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All about Jummu’ah (Friday Prayer)


The Essentials!


Salat al-Jumu’ah is a congregational prayer performed on Friday and which replaces the Dhuhr prayer. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘Friday prayer’. It consists of a sermon (khutba) given by the imam after which he will lead the people in 2 rakahs.


Upon whom salatul Jumu’ah is obligatory


Salatul Jumu’ah is an obligation upon every free, adult, sane, resident Muslim man who has the ability to attend the salah and does not have a valid excuse to miss it.


Allah says in the interpretation of the meaning: “O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if they but knew!” (Surah Al-Juma, 62:9)


It can be found from the sunnah, that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) explained that it is not fard for the women to go jummuah and are therefore excluded from the ayat above.


Salatul Jumu’ah, is not obligatory on the following:


Women and children

The person who is ill and faces hardship if he goes to the mosque, or who fears that his illness will be increased by going to the mosque

For the traveller, even if he is staying at a certain place during the time of the beginning of salatul Jumu’ah, it is not obligatory

One who is in debt and cannot repay his debt and therefore fears that he will be imprisoned, and one who fears that he will be harmed by an oppressive ruler

Environmental restraints like rain, mud, extreme cold, and so on.


All of these people are not obliged to pray the Friday salah although they are obliged to pray the Dhuhr. Should one of them pray salatul Jumu’ah, it will still be valid for them and will no longer be obliged to pray the Dhuhr.


I thought women are not allowed to attend the Masjid?


Even though women are not obliged to perform Jumu’ah, however it is important to note that the women during the time of the Prophet (sa) attended the mosque and used to pray al-Jumu’ah with him!


There is not a single verse in the Qur’an, which prohibits ladies from entering mosques. There is not a single authentic Hadith which I am aware of which states that the Prophet (pbuh) prevented or forbade women from going to mosques; rather the opposite:

The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from going to the mosque of Allah.’ [Sahih Muslim]


“If the wife of any one of you asks permission (to go to the mosque) do not forbid her.” (Sahih Bukhari)


There is only one Hadith, which perhaps could have been misunderstood to mean that women should not go to the mosque. That Hadith is as follows:


Abdullah Bin Mas’ud reported the Prophet (pbuh) as saying: It is more excellent for a woman to pray in her house than in her courtyard, and more excellent for her to pray in her private chamber than in her house. [Sunan Abu Dawood]


The Prophet (pbuh) said that if a person prays in the mosque he gets 27 times more blessings (Sawab). Some women argued that they had infants at home and other household work and therefore could not go to the mosque. Thus, the men would have a greater advantage than women for receiving such blessings. It is then that the Prophet (pbuh) said the above Hadith.  So although it is better for women to pray at home - they still can however attend the masjid if they wish to after taking the following factors into consideration:


Not apply perfume


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who has put on bukhoor (incense, fragrance) should not attend this ‘Isha’ prayer with us.” (Reported by Muslim, 675).


To be dressed appropriately


Sahih Bukhari Book 8 #347. Narrated Umm Atiyya: We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and screened women to the religious gatherings and invocation of the Muslims on the two Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from the musalla. A woman asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What about one who does not have a Jilbab*?”. He said, “Let her borrow the Jilbab of her companion”.


Allah says (in the interpretation of the meaning): “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms.” [24:31]


*Jilbab is a loose outer garment / clothing which covers the woman from head to toe only showing the face and hands (nb.some scholars are of the opinion that even the face should be covered), the Hijab should drape down over the bosoms. The Jilbab should not show the shape of the woman’s body and nor be see through, etc.

Merits of Friday


Aus ibn Aus reports that the Prophet said: “The most virtuous of your days is Jumu’ah. On that day, Adam was created and on that day he died, (on that day) the horn will be blown and the people will be dumbfounded! Increase your prayers upon me as your prayers upon me will be presented to me.” The people said: “O Messenger of Allah, how will our prayers be presented to you when you have passed away?” He said: “Allah has prohibited the earth from eating the bodies of the Prophets.” [This is related by the five, except for at-Tirmizhi.]


