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·To understand how the Friday prayer isconducted and who is required to pray.

·To appreciate the wisdom behind the Friday prayer.

·To learn the virtues of the Friday prayer.

Arabic Terms:

· Salat ul-Jumuah - Friday prayer.

· Dhuhr - the afternoon prayer.

· Khutbah - sermon.

· Khatib - person delivering the sermon.

· Rakah - a unit of prayer.

· Imam - someone who leads the prayer.

· Adhan - an Islamic way of calling Muslimsto the five obligatory prayers.

FridayPrayer1.jpgOn Fridays, the Dhuhr (afternoonprayer) is replaced with a what is known as Salat ul-Jumuah. Salatul-Jumuah consists of a short sermon and a congregational prayer. The Fridayprayer cannot be done at home or prayed individually. That is whyMuslims gather in a central mosque to pray and listen to a sermon, known as khutbahin Arabic. It is common for a designated Imam (prayer leader) to givethe khutbah, but sometimes this is done by invited guests or general membersof a community.

In the West, sermons are mostly deliveredin English, however sometimes they are only in Arabic. In any case, at leastpart of the sermon is always in Arabic. The sermon is made of two parts. Afterthe first part is over, the khatib (person delivering the khutbah)takes a short break and sits, and then resumes it. The quality of a sermongreatly differs depending on the speaker who might be a knowledgeable scholarof Islam or a lay person. The speaker will praise Allah and then discuss issuesrelevant to the Muslim community. Afterwards, the Imam will lead thecongregation in a short prayer of two rakahs. Salat ul-Jumuah (thesermon and the prayer), usually lasts for an hour or less.

Men Must Pray Salat ul-Jumuah

The Friday prayer is compulsory andrequired from all Muslim men. This is based on the Quran in which

Allah says

O you who believe, when the call to prayer (Adhan) is proclaimed for the prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade aside. That is better for you, if you did but know.

Quran 62:9

Prophet Muhammad has stated veryclearly who is required to pray Salat ul-Jumuah and who is exempt:

The Friday prayer in congregation is an obligatory duty on every Muslim except four: a slave, a woman, a child, and a sick person

Abu Dawood

To be precise, Friday prayer isrequired from every Muslim male who has reached puberty. Others can attend it,but are not sinful if they don’t.

Additionally, Prophet Muhammad hasgiven a stern warning against missing the Friday prayers.

He said

People should stop missing Friday prayers otherwise Allah will put a seal on their hearts and thus they will be among the heedless.

Saheeh Muslim

A Muslim man who is sick or travellingmay miss the Friday prayer. A Muslim woman is not required to pray the Fridayprayer, but she is allowed to attend the prayers if she wants to. Most mosques haveseparate seating arrangements for women, but some may lack women’s area forpraying the Friday prayer. Also, the women who decide not to attend the Salatul-Jumuah should offer the regular Dhuhr prayer at home.

Wisdom Behind Friday Prayer

1.    The Friday prayer bringslocal Muslims together in one place on a fixed day, thereby increasing thebonds of brotherhood between Muslims.

2.    The purpose of the khutbah(sermon) is to educate the Muslims and serves as a weekly reminder about their dutiesto Allah and fellow human beings. It warns against sin and disobeying Allah,and encourages to be good and to obey Allah.

3.    The topics are varied andoften update the Muslims on current affairs and as Muslim what should be theirrole.

Virtues of Friday

Friday is a virtuous day with manyspecial qualities.

Prophet Muhammad said

When it is a Friday, the angels stand at the gate of the mosque and keep on writing the names of the persons coming to the mosque in succession according to their arrivals. The example of the one who enters the mosque in the earliest hour is that of one offering a camel (in sacrifice). The one coming next is like one offering a cow and then a ram and then a chicken and then an egg respectively. When the Imam comes out (for the Friday prayer) they (i.e. angels) fold their papers and listen to the Khutbah.

Saheeh Al-Bukhari

This narration shows the reward ofcoming early to the Friday prayer. The earlier a person arrives, the greaterhis reward. The first arrival attains the reward of sacrificing a camel forAllah, but those who arrive later receive lesser rewards.

He also said

The best day on which the sun has ever risen is Friday. On it Adam was created, on it he was admitted into Paradise, and on it he was expelled from it, and the Hour will not be established except on Friday.

Saheeh Muslim

The purpose of this narration is to tellus of the magnificent events that took place on Friday or will take place.