Preparing more than one place to

(Part No. 8; Page No. 293)  Fatwa no. 2835 Praise be to Allah; and may peace be upon His Messenger, his family and Companions! The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has read the questions submitted from the Head of the Islamic Council in Canada to His Honor Chairman which are referred by the number 3539/1/D in 3/1/1400 A.H. These questions include an introduction in addition to some questions which were answered.The introduction:Many years ago, Masjids (mosques) were very rare here in Canada . So, the Muslims used to rent a hall for Salah (Prayer) in any hotel, school or church for a couple of hours on Fridays and Sundays.Later, many Masjids were built to offer the five congregational Prayers, except Salat-ul-`Eid (the Festival Prayer), as the place is usually too small to offer them. So, they continued to rent large halls which can hold hundreds, or sometimes thousands of people.Most of these halls are owned by the city council or private companies. They were originally built for amusement, such as dancing, semi-nude skiing, gambling, drinking wine, and circus performances. This resulted in the following :1- Masjids became deserted on the days of Islamic festivals.2- There are so many people who do not know the address of the Masjids, because the announcements for Salah always give directions to these meeting halls, not in the Masjids, so people have become accustomed to frequenting these (Part No. 8; Page No. 294) halls.3- People, especially women, feel differently towards a meeting hall than they do towards a Masjid, which implies holiness. Thus, they go to the hall fancily dressed and wearing makeup and perfumes. If the Salah were held in the Masjid, this would not occur.4- As the general atmosphere of the hall is social, it is natural that men and women intermingle. Thus, it turns into a party, not Salah and a form of `Ibadah (worship).5- Every year on the occasion of Salat-ul-`Eid, television channels photograph the men and women from every direction. When the photos are published in the newspapers, it seems as if we were attending a wedding party, not Salah.6- Many non-Muslims are usually invited, such as the mayor, some deputies and prominent men. They sit in the corners of the hall to watch the Muslims while they are offering Salah. The naive Muslims think that this is one of the ways of Da`wah (calling to Islam); whereas the non-Muslims regard it as just amusement. If we offer Salah in the Masjid, these people will not be able to watch the Muslim women, as there is a special place for them to offer Salah.Although the Muslims undoubtedly clean the hall before offering Salah there, their conscience remains unclear, as they had removed Najasah `Ayniyyah (ritual impurity with discernable characteristics), but they have not removed (Part No. 8; Page No. 295) Najasah Hukmiyyah (ritual impurity without discernable characteristics). How can they offer Salah in a hall that was originally established for prohibited types of amusement? Yesterday there was a wine party, and tomorrow there will be a promiscuous dance.The question is:Your Honor, Sheikh `Abdul-`Aziz Head of the Ifta' Department in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!).Some years ago, the Muslims introduced a new tradition to Salat-ul-`Eid in this country. They abandon the Masjids on the day of the feast because they are too small, and they rent a hall which has been originally established for prohibited types of amusement in order to offer Salah there. They do so on the basis that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to offer Salat-ul-`Eid outside Al-Madinah in the desert, except when there was an excuse. Accordingly, we would like to receive your answer to the following questions:Q 1: Is it a must in Salat-ul-`Eid that all the people offer it in the same place and at the same time, regardless of the place?

A 1: First, it is not a prerequisite for the validity of Salat-ul-`Eid that it be offered in the same place. However, it is better to be offered in the same place, preferably in the desert if possible. If it is difficult, such as when the town is so large, it is permissible to offer it in two places or more in the desert as much as will be convenient for them. If it is difficult to offer in an open area due to rain for instance, (Part No. 8; Page No. 296) they can offer it in a Masjid if there is enough space, as much as will be convenient to them. Otherwise, they can offer it in groups; each group in the Masjid where it is easier for them to offer Salah in. Second, in case of offering Salah in more than one place, whether in the desert or in Masjids, a group of the people can offer it first, and another group later, provided that all of them offer it in the time between sunrise and the prescribed time of Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer. Q 2: Is it permissible to offer Salah in a hall that was originally established for dancing, drinking wine and gambling, although there is a Masjid in the city? A 2: It has been revealed in the answer to the first question that it is a Sunnah to offer Salat-ul-`Eid in the desert if possible. Otherwise, it should be offered in Masjids. Thus, it cannot be offered in a hall that was originally established for holding parties if there are Masjids, as it is considered neither a Masjid nor desert, and because it was originally established and is still used for committing acts that incur Allah's displeasure, such as drinking wine. It was not established on a basis of Taqwa (fear/wariness of offending Allah), but to disobey Allah. (Part No. 8; Page No. 297) Thus, it becomes like Masjid Al-Dirar which Allah prohibited the Prophet (peace be upon him) from offering Salah therein in His statement, Never stand you therein. Offering Salah in such places still being used for their original purposes affects the Khushu` (the heart being submissively attuned to the act of worship) required in Salah and contradicts the spirit of being in a place of `Ibadah. Renting such a hall while people can offer Salah in the Masjids or in the desert is a form of wasting money and assisting corrupt people in their corruption. Q 3: Does cleaning these places remove Najasah `Ayniyyah and Najasah Hukmiyyah?Q 4: If Salah is permissible there, does this mean that necessities make restrictions permissible? A 3, 4: If they are cleaned by pouring water until Najasah is removed, these places are considered ritually pure. If it is just by sweeping, they are not considered ceremoniously pure, unless Najasah is just dust or pebbles which are not fixed to the ground. In this case, it is cleaned just by sweeping. However, you mentioned in the introduction that the people spread clean rugs on the ground after sweeping it. Thus, they offer Salah on clean rugs, not on Najasah. Prohibiting Salah there is just for the reasons previously mentioned in the answer to the second question, not because the ground itself is ceremoniously impure. Thus, it cannot be said that it is because (Part No. 8; Page No. 298) necessities make restrictions permissible. Q 5: If it is permissible, which is more rewarded, offering Salah there at the same time or offering Salah in the Masjid in two groups? A: It has been previously mentioned that offering Salah in such places is impermissible except in case of necessity. Thus, it cannot be compared to offering Salah in the desert or in Masjids.As for Salat-ul-`Eid in two groups in the Masjid, it is impermissible. This can be avoided by offering it in the desert if possible, by building a second floor in the Masjid, expanding it or building a more spacious Masjid.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.