Part II: Prayer (As-Salat)

Chapter 14

The Friday Prayer

Importance of Friday

         Friday is the most excellent and distinguished day in Islam. According to Abu Hurairah, the Prophet of Islam said: “The best day in which the sun rises is Friday. On this day, Adam was born, on this day he entered Paradise, and on this day he was asked to leave Paradise. And on this day the Resurrection will happen” (Muslim, Abu Daud and Tirmizi). According to another version, Adam died on this day.

         Another Hadith reported by Abu Hurairah says that the Prophet said: “We came to the world last of all, but on the Day of Judgment we shall be the first to enter Paradise. The Jews and the Christians were given the Book before us and we were given after them. They were enjoined to respect Friday but they differed regarding this. And Allah helped us to adhere to this; so all others are behind us, the Jews honouring the next day (i.e. Saturday) and the Christians the day after that day  (i.e. Sunday). – (Bukhari, Muslim).

         Abu Saeed and Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: There is a blessed hour on Friday. If a Muslim prays in this hour and demands from Allah anything good, Allah grants it; and this hour is after Asr prayer (On Friday). – (Ahmad)

         Thus Friday is the most excellent day for the Muslims. This day is so important for them that one of the Surah of Quran has been named Surah al-Jumuah and prayer on this day called Jumuah prayer has been made obligatory. The Jews failed to recognize its merit. So Saturday called was prescribed for them as (Holy day and) day of worship. God had also liberated them from slavery of Egyptian Pharaoh on Saturday. The Christians chose for them Sunday as (Holy day and) day of worship, for they believe that Jesus was resurrected and lifted to heaven on this day after his crucification on Friday.

Friday Prayer

         As mentioned above, Friday is the Holy day for the Muslims and a prayer called Jumuah Prayer is observed by them. Following are the important rules and regulations of this prayer:

1-            It is obligatory: The Qur’an says: O you who believe when the call (Adhaan) is proclaimed for Jumuah (Friday) prayer, hasten to the remembrance of Allah (i.e. prayer) and leave your business. This is better for you if you did but know. And when the prayer is finished, then disperse in the land and seek the bounty of Allah and remember Allah much, so that you may be successful.  – (62:9-10)

         According to Ummul Mumineen Hafsah, the Prophet said: “Friday Prayer is obligatory on every adult male Muslim” (Nisai). Tariq bin Shahab reported that the prophet said: The Friday prayer is obligatory on every Muslim except four persons: A minor child, a woman, a slave and an ill person” (Abu Daud).  Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah have reported that they heard the Prophet saying while he was on the stairs of the pulpit: People are warned against neglecting the Friday Prayer, otherwise Allah will put seal on their hearts and they will be considered certainly among those who are neglectful (Muslim, Ahmad, Nisai). According to Ibn Abbas the Prophet said: He who abondones Jumuah Prayer without genuine excuse, he is written a hypocrite in the Book of Deeds and is not taken out of it (Shafi). According to yet another Hadith, the Prophet said: He who does not honour Jumuah prayer and ignores three such prayers continuously, Allah seals his heart. (Abu Daud, Tirmizi, Nisai). It is reported in Traditions that the Prophet used to offer Zuhr Prayer instead of Jumuah Prayer if he was on Journey as he did at Arafat during his Farewell pilgrimage. So the Jurists have concluded that on a journey, Jumuah Prayer is not obligatory.

         Keeping in view the above Verses and Ahadith, Jumuah Prayer in obligatory on every adult male Muslim. A minor, a slave, a woman, and ill person, a person on journey (and an insane) are exempted from Jumuah Prayer, though they are allowed if they want. These exempted persons and those on whom Jumuah is obligatory but due to some genuine excuse they miss it, they are required to offer Zuhr Prayer.

