بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي ; وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي ; وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي ; يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي
Friday is an important day for Muslims. Almost all of us will say that we know about the special Friday prayers that are offered at noon and the importance of these prayers. We shall, in this discussion, Insha’Allah try to see how much we know about Friday Prayers. In order to have distinct understanding of the subject, I have tried to make sub-topics and discuss about these sub-topics in brief one after another, which in turn sum up to give detailed explanation of the subject. May Allah make understanding of the subject easy for us!
1. Merits of Friday
Friday is a special day for Muslims. Many of us say that all days are equal as all are being created by Allah. True, but still, Friday is special, it has its own merits. Refer to following hadith:
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “The best day on which the sun rises is Friday; on it Adam (AS) was created; and on it, he descended on earth; and on it, his repentance was accepted; and on it, he died; and on it, the Hour will be established…..”
(Hadith No. 1046, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol.1).
It is to be understood that the concept of Friday is not a new thing for the Ummah of Muhammad (PBUH); rather this day was declared special by Allah for the nations who existed before. Let us say it as a weekend, although it is not same as weekend of modern world. Nevertheless, this one day in a week (Friday) was appointed by Allah as a holy day (it seems ‘holiday’ has been derived from this) and celebration of Friday (i.e. the Salat of Friday) was made compulsory on the races that existed before Muhammad, PBUH. Following hadith explains this very clearly:
Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): I heard Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) saying: “We are the last but the foremost on the Day of Resurrection, though the former nations were given the Scripture before us. And this was their day (Friday) the celebration of which (i.e. Friday prayer etc.) was made compulsory for them, but they differed about it. So, Allah gave us the guidance for it (Friday) and all the other people are behind us in this respect: the Jews’ (holy day is) the following day (i.e. Saturday) and the Christians’ (is) the day after the following day (i.e. Sunday).
(Hadith No. 876, Book of Al-Juma’a, Sahih Bukhari, Vol.2).
See how beneficial it is to read. While trying to know about virtues of Friday, we got lovely information about the concept of weekend too. So, another thing to learn here is that for a Muslim the concept of weekend on Saturdays and Sundays is wrong, Friday is actually the special day of the week that a Muslim should concentrate on.
The importance of Friday can be understood by the fact that there is a whole chapter dedicated to Friday (Surah Al-Juma’a, Chapter No. 62) in Holy Qur’an. There is a direct instruction for all believers about Friday prayers.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِي لِلصَّلاةِ مِنْ يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the Salat on Friday, come to the remembrance of Allah & leave off business. That is better for you if you did but know!”
(Aayah No. 9, Surah Al-Juma’a, Chapter No. 62, Holy Qur’an).
Also, there is a response hour on Friday, during which every supplication from a Muslim is accepted by Allah. Two different times have been reported for this. Refer to ahadith below:
Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) reported that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “Friday has twelve – meaning hours – to it. There is no Muslim who asks Allah for anything (during it) except that Allah gives it to him, so seek it during the last hour after Asr.”
(Hadith No. 1048, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).
Abu Burdah bin Abi Musa Al-Ash’ari said: Abdullah bin Umar (RA) asked me, “Have you heard your father narrating from Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) regarding Friday – meaning the Hour (of response)?” I said, “Yes, I heard him say: I heard Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) say: It is between the time that the Imam sits down until prayer is finished.”
(Hadith No. 1049, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).
Maybe the blessed moment of Divine Grace when supplications are answered on Friday alternates between times. And Allah knows best.
It is also reported (ref. Hadith No. 1050, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1) that whoever performs Wudu well, then attends Friday prayer, and listens quietly the sermon, then he will be forgiven (the sins that occurred) between the two Fridays. The narrator for this hadith is Abu Hurairah (RA).
2. How are Friday prayers offered?
2.1. No. of raka’at
Two raka’at are offered in compulsory Friday prayers. Apart from this, there are some nawafil prayers also associated with Friday. Refer to following two ahadith for knowing how many raka’at (nawafil) are prayed after completing the compulsory Friday prayer:
It was narrated that Ibn Umar (RA) said: I prayed two raka’at with Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) before Zuhr and two afterwards, two raka’at after Maghrib, two raka’at after Isha’ and two raka’at after Juma’ (Friday prayer). As for Maghrib, Isha’ & Juma’, I prayed with the Prophet (PBUH) in his house.
