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Rules of Namaz » Some laws concerning the Friday prayer → ← Rules of Namaz » The time for the midday (ẓuhr) and afternoon (ʿaṣr) prayers

Rules of Namaz » The Friday prayer (ṣalāt al-jumuʿah) and its laws

Ruling 719. The Friday prayer consists of two rakʿahs like the ṣubḥ prayer, with the difference that in the Friday prayer, two sermons must be delivered before it. The Friday prayer is an optional obligation (al-wājib al-takhyīrī), meaning that on Fridays, someone who is legally obliged to fulfil religious duties (mukallaf) has the option to either perform the Friday prayer – if all its conditions are fulfilled – or to perform the ẓuhr prayer; and if he performs the Friday prayer, it will suffice in place of the ẓuhr prayer.

Some conditions must be met in order for the Friday prayer to be obligatory:

the time for the prayer must have set in. This refers to the time of zawāl, or in other words, the time of ẓuhr.(1) Furthermore, the time for the Friday prayer is that which is commonly regarded to be the beginning of zawāl; therefore, if the Friday prayer is delayed beyond this time, its time is deemed to be over and the ẓuhr prayer must be performed instead;
2. the number of people must be at least five, including the imam. If five Muslims do not gather, the Friday prayer does not become obligatory;
3. there must be an imam who meets all the conditions, such as being just (ʿādil) and all the other qualities that are required of an imam, which will be mentioned in the section on congregational (jamāʿah) prayers.(2) In the absence of an imam, the Friday prayer does not become obligatory.

Some conditions must be met for the Friday prayer to be valid:

it must be performed in congregation; therefore, it is not correct (ṣaḥīḥ) to perform it on one’s own (furādā). If the follower (maʾmūm) of an imam in congregational prayers joins the prayer before the rukūʿ of the second rakʿah of the Friday prayer and performs one more rakʿah on his own, his Friday prayer is valid. However, if one joins in the rukūʿ of the second rakʿah, then based on obligatory precaution he cannot suffice with this Friday prayer and he must perform ẓuhr prayers;
2. the imam must deliver two sermons before the prayer. In the first sermon, he must praise Allah, exhort the people to God-wariness (taqwā), and recite a short chapter (surah) from the Qur’an. In the second sermon, again he must praise Allah, and he must pray for blessings to be showered upon the most noble Messenger (Ṣ) and the infallible Imams (ʿA); and the recommended precaution is that he should also seek forgiveness for the believers. Furthermore, it is necessary that the sermons be delivered before the prayer; therefore, if the imam starts the prayer before the two sermons, it is incorrect. Delivering the sermons before ẓuhr time is problematic (maḥall al-ishkāl) [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, it is not correct].(3) In addition, it is necessary that the person delivering the sermons be in a standing position; therefore, if he delivers the sermons in a sitting position, it is incorrect. It is also necessary that he sits down a little between the two sermons and that his sitting be short and light. Furthermore, based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary that the imam of the congregation delivers the sermons himself, and that he praises Allah and prays for blessings to be showered upon the most noble Messenger (Ṣ) and the infallible Imams (ʿA) in the Arabic language; however, saying other things of the sermons in Arabic is not a requirement. Indeed, if most of the congregation do not understand Arabic, then the obligatory precaution is that exhorting the people to God-wariness must be said in the language of the congregation;
3. the distance between two Friday prayers must not be less than one farsakh;(4) therefore, if another Friday prayer takes place at a distance of less than 3.4 miles, then, in the event that both prayers commenced together, both are invalid. And if one of them commences before the other – even to the extent of the takbīrat al-iḥrām(5) – it is valid and the second one is invalid. However, if after a Friday prayer has taken place it becomes known that another Friday prayer took place at the same time or before it at a distance of less than 3.4 miles, it is not obligatory to perform the ẓuhr prayer. Furthermore, a Friday prayer can only have a prohibitive effect on another one taking place within the stipulated distance if it is a valid Friday prayer and fulfils all the conditions; otherwise, it does not have any prohibitive effect.

Ruling 720. Whenever the Friday prayer takes place with all its conditions fulfilled, if the one establishing it is the infallible Imam (ʿA) or his specific representative, it is obligatory to attend it; otherwise, it is not obligatory. In the first situation, however, it is not obligatory on the following groups of people to attend:

2. slaves;
3. travellers, even those travellers whose duty is to perform the complete (tamām) form of the prayer, such as those who have made an intention to stay [at their destination for ten or more days];
4. the sick, blind, and aged;
5. those who are more than two farsakhs [6.8 miles] from a place of Friday prayer;
6. those who find it difficult and hard to attend the Friday prayer on account of rain, severe cold, or suchlike.

Ruling 721. If the Friday prayer is obligatory on someone but he performs the ẓuhr prayer instead, his prayer is valid.

(1) See Ruling 717.
(2) See Rulings 1433–1439.
(3) As mentioned in Ruling 6, the term ‘problematic’ (maḥall al-ishkāl) amounts to saying that the ruling is based on obligatory precaution.
(4) A farsakh is a measure of distance equivalent to approximately 5.5 kilometres, or 3.4 miles.
(5) Saying ‘allāhu akbar’ at the beginning of the prayer.
Rules of Namaz » Some laws concerning the Friday prayer → ← Rules of Namaz » The time for the midday (ẓuhr) and afternoon (ʿaṣr) prayers
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