr, yet one still needs to
get married and have relations!

Many Sufis lean towards the view that dua should be avoided during a plague; however, it’s legislated to make dua for good health for a sick person. Moreover, there is a legislated dua in seeking refuge from all kinds of illnesses, and without a doubt supplicating to Allah is way better than taking medicine.

Further issues of debate:

  • A plague is a mercy for the believer, so how could it be possible to make dua to remove it.

Ibn Hajr replied to this by saying the only way we can say it’s prohibited to make dua to Allah to remove the plague is by way of clear authentic texts, which show it’s possible to do so. This is similar to making dua for sick to get well soon, seeking refuge in Allah from diseases, and taking medicine from a doctor.

Furthermore, since the plague is a mercy this doesn’t negate that idea of asking Allah to lift it. Mercy is one thing and its effects are another. The effects and reasons for something can vary at different levels. i.e mild,moderate, and severe. This is similar to a fever.  

  • Having patience during a plague allows
    one to receive the reward of a martyr is he dies

Ibn Hajr mentioned that dying as a  martyr during a plague can still be achieved even if the person makes dua to Allah to remove it. Reason being, seeking refuge and assistance in Allah is something desired and recommended. Facing a plague is similar to facing the enemy on the battlefield. It’s been authentically reported to ask Allah for good health and safety from both situations, but if a person falls ill or encounters the enemy on the battlefield he must remain patient, but at the same time he doesn’t wish to encounter either.

making Dua and praying witr ever occurred during the time of the Salaf?

Ibn Hajr mentioned that nothing specifically regarding Qunoot during a plague has reached us from the era of the Sahabah,  or the Tabee’oon, or that any of them joined together to make prayer similar to the rain prayer.

What has reached us though are a few reports involving serious incidents that caused difficulty. For example, there was an earthquake during the reign of Umar ibn Abdil Aziz and he ordered the people that had the ability to give charity and to make dua saying ,” Our Lord we have wronged ourselves.”

Dua made for Qunoot during the plague.

Ibn Hajr states that he hasn’t found
anything written specifically from the Jurist about the exact wording and
therefore what can be said is for the iman and what the listeners can
understand; as found in all Qunoots during times of extreme difficulty. [3]

It’s evident that both sides of
the argument have their proofs and evidences for either allowing Qunoot or not.
The scholars who are well grounded in their understanding are left to make a
verdict similarly to how the issued edicts to close schools, masjids and
airports, to issue a fatwa regarding the issue. And Allah the Most high knows

Prepared by

Abu Aaliayah Abdullah ibn Dwight

March 20,2020 ©

Doha, Qatar.


[2] Al-Muntee’
ala zad al Mustaqna’  vol,4 pg 42

[3] Return
to بذل الماعون في فضل الطاعون   , by Ibn Hajr pg 315-334

The Difference between the Fard and Nafilah Prayers

The Difference between the Fard and Nafilah Prayers

All Praises belongs to Allah the Most High. Allah is the One who sustains life and causes death. I bear witness that He is alone above His throne in a manner that befits His Majesty. I also attest to the fact that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is His final Messenger sent to mankind and Jinn. To our topic:

This is part of a collection of terminology and vocabulary that the Muslim should know and understand.  Included in this series is the difference between a Messenger and Prophet, the difference between Miskeen and Fuqarah, the difference between Islam and Iman and various others. This definition and benefit was taken from a book titled “ Fiqhul ‘Ebaddah”. By Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih Uthaymeen(may Allah have mercy on him).

The selections are my own based on what the ulema have mentioned in their books of Fiqh, Hadeeth, Usul and Tafseer. These definitions helped me to understand the language of the scholars better, in particularly religious verdicts.  And I hope it will assist my brothers and sisters as well. Ameen.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

There are some differences between the Fard and Nafilah Prayers. The most clear are as follows;

  1. The Nafilah-super-obligatory prayers are acceptable while in transportation, even if unnecessary. When a person is traveling and prays a super-obligatory prayer while in a car, plane, on a camel or in any other type of transportation he lowers his head for the ruku’ and sujud. Also he can pray while moving the direction he’s facing.
  2. When a person starts the Fard-obligatory prayer it is haraam for him to stop praying; unless it is extremely necessary. Now on the other hand it is permissible to come out of a Nafilah prayer with a valid reason. And if the person hasn’t got a valid reason to come out of the  prayer he’s  not held accountable.
  3. A person is a sinner when he abandons the Fard prayers. When he doesn’t offer the Nafil prayers he’s not a sinner.
  4. Fard prayers have been legislated to be carried out in congregation. The Nafilah prayers don’t have to be done in Jama’;except for a few particular prayers. Prayers like the one seeking rain from Allah and eclipse. There is no harm for a person to sometimes offer a Nafilah prayer in congregation. This is similar to what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did with a few of his companions some nights. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed Nafilah prayers with Ibn ‘Abbass(may Allah be pleased with him)once, Huthayfah(may Allah be pleased with him)once and with Ibn Mas’ud(may Allah be pleased with him)once.


During Ramadhan Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed Qiyam three nights with his companions, and then he stopped. He was afraid that Allah would have made it an obligation. This proves that Qiyam in congregation during Ramadhan is a sunnah; as the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed it in Jama’.

Translated by. Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle

Doha, Qatar. 21/6/1429

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