Message from the Imam
“And most certainly We will test you by means of fear, and hunger, and loss of wealth, of lives and of fruits. But give glad tidings unto those who are steadfast. Those who, when misfortune befalls them, say, “Verily, unto Allah we belong and, verily, unto Him we shall return”. It is they upon whom [descend] blessings and Mercy from their Lord, and it is they, who are rightly guided!” (Quran 2:155-157).
I pray that you all and your families are in the best state of health and Iman.
The whole world, as you know, is going through a difficult time due to the spread of Covid-19. The local community, like many communities around the world, has been impacted spiritually, physically and financially by this pandemic.
In view of that, the Champaign County Public Health District has advised that all religious houses of worship remain closed until further notice. Consequently, the Masjid will remain closed in Ramadan and all congregational prayers will continue to be suspended, as required by the local public health authorities. There will be no Taraweeh prayers in the masjid this Ramadan and community members are encouraged to pray Taraweeh in their homes. Although the spiritual impact of this closure on the community is heartbreaking, the life-threatening nature of the Novel Coronavirus is a painful reality that must be acknowledged.
For us, Muslims, complying with the guidelines of the Public Health authorities to limit the spread of this virus and save lives is not just a civic duty, it is, furthermore, a religious duty. The Prophet peace be upon him one day said while he was circling the Ka’ba, “How pure you are and how pure is your fragrance! How great you are and how great is your sanctity! By the one in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the sanctity of the believer is greater to Allah than your sanctity.” (Ibn Mājah).
This authentic hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, means that the life of one single believer has more sanctity than the sanctity of the Ka’ba, which is the center of the holiest mosque in Islam, let alone any other ordinary mosque.
The closure of the Masjid in Ramadan, at a time when we need it most, may stir up some spiritual emotions and questions in us about the alternative. Our religion is flexible and has always alternatives and solutions. The Prophet peace be upon him said, “ الأَرْضُ كُلُّهَا مَسْجِدٌ إِلاَّ الْحَمَّامَ وَالْمَقْبُرَةَ ” “The whole earth is a masjid except public baths and graveyards.” (Abu Dawud).
This means that the closure of the Masjid should not stop us from taking advantage of the numerous blessings of Ramadan, including Taraweeh prayers which can be performed at home.
This current situation is an opportunity for us to bring more Quran and mercy to our homes and turn our houses into masjids. The Prophet peace be upon him said to a group of his companions who were waiting to join him to pray the Ramadan sunnah prayer (Taraweeh), “I have seen and understood what you did. You should pray in your houses, for the best prayer of a person is that which he prays in his house except for the compulsory prayers.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
This means that we are also following the teachings of the Prophet peace be upon him when we pray Taraweeh in our homes.
CIMIC has made sure that the educational and spiritual functions of the Masjid are not interrupted and for that reason, several Zoom accounts were created to continue the Masjid’s mission online. An online Ramadan program is also being prepared by the Ibadaat Committee and will be announced soon.