What is the ruling regarding performing Eid prayer at home due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?
In responding to the question, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America‘s Resident Fatwa Committee issued the following statement:
The Eid prayer is one of the symbols of Islam. The scholars’ rulings on it vary, deeming it a communal obligation, an individual obligation, or at least a highly stressed sunnah.
Because that which is easy is not voided due to difficulty, so long as it is possible, even in the most stringent of circumstances, it should not be neglected.
Similar to the Jumuah (Friday) prayer, which is performed within its permitted framework, even if only by the mosque administration, so too should the Eid prayer be performed.
The issue of performing the Eid prayer at home for those who missed it in congregation is rather lenient.
While the khutbah is a condition of validity for Jumuah, it is a recommendation (not mandatory) for both Eids. This is supported by the narration of Abdullah ibn al-Saib who said, “I attended the Eid with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and he said, ‘We are going to deliver a sermon, so whoever wants to sit for the sermon should sit, and whoever wants to leave should leave’.” Therefore, neither the khutbah nor listening to it is a requirement of the Eid prayer.
Though the Friday prayer should be primarily performed in the mosque, the Eid prayer is primarily performed outdoors, in an open space outside of the mosque.
Because of that, the majority of the jurists, with the exception of the Hanafis, have declared it permissible to perform it at home for whoever missed it in congregation.
It has been narrated on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that if he missed the Eid prayer with the imam, he would gather his family and servants, and Abdullah ibn Abi Utbah would lead them in two rakahs, making takbir.
Al-Muzani related from Ashl-Shafi`i (may Allah have mercy on him) in Mukhtasar al-Umm, that “the individual should pray both Eids in their home, and so should the traveler, the bondservant, and the woman.”
According to the Malikis, al-Khurashه, a Maliki jurist, said, “It is recommended for whoever misses the Eid prayer with the imam to pray it. Should that be done in a congregation or alone? There are two opinions” (summarized from Sharh al-Khurashi, 2/104).
Al-Mardawi, a Hanbali jurist, said in al-Insaf, “If they miss the prayer (meaning Eid) it is recommended to make it up in the manner it is normally prayed (just as the imam prays it).”
The fatwa of the Permanent Committee in Saudi Arabia is based on this.
Accordingly, there is no harm in performing the Eid prayer at home, individually or in (one’s household) congregation, for those who miss the Eid prayer in congregation or are unable to perform it in congregation due to some constraint.
There is also nothing wrong with listening to a sermon on TV, online, and so on, after performing the Eid prayer at home, either alone or in a private congregation, as a general reminder; because general reminders are permitted regardless of the time or setting.