(Hadith No. 1698 (729), Book of the Traveller’s prayers, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) said: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “When one of you has prayed Juma’a, let him pray four raka’at afterwards.”
(Hadith No. 2036 (881), Book of Juma’a Prayer, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).
Therefore, either two or four raka’at nawafil (i.e. voluntary) may be offered after the compulsory prayers. People have different opinions about the Nawafil prayers associated with Friday prayer, but the Sunnah way is to offer either two or four raka’at nawafil after completing two raka’at Farz prayers, and that’s all; no more, no less.
2.2. Religious sermon (i.e. the Khutba)
An essential part of Friday prayers is the religious sermon (the Khutba) which is delivered by the Imam prior to start of two raka’at of Salat. In normal Zuhr prayers, we offer four raka’at, but in Friday prayers only two raka’at are offered. Scholars are of the view that Khutba compensates for the remaining two raka’at. That is the extent of importance of Khutba.
It is recommended to proceed early for Friday prayers, reach Masjid in time, take a place and listen quietly to the Khutba. It is disliked for a person to engage in any talk while Khutba is in progress. Even if someone tells other person to be quiet, it is considered as a breach. Refer to following hadith:
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “If you say ‘Be Quiet’ while Imam is delivering Khutba, you have committed Al-Laghw.”
(Hadith No. 1112, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).
The significance of Khutba and listening to it quietly is even more highlighted by the fact that it is not allowed to offer any prayer (people might pray any Nawafil or any missed prayer like that of Fajr etc.) while the Khutba is in progress. However, there is an exception to this. Refer to following hadith:
It was narrated that Jabir bin Abdallah (RA) said: Sulaik Al Ghatfani came on a Friday when Prophet (PBUH) was preaching (i.e delivering Khutba) and he sat down. He said to him, “O Sulaik, get up and pray 2 raka’at and make them brief.” Then he said, “If one of you comes on a Friday and the Imam is preaching, let him pray 2 raka’at (Tahayyat-al-Masjid) and make them brief.”
(Hadith No. 2024 (875), Book of Friday Prayer, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).
Therefore, Tahayyat-al-Masjid is the only prayer which allowed to be offered even if Friday Khutba is in progress.
Another important thing to understand is the length of Khutba and the prayer. Most of our Imams tend to deliver a long Khutba, whereas it is recommended not to pro-long the Khutba. When asked about the length of Khutba delivered by Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), we come to following hadith:
It was narrated that Jabir bin Samurah (RA) said: I used to pray with the Prophet (PBUH) and his prayer was of moderate length and his Khutba was of moderate length.
(Hadith No. 2003 (866), Book of Friday Prayer, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).
3. Time of Friday prayers
Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) used to offer Juma’a prayer immediately after mid-day (i.e. just after the sun starts descending after reaching the zenith).
(Hadith No. 904, Book of Al-Juma’a, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).
The hadith mentioned above tells us the ideal time to offer Friday prayer. However, it is not a hard-and-fast rule that in any case Friday prayers should be offered just after mid-day, rather it is the recommended time and should be followed. But in certain circumstances, the prayers may be delayed, as is evident from the following hadith:
Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) used to offer the prayer earlier if it was very cold, and if it was very hot he used to delay the prayer.”
(Hadith No. 906, Book of Al-Juma’a, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).
4. Upon whom is Friday prayer obligatory and how shall one prepare for Friday prayers?
Friday prayer is compulsory for all except a few. A very clear hadith on this matter is given below:
It was reported from Tariq bin Shihab from the Prophet (PBUH), that he said: “The Friday prayer in congregation is an obligation on every single Muslim, except for four: an owned slave, a woman, a child and a sick person.”
(Hadith No. 1067, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).
Now let us see what are the rulings about preparing ourselves for Friday prayers? It is recommended to prepare oneself well before leaving to offer Friday prayers. Take bath, wear best possible clothes, use perfume etc., are some of the recommended acts of preparation of oneself for offering Friday prayers. Refer to the hadith below:
Narrated Abu Sa’id (RA): I testify that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “The taking of bath on Friday is compulsory for every Muslim who has attained the age of puberty; and also cleaning of teeth with Siwak and using perfume, if available.”