The Messenger of Allah said while talking about the merits of Friday, “There is a time on Friday at which a Muslim, while he or she is performing prayer and is supplicating,


will be granted whatever he or she is supplicating for.” And the Prophet indicated with his hand that this period of time is very short. [Bukhari & Muslim]


Allah said: “O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the prayer on the day of Friday,  come to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business (and every other thing), that is better for you if you but knew! Then when the prayer is finished, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah, and remember Allah much, thatyou may be successful.” [62:9-10]


The Prophet said, “The five daily prayers and Friday  prayer to the next Friday prayer, and the fasting of Ramadan to the next Ramadan, is expiation of the sins committed in between them, so long as major sins are avoided.” [Muslim]


Reward for Performing prayers in congregation

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said, “Prayer in congregation is superior to praying individually twenty-seven times.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


The Messenger of Allah (sa) said, “Whoever leaves his home in a state of purity to perform obligatory prayer, his reward is like that of a pilgrim (while) in the state of ihram [i.e. he receives reward similar to that of spending time in ihram during Hajj].” [Abu Dawud, classed as Saheeh by Al-Albani]


Sunnah prayers before the Jummuah?




Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sa) said, “When anyone of you enters the mosque, he should perform two Rak`ah (of voluntary prayer) before sitting.” [Bukhari and Muslim].


Even if you come to Jumu’ah late, and the imam is giving the khutbah still pray those 2 rakaats for the mosque (make them quick). The only time you do not read them is if you come really late and the imam has started to read the Jumu’ah - as the fard (obligatory) takes precedence over the sunnah (voluntary).


Jabir reports that a man came to the mosque on Jumu’ah while the Prophet was delivering the khutbah. The Prophet inquired of him: “Did you offer the salah?” The man replied: “No!” He told him: “Pray two rak’at.” [This is related by the group.]


In another narration it states, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “If one of you comes to the mosque on the day of Jumu’ah and the imam is delivering the khutbah, he should pray two rak’at and make them quick.” This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.




Concerning any other sunnah prayer before the Friday salah, Ibn Taimiyyah writes: The Prophet (sa) never offered any salah after the athan and before the Friday salah, and no one has ever related such an act from him. Also we have no evidence to show that the Prophet (sa) prayed any sunnahs in his house before going out to the mosque on Friday. He did not specify any time for any salah before the Friday salah. What he did do is encourage those going early to the mosque on Friday to engage themselves in prayer:


Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Whoever makes ghusl on the day of Jumu’ah and then goes to the mosque and prays what has been prescribed for him, and remains quiet while the imam delivers the khutbah, and then prays with the imam, he will have forgiven for him what is between that Jumu’ah and the next and an additional three days.” [Muslim].


When the Prophet’s companions would reach the mosque on Friday, they would pray whatever amount was easy for them. Some of them prayed ten rak’at and some prayed twelve and some only eight and others less than that. For this reason most of the scholars are of the opinion that there is no sunnah prayer with a specified number of rak’ah or time, before Jumu’ah, for there is nothing either in the actions or statements of the Prophet to support or confirm it.


It is forbidden to speak during the khutbah


The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that it is obligatory to be silent during the khutbah, and one is not to indulge in conversation during the khutbah, not even if it is to order one to do some good or to stop some evil, even to return a salaam.


Ibn ‘Abbas reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Whoever speaks in Jumu’ah while the imam is delivering the khutbah is like a donkey who is carrying books, and for those who tell him to be quiet, there is no [reward] for the Jumu’ah.” [This is related by Ahmad, ibn abi-Shaibah, al-Bazzar, and at-Tabarani. Ibn Hajar said in Bulugh alMaram: "There is no fault in its chain."]


Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet (sa) said: “If, during the Jumu’ah while the imam is delivering khutbah, you tell your companion to be quiet, then you have spoken needlessly.” [Related by the group, save Ibn Majah.]


Abu ad-Darda’ says: “The Prophet was upon the pulpit and was addressing the people and he recited a verse, and next to me was Ubayy ibn-Ka’b and I asked him: When was that verse revealed?’ He refused to talk to me until the Messenger of Allah came down from the pulpit and then he said to me: ‘You have nothing from your Jumu’ah, except your useless talk.’ When the Prophet had finished, I went to him and informed him of what had happened, and he said: ‘Ubayy has told the truth. If you hear your imam speaking, be quiet until he is finished.”’ [Ahmad and at-Tabarani.]


