Al-Jum’ah is derived from the verb Ijtama which means the gathering together of people. Friday prayer is Fardh un-Ainun i.e. it is compulsory for every individual who is able to fulfil its conditions. It consists of two units of prayer as important as the Zuhr prayer. Jum’ah is a substitute for Zuhr because if it is missed then four units of Zuhr still have to be performed.
It is narrated from Umar that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “the prayer during a journey is two units, the Eid of sacrifice is two units, the Eid of Fitr is two units, the Friday prayer is two units” (Musnad Ahmed).
Its compulsory nature is established from the Quran, Sunnah and the consensus therefore its denial is kufr. The Quran says:
“O believers! When you are called to the prayer on Friday, then hurry to Allah’s remembrance and leave the trading” (Al-Jumu’ah: 9).
And in the Sunnah:
- Jabir bin Abdullah says the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) gave us a sermon and said “O people! Seek forgiveness from Allah before you die and rush to do good deeds before you become busy and know that Allah has made Friday compulsory in this place of mine, in this month of mine from this year till the day of judgement. Whoever misses it in my life or after me and he has a just or cruel ruler who wants to reduce it or stand up against it, Allah will not gather for him nor bless his work. Listen! There is no prayer for him, no Zakat for him, no hajj for him, no fasting for him and no righteousness until he repents Allah turns to him in kind” (Ibn Majah).
- Jabir narrates the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the day of judgement, Friday is Compulsory except for the sick, the traveller, the child and the slave, whoever neglects it because of business or sport, Allah neglects him and Allah is the independent the praiseworthy” (Dar-ul-Qutni).
Merits of Friday prayer
- Abu Huraira reports that the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “whoever takes a bath on Friday and wears his best clothes and puts on perfume (if he has it) then comes for the prayer and does not trample over people then prayed what Allah has made compulsory for him then remained silent when the Imam appeared until he finished his prayer, it will be an atonement for (his sins) from Friday to Friday” (Abu Dawud).
- Abu Hurairra reports that the blessed prophet (peace be upon him) said: “on Friday the Angels stand at the door of the mosque, they write down the name of the first person who comes and then the second and so on. The reward of the first is like giving a she-Camel in Allah’s way then like giving a cow then like giving a ram then a hen and then an egg. When the Imam comes out they close their books and listen to the sermon” (Bukhari).
- Abu Hurairra reports from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said about Friday. “O Muslims! God has made this day a festival for you so take a bath and do miswack” (Tabrani).
- Abu Lababa said that the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Friday is the best of all days and greatest of them all in the sight of Allah. It is greater than the day of sacrifice and the day of Fitr. In it are five things: Allah created Adam on this day and died on this day, and in it is a moment in which whatever a person beseeches it is granted as long as it is not something forbidden” (Ibn Majah).
- Ibn Anas says the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “the best of your days is Friday, in it Adam was created and on this day the trumpet will be blown and in it is the lightning, therefore send more blessings on me on this day. Your blessings are presented to me. A man asked “O messenger! How are our blessings conveyed to you, you will be in dust.” He replied “Allah has forbidden the earth from eating the bodies of the prophets”” (Ibn Majah).
Warning against missing the Friday prayer
- Abu Hurairra said I heard the messenger (peace be upon him) saying on the steps of the pulpit “people should stop their trading on Fridays or else Allah will seal their hearts and they will become amongst the forgetful” (Muslim).
- Abu ja’d reports from the Prophet (peace be upon him) he said “whoever misses three Fridays consecutively due to laziness Allah seals his heart” (Nisai).
- Abdullah reports that the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) said about people who remain behind (i.e. who miss the Friday prayer) “I thought of telling someone to lead the congregation and then I would go and burn the houses of those who remain behind on Friday” (Muslim).
- Sumara bin Jundab reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “whoever misses Friday without a good excuse, he should give a dinar (in charity) if he doesn’t have that then half a dinar” (Abu Dawud).
For whom is Friday prayer compulsory?
Friday prayer is compulsory on the following people:
- On men not on women
- On freemen not on slaves
- On adults not on children
- On healthy not on sick people
- On settled residents not on travellers
- On sane not on insane
Requirements for holding the Friday prayer
These are six requirements:
1. The mosque must be in a town. According to Imam Abu Hanifa “It is a large town with markets and a governor who is able to do justice to the oppressed people” (Radd ul Muktar). It is permissible to perform Friday prayer in several places in one town and it is permissible in a single place like an open ground.
Those people for whom Friday is not compulsory; people from villages or hamlets they should pray Zuhr with Azan and Iqama, and travellers if they are in a town on Friday they should pray individually and similarly people of the town if they have missed Friday they should pray individually too. Prisoners and sick people do the same. Friday prayer is permissible in Mina but not in Arafat.
Note: All those places about which there is doubt about their township, they should pray Juma and then pray four units of Zuhr as cautionary.
2. The Sultan: Friday prayer should be established only with the permission of the Muslim ruler. This is to ensure there is no civil commotion or breach of law and order. The sermon should only be given with the permission of the Imam. If it is not possible to obtain the Sultan’s decree for the establishment of Friday prayer due to his death or turmoil then the people can choose their own Imam. If the non-muslims rule the country, Muslims should appoint their own Qadi and establish Friday prayer and Eid prayers. But they should work towards having their own Muslim ruler.
3. The time of Zuhr: Friday prayer is not permissible before or after the Zuhr time. Anas bin Malik reports the prophet (peace be upon him) “used to pray the Friday prayer when the sun began declining from its zenith” (Bukhari).
4. Admission open to everyone: There should be no hindrance to anyone to enter the place of prayer.
5. The Congregation: It is a condition that there should be at least three people other than the Imam.
6. The sermon: The conditions for the sermon are:
- The sermon must be before the prayer not after it. It is not permissible to do the sermon afterwards.
- There should be at least one person listening.
- There should be no talking between the sermon and the prayer.
- It should be loud so that the audience can hear. As far as Arabic is concerned it is not a condition for the sermon even if the khateeb is capable of delivering it in Arabic (according to Imam Abu Hanifa) and it is a condition according to Imam Yousaf and Muhammad, if the khateeb is capable. It is undesirable for the khateeb to talk during the sermon except if it is enjoing good. When the Imam appears for the sermon then there should be no talking, no praying, or replying to the sneeze or returning the salam or sending blessings on the Prophet (peace be upon him) aloud. If someone is praying nafl and the khateeb begins he should break his prayer before the prostration. One can sit as one likes for the sermon however the best way to sit is to sit as in tashahud.