Will our prayers be valid if we listen to a sermon broadcasting on a Saudi TV channel and offering Friday prayers online with the congregation at home. Similarly, will our prayers be valid if as suggested by some friends we offer Friday prayers through Zoom, a video calling software similar to Skype,
in which everyone can attend a conference call from their homes, and the Imam from his home read the sermon, and lead the prayer people will follow him on the zoom from their homes?
It should be noted that in order to perform prayers in congregation there are certain conditions that must be observed. Some of these basic conditions are as follows:
1: The place of the follower (place of standing for prayers) should not be different from the place of the Imam, in fact both places should be united, ie both the Imam and the follower should be present in the same place.
2: The place of the imam should be in front of the followers.
3: In offering congregational prayers the rows of the followers are connected, the followers should stand side by side and their rows should not be isolated and scattered.
After this understanding , the answer to the question is that if the Imam and the follower (Muqtadi) are in separate places, then the Iqteda (to follow) will not be valid and the prayers will not be performed, even if the follower (muqtadi) is hearing the Imam’s voice through a TV channel or a conference video call. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid following the Imam in Friday or normal obligatory prayers through TV channel or video calling software.
فی الدر المختار :1/550: شروط عشرۃ: نیۃ المؤتم الاقتداء واتحاد مکانہما وصلاتہما
وفی رد المحتار: 1/550: قولہ واتحاد مکانہما فلو اقتدی راجل براکب او بالعکس او راکب یرکب براکب دابۃ اخری لم یصح لاختلاف مکانہما
Allah knows the best