It is permissible to perform congregational Prayers keeping the social distancing required by health experts. That distancing will not invalidate the prayer nor the congregation Jama'ah.
This question of the permissible distance in congregational prayers is not new as many think. It has been mentioned in our books before about one thousand years. Shaikh Al-Tousi who established the Hawza of Najaf Ashraf before about one thousand years ago and passed away in 460 Hijri, has mentioned it in his book (Al-Mabsoot). Al-Muhaqqiq Al-Hilli (676 \Hijri) and Yahya ibn Sa'eed (689 Hijri) who were among the prominent Shia Ulama did mention it. The verdict of all these three prominent Ulama and many other Ulama that it is permissible to perform congregational prayer with distance between the individuals as far as the shape of the group is a congregation الهيئة العرفية. This in principle. The medical and health reason based on the the obligation on every Muslim to save himself and other from infection, add another reason to our Maraaji' of Taqleed to act upon the verdict of Shaikh al-Tousi and other old Ulama allowing the distance in congregational prayers.
Yes, some maraja have now come out and are saying that congregational prayers may be held with a certain measurement of distancing between people in the rows.
May Allah grant you success
as salam alaikum
the term "Imam" can be used also for the one who is leading the congregational prayer. In fact he is called "Imam al-Jama'ah".
With prayers for your success.
Imam in Arabic means leader. Leader can be pious like the prophets and their successors mentioned in Quran; (We made them Leaders (Imams) guiding people by Our order.) (Sura Anbiyaa', Verse 73). Leader can be bad person who misleads his followers away from Allah and leads them to hellfire as we read in Quran (And We made them leaders call to the Hell Fire) ( Qasas, Verse 41).
The leader in prayers is called in Arabic Imam al-Jama'ah, while the leader of Friday prayers is called Imam al-Jum'ah.
In some non Arabic languages they call him Pesh Namaz (Leader of prayer).
It also depends on the society as we see in Europe and America, they call him Imam , while in other countries they call him Shaikh or Shaykh. In the Indian subcontinent, Sunni and Shia Muslims use the title of Maulana for religious teachers and leaders of prayers.
Shia Muslims live all over the world and they have their own cultural varieties which is respected in Islam as far as it does not contradict any Islamic teaching.
Islamic Shariah contains rules to organize the Muslim society in
all the dimensions starting from the personal life to the family life
to the social life and to the whole humankind relationship. Rules in
Islam do not mean insult but it means organizing the society in the
best way for the interest of everyone.
Illegitimately born child has got rules in Islam which aim to keep
him/her away from the public criticism. As the child did not commit a sin
and he/she should not pay for the sin of his/her parents.
The illegitimate child in Islam is kept away from leading the public
because that will make him a target of criticism and abuse from people
who will say that he was born from illegitimate act.
Islam also does not want to legitimise any illegitimate act. That is
why the child born from an illegitimate relationship cannot be a
leader in the community because that will encourage some people to go
for illegitimate sexual relationships.
An illegitimate child is not allowed to be Marja’ of Taqleed. He can
be a highly educated scholar but he cannot be Marja’ of Taqleed.
That also is not only for him but also for other respected persons in
the community like our respected ladies.
If a pious and highly educated female Islamic scholar becomes a
Mujtahidah, her own son or brother cannot follow her in Taqleed
because one of the conditions of Marja’ of Taqleed is to be a man.
And also for leading the Jamaat prayers, the congregation prayer, one
of the conditions is that the leader of the congregation prayer must
be a man and must be born from a legitimate marriage.
Islam does not allow us to pray behind pious ladies like our own
mothers. So that does not mean any insult to our mothers but it is part of
organisation which must be followed, and that is similar when we are not allowed to pray behind a person who was born from an illegitimate relationship.
That does not mean that we are punishing him but Allah SWT wants the
organisation of the society to go on to avoid pointing the fingers to
such persons and also a way from legitimising an illegitimate sexual
act which took place.
An illegitimate person can be a lover of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) and will
get his full reward for all his good deeds because it is very clear in
the Holy Qur’an that (لا تزر وازرة وزر أخرى) “No one will carry the burden of
the act of others”. So the child who was born from an illegitimate
relationship will never carry the burden of the sinful acts committed
by his parents. He will get the reward of his good deeds like any
In fact Islam has kept the respect of such persons to keep them away from
the public leadership and observation so that their life can go on like any other person
and they will get the reward of their good deeds like any other
The level of the stand of Imam al-Jama'ah should not be higher than the level of the people praying behind him. He can stand lower than their level but not higher.
Shia Muslims follow the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) which is narrated through Ahlul Bayt (AS) and their authentic followers, while many Muslims follow unauthentic acts claiming that it is from the Sunnah.
as salam alaikum
there are traditions in both Shi'i and Sunni books about straighten the lines during Jama'ah and do not leave gaps. However this does not mean that believers should strictly touch feet and shoulders one another. Rather it means to keep close one another according to common understanding in a way that is not loose. Hanafi school holds the same view and their scholars have discussed how Sunni ahadith and literature should not be interpreted as implying the necessity of touching each other's feet and shoulders.
With prayers for your success.
We must help him as much as we can even if his situation requires us to break our Prayer to help his life or safety.
This book goes into the detail of what the other respected scholars have indicated in their responses.
The narrations claiming that Abu Bakr led the congregational prayers
during the illness of the Holy Prophet (SAWA) is a fabricated
narration. The narrators of it are well-known enemies of Ameerul
Mo’meneen (AS) and even in Sunni books of Ahadith and ‘Elm-al-Rijaal
they are being criticized by lying. The narrations come mainly from
Ayesha bint Abu Bakr, who led a big army (Al-Jamal battle) to fight and to kill Ameerul Mo’meneen (AS). Other narrators like ‘Orwah ibn al Zubair and his son
Hisham ibn ‘Orwah are well-known enemies of Ameerul Mo’meneen (AS).
Among the narrators is ibn Shihab al Zohri, the well-known servant of
the tyrant rulers of bani Omayyah and Abu Burdah who was appointed by
Muwaiyah and he was among those who gave false witness to kill the pious
companion Hijr bin Adai who was killed by Muwaiyah, So, going through
the narrators it is very clear that all them had a negative stand
against Ahlul Bayt (AS).
Besides the unauthentic narrators, the context of the
narrations itself is doubtful. If the Holy Prophet (SAWA) had really
asked Abu Bakr to lead the prayers in the Masjid, then why should he
go with his critical health supported by Al Fazl ibn Abbas and Ameerul
Mo’meneen (AS) to the Masjid and drag Abu Bakr back,as it is mentioned
in the authentic Sunni books. In fact the Holy Prophet (SAWA) never
sent Abu Bakr but he came to know that Ayesha sent a message to her
father that the Holy Prophet (SAWA) is unable to lead the prayers so
go and lead the prayers in the Masjid. When the Holy Prophet (SAWA)
came to know, he was so upset and he tolerated with difficulty walking
with support of 2 people to the Masjid and lead the prayers himself after dragging back Abu Bakr who was sent by his daughter Ayesha with out the permission of he Prophet (SAWA) and against his orders as he wanted Ali (AS) to lead the prayers.