Worshipping Rona; How the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the practice of Islam in America, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

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The worldwide coronavirus pandemic is one of the most consequential multidimensional events that has befallen the ummah of Islam the last hundred years. The only other event that I can think of that has had as far reaching consequences as the CVID-9 pandemic are the dismantling of the Ottoman Khalfate, the occupation of Palestine, and maybe the Egyptian-Israeli peace accord signed by the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. However, none of those other events resulted in hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world abandoning congregational prayers, Salaatul Jum’ah (the Friday prayer), and the padlocking of mosques round the globe.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced American Muslims and others to ask themselves serious questions about their faith, their resolve and their understanding of their religious creed and principles. And because there has been so much deceit, greed, manipulation of data and obfuscation of the facts, the question of our malleability and blind trust of politically influenced media has resurfaced. Many of our decisions about what we are commanded and encouraged to do by our True Lord, Allah, are directly influenced by COVID-19 and our fear and caution of it. It even has had an impact on what some of us believe about the qadr (predestination), death, and the power of Allah to protect and heal His creation. That should be unsetting.

Thus far, American Muslims have given up the bulk of their congregation and religiously based social practices because of the coronavirus. Some things may be only temporary, possibly going on for months, and other things we have given up may constitute a compete paradigm change in the way we practice of our religion. Only Allah knows and time will tell. Nevertheless, it behooves us to keep track of what we are giving up as a result of this pandemic, so that we can keep a self-accounting, and so that we can mitigate this situation and it’s consequences to the best of our abiity.

American Muslims have abandoned or given up in varying degrees, everything mentioned on the list below.

1. Jum’ah
2. Prayer in congregation
3. Visiting the houses of Allah
5. Family nights at the Masaajid
6. Classes in the Masaajid
7. Halaqas in the Masaajid
8. Pubic lectures in the Masaajid and elsewhere
9. Rallies
10. Family and congregational picnics
11: Ghusl al-mayyit (washing our dead)
12: Salaatul jazaaza in congregation (an important sunnah)
13: Burying our dead without cremation.
14: Visiting the sick and praying over them with ruqya
15: Tal’qeen (urging the dying to say laa ilaaha illa Allah)
16: The mentioning of Allah’s name in His houses
17: Calling the athaan and iqaama in the Masjid.
18: Being on the scrolls of the angels who record for Jum’ah
19 Congregating and socializing after Jum’ah
20: Brother’s breakfasts at the Masjid (used for bonding)
21: Visiting each other for the sake of Allah
22: People coming to the Masjid to take shahaadah.

American Muslims have arguably given up more Islamic religious practices and acts of worship for the sake of the COVID-19 virus than we perform for the sake of Allah, Lord. If that is not a form of worship, (and I’m not saying that it is), it sure seems like it.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad


Imam Luqman Ahmad is an associate Imam and resident scholar at the Toledo Masjid a-Islam in Toledo, Ohio. The views expressed in this article represent his own views.

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