Indulging in conversation when the khutbah is not being delivered, is permissible i.e. before or after the khutbah.


Straightening the Rows!


Abu Mas`ud reported: The Messenger of Allah (sa) used to gently pat our shoulders when we were standing in rows at the time of Salat and say, “Keep (the rows) straight; do not differ from each other lest your hearts should suffer from discord. Let those of you who are mature and prudent be nearer to me, and then those who are next to them.” [Muslim]


Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet (sa) said, “Straighten your rows for I see you from behind my back.” Anas added, “Everyone of us used to put his shoulder with the shoulder of his companion and his foot with the foot of his companion.” [Bukhari]


Anas b. Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: Straighten your rows for the straightening of a row is a part of the perfection of prayer. [Muslim]


Narrated By Abdullah ibn Umar : The Prophet (sa) said: “Arrange the rows in order, stand shoulder to shoulder, close the gaps, be accommodating to your brothers, and do not leave gaps for Satan. Whoever joins up a row, he will be joined to Allah (i.e., to the Mercy of Allah); and whoever cuts off a row, he will be cut off from Allah (i.e., from His Mercy).” [Abu Dawud]


When it is time for prayer in congregation, it is from the sunnah for the people to stand together in straight lines and keep close i.e. shoulder to shoulder, foot to foot; not keeping big gaps between one another. Praying in congregation is all about unity and we are all part of one ummah regardless to race, nationality, rich or poor, powerful or weak - all standing next to each other in obedience to Allah.


NB: If when praying, you try to lesson the gap between you and your companion and they edge away, understand there is nothing you can do, don’t go crazy trying to get close to them - just do what is in your ability.


It is obligatory to follow the imam and forbidden to precede him

When praying in congregation, the people following the imam must do exactly that ‘follow’ the imam, do not do your actions before him, do them slightly after him.


Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “The imam is selected to be followed; therefore, do not differ with him. When he makes the takbir, make the takbir, when he goes into ruku’, make ruku’. When he says ‘Allah hears him who praises Him (Sami’A-l-lahu Liman hamida),’ say ‘O Allah, our Lord, to You belongs the Praise (Rabbana wa-laka-l hamd).’ When he goes into sajdah, make sajdah. If he prays sitting, then all should be sitting.” [This is related by the group.]


In the version by Ahmad and Abu Dawud, the wording is “the imam is to be followed. If he makes the takbir, make the takbir, and do not make the takbir until he does so. When he goes into ruku’, make ruku’, and do not perform ruku’ until he does so. When he goes into sajdah, make sajdah, and do not make sajdah until he does so.”


Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Do you not fear that if you raise your head before the imam Allah may change your head into that of a donkey!” [This is related by the group.] So this is serious, so do not rush before the imam.


Sunnah prayers after the Jummuah


`Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I performed along with the Prophet (sa) two Rak`ah (Sunnah prayer) after the Jumu’ah prayer. [Bukhari and Muslim].


Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him)reported: The Messenger of Allah (sa) said, “If anyone of you performs the Friday prayer, he should perform four Rak`ah (Sunnah) after it.” [Muslim].


Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sa) would not perform any Salat (in the mosque) after the Friday prayer till he had returned to his house. He would then perform two Rak`ah there. [Muslim].


Imam An-Nawawi Commentary: In one Hadith, there is mention of four Rak`ah, while in the other it is mentioned as two Rak`ah. It can be deduced that both of these are acceptable. `Ulama’ are of the opinion that one who performs them in the mosque, should perform four Rak`ah; whereas the one performing them at home, should perform two Rak`ah.


It is better to perform the four Rak’ah in sets of twos as the Prophet (sa) is reported to have said, “Perform the Nawafil of the day and night in twos.” [Bukhari]



The reward for performing voluntary prayers at home

The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Superiority of a man’s prayer in his home over his prayer when people see him is like the superiority of an obligatory prayer over a voluntary one.” [al-Bayhaqi, classed as Saheeh by al-Albani]


Negligence in regards to the Friday Prayer (for men)


Abu al-Ja’d ad-Damari reports that the Prophet said: “Whoever misses three Friday prayers in a row out of negligence will have a seal put over his heart by Allah.” [Muwatta]





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