(Hadith No. 880, Book of Al-Juma’a, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).
An important thing to understand from above mentioned hadith is that although it is not obligatory for a woman to offer Friday prayer in congregation, yet it is obligatory for her to take a bath on Friday and prepare herself for her prayers which she may offer at her home place. Same applies to children as well.
5. Sin of missing Friday prayers
Following hadith explains the sin associated with neglecting and missing Friday prayers (by those upon whom it is obligatory):
It was narrated from Abdullah bin Umar (RA) and Abu Hurairah (RA) that they heard Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) say, on the planks of his Minbar, “People must cease neglecting Juma’a (prayers), or else Allah will put a seal over their hearts and they will truly be among the negligent.”
(Hadith No. 2002 (865), Book of Friday Prayer, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).
6. Two exceptional cases
There are two exceptions about the obligation of offering Friday prayers; both of these exceptions are very clearly supported by authentic ahadith and there is no element of doubt in these.
6.1. If it is raining
It is permissible for a person not to go to Masjid for congregational Friday prayers if it is raining. Refer to following hadith:
Narrated Muhammad bin Sirin: On a rainy day Ibn Abbas (RA) said to his Muadh-dhin, “After saying ‘Ash-hadu anna Muhammadun Rasool-Allah‘, do not say ‘Haiya alas-Salah (Come for Salat)’, but say: ‘Sallu fi Baytikum (Offer Salat in your houses).” The man did so, but the people disliked it. Ibn Abbas (RA) said, “It was done by one who was much better than I (i.e. Prophet, PBUH). No doubt, the Juma’a prayer is compulsory but I dislike putting you to task by bringing you out walking in mud & slush.”
(Hadith No. 901, Book of Al-Juma’a, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).
Therefore, be assured that in case one does not go out to offer Friday prayer on a rainy day, he has not committed any sin; rather he has acted in a Sunnah manner.
6.2. If Eid falls on Friday
If Eid falls on a Friday, then it is permissible for a person not to offer Friday prayers if he has already offered the Eid prayers in congregation. This is a very noble exception for us. It gives an insight to the beauty of Islam, for the one who wish to understand. Others will keep arguing about authenticity of this exception; however, it is to be understood clearly that there are several authentic ahadith that proves this ruling. I shall quote few of them.
It was reported that Ilyas bin Abi Ramlah Ash-Shami said: I was present when Muawiyah bin Abi Sufiyan asked Zaid bin Arqam: ‘Did you witness two Eid (i.e. the Eid and the Juma’a) being combined on one day during the time of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)? He replied, ‘Yes.’ So he said: ‘He (Prophet, PBUH) prayed the Eid then he was lenient about Friday prayer, for he said: “Whoever wishes to pray can pray.”
(Hadith No. 1070, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).
Are there doubts still about this ruling? OK, let us see one more hadith to clear our doubts.
Al-A’Mash reported from Ata bin Abi Rabah that he said: Ibn Az-Zubair (RA) once led us in the early morning in the Eid prayer, and it happened to be on a Friday. Then we went to attend Friday prayer, but he did not come out (to give Khutba etc.). So we prayed by ourselves (without congregation). And Ibn Abbas (RA) at that time was in Al-Ta’if, so when he came back we informed him this. He said: ‘He has followed Sunnah.’
(Hadith No. 1071, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).
This clears all the doubts. Therefore, we should not be surprised if we see anyone doing so.
6.3. Do the two exceptions mentioned above exempt a person from Zuhr prayer too (on that day)?
There is a difference of opinion among scholars regarding whether not going to Friday prayer (if Eid falls on Friday or if it is raining outside) exempts us from offering Zuhr prayer also or not; some say yes, some say no. However, we do not get any clear evidence in Ahadith about not offering Zuhr prayers at homes in such a case. Therefore, my personal view favours the opinion that one is not exempted from offering Zuhr prayers and he / she should offer them at his / her place (i.e. homes etc.).
It sums up the discussion for the subject. Let us realize the importance of Friday and that it is an obligation of every Muslim to observe the sanctity of Friday & offer the prayers regularly. Moreover, we should try to perfect our Friday prayers according to Sunnah ways.
And Allah knows best.
May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Ameen.
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُون َ ; وَسَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ ; وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.