2-            Preparations for Friday Prayer: It is reported in the Traditions that the Prophet used to get ready for Friday from the night preceding it and would say: The night before Friday is white night and Friday is a bright day (Mishkat). According to Abu Hurairah, the Prophet said: O Muslims! Allah has made this day (meaning Friday) as Eid Day, so you should take bath and brush your teeth on this day (Tibrani). According to Abu Saeed the Prophet said: Every Muslim must take bath on Friday, wear good clothes, and use perfume if he has it (Bukhari, Muslim). According to Abu Hurairah, the Prophet said: A person who has a bath on Friday (and uses oil and perfume); then goes to the mosque early and takes his place quietly without pushing or disturbing people; then he prays Nafl prayer; then sits quietly listening to the Khutbah, he will be forgiven his sins between this Jumuah and the next Jumuah (Bukhari). So the believers are required to take bath, wear clean and good clothes and use perfume on this day.

3-            Time of Friday Prayer: The time of Friday Prayer is the same as that of Zuhr Prayer. The Prophet instructed one of his companions: “Seek nearness to Allah with two Rakaah of prayer on Friday when the sun has passed over the Meridian.” (Darqutni)

4-            Adhaan of Friday Prayer: During the times of the Prophet (PBUH), Hadhrat Abu Bakr and Umar, there used to be only one Adhaan for the Jumuah Prayer at the time when the Imam sat on the pulpit for the Khutbah. The Qur’an also mentions this Adhaan in its verse 9 of Surah 62. However, Hadhrat Usman during his regime introduced another Adhaan to inform the people before the above Adhaan as the population of Madinah had become large and the people became lazy to come to listen to Khutbah in time. Thus both these Adhaans are proclaimed since then.

5-            Hurrying to the Mosque: After hearing the Adhaan, one must stop his business or other engagement and hurry to the mosque, as the Qur’an enjoins in verse 9 of its Surah Jumuah to do it. One must enter the mosque and pray two Rakaah Nafl of greeting the mosque before sitting. If one enters the Mosque when the Imam is delivering the Khutbah, he should still offer these two Rakaah prayer before sitting to listen to the sermon.

6-            Friday Sermon: Friday sermon (called Khutbah) is essential for Friday Prayer, as per practice of the Prophet. It consists of two successive speeches with a brief sitting (for few moments) in between. The method of Khutbah is as follows: The Imam ascends the pulpit, greets the people saying As-Salaamu’ Alaykum and sits there. The Muadhin then calls Adhaan, and after that the Imam stands up and delivers his first speech. The Imam then sits briefly and then stands up again and delivers second speech. It is Sunnah of the Prophet that the Khutbah should be brief (but comprehensive in meaning), should be delivered in loud voice and its content should appeal to the hearts.

         The people should avoid talking or making noise or engaging themselves in other activities while the Imam is delivering Khutbah. They should try to sit near the Imam as far as possible and listen to the Khutbah with care and reverence. The Friday sermon carries tremendous benefits as it reminds the people of Allah and the Last Day and advises what is good for them and what is bad for them and also tells them how they should lead their life in accordance with Islamic teachings.

7-            Offering the Prayer: After delivering the Khutbah, the Imam descends from the pulpit and the followers line up behind him and make straight and proper rowes. The Muadhin then calls the Iqaamah for the Prayer. The Imam then performs two Rakaahs of Prayer making the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and the Qur’an in loud voice, and the congregation follows him as in other prayers.

         It must be noted that congregation is obligatory for Jumuah prayer, as without it Jumuah prayer is not allowed. Also this prayer cannot be offered Qadha (after the time). If you miss it with congregation, then you will offer Zuhr prayer alone in place of it.

8-            Rakaah of Friday Prayer: Two Rakaahs of Nafl prayer are usually offered before Fard Jumuah Prayer. There are two Fard Rakaah of Jummah Prayer which are offered in congregation and the Imam leads the congregation after delivering Khutbah. After the Fard congregational prayer, you may offer two or four Sunnat Rakaahs in your home or in the mosque as per practice of the Prophet and his companions.

            Ibn Umar says that the Prophet did not pray (in the mosque) after Jumuah Prayer until he went home and then prayed two Rakaah (Bukhari, Muslim). Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: Anyone of you who is going to pray after Jumuah prayer, he should pray four Rakaah (Muslim).


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