What Is Friday Prayer And How Is It Performed?

“O believers, when the proclamation is made for prayer on the Day of Congregation (Friday), hasten to God's remembrance and leave trafficking aside. That is better for you did you but know.” (62:9)  
What do you think as you see a crowd of people gathered in one place, in regular rows? Acting altogether, simultaneously and in a well-organized manner? And they are dressed beautifully and smell good? Especially when they are hundreds and thousands? I see this as a glorious union. You can find this kind of forgathering in a Friday prayer

 


Congregations in Islam


Islam emphasizes three congregations: Haj which is held annually in a large scale, weekly Friday prayers and daily congregational prayers. Hajj is God’s plan to bring huge amounts of people together in Mecca, to show the power of Islam and unite the Muslims; besides its specific spirituality. Imam Baghir (AS), the fifth Imam, mentions Hajj as one of the five bases on which Islam is founded. [1]
Friday prayer is of such high importance and value that when a person said to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that he has got ready several times to go to Hajj but has not managed to, our prophet (PBUH) told him to attend Friday prayer which is Hajj of the poor. [2]

 

These show that Friday prayer has many characteristics of Hajj and can be influential in the same way, on a smaller scale though.

friday prayer

  
Friday

 


In several narrations from the last prophet (PBUH) and his household, Friday is known as the best night and day of the week. It is recommended to perform full ablution (qusl), wear your best clothes, cut nails, brush your hair and beard, trim mustaches and wear perfume on this day. One of the main reasons for these recommendations is getting ready to show up among Muslims in Friday prayer.

 


Friday prayer (Salat al-Jumu’ah)

 


Friday prayer (Salat al-Jumu’ah) is an Islamic ritual. It begins with two khutbahs (orations) by Imam al-Jumu’ah in which he advises people toward observing virtue. In the first one, he elaborates on religious concepts. In the second one, he discusses political and social matters of Muslims’ community. 

 


Then Friday prayer is performed in congregation. It consists of two rak’ahs (parts). Each rak’ah has a qunut (raising hands); in the first rak’ah before ruku’ (bowing), in the second one after ruku’. Friday prayer and the two orations before that are a substitution to the four-rak’ah Salat al-Zuhr. After that, a four-rak’ah Salat al-Asr is performed. Please note that:


- Friday prayer cannot be performed individually.    

                                                                          
- Except for the Imam, there should be at least four people for a Friday prayer to be held. [3]

 


Friday prayer; obligatory or recommended?

 


Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: “Surely God-may be blessed and exalted- made Friday prayer obligatory for you. If someone abandons it in my life or after my death, aiming to belittle or deny it, God will distress them and won’t bless them in their work; and know! their prayer is not accepted, and know! their alms-tax (Zakat) is not accepted; and know! their Haj is not accepted; and know! their good deed is not accepted until they repent.” [4]

 


In an ordinary situation, i.e. the presence of innocent Imam, Friday prayer is a determinate duty. That is the same duty should be done and it cannot be replaced by another one. But now that the twelfth and last Imam, Mahdi (AS) is absent, Friday prayer is a selective duty. Which means you can choose between performing Friday prayer or Salat al-Zuhr. [5]

 


Yet, considering its profits, Muslims should pay special attention to Friday prayer. 

friday prayer


Why Is Friday Prayer Highly Recommended? 

 


Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Imam, states the importance of Friday Prayer and its Khutbahs comprehensively: “Because Friday is a public rendezvous, khutbah on Friday has been arranged to be a means for governor to advise people and to encourage them to obedience and to warn them of disobedience and to inform them of God’s will about their interest of religion and world and let them know of what has happened to them in the world and of events in which they have disadvantage or advantage.”[6]

 


Reason of Repetition

 


- We are forgetful beings. We need to be advised repeatedly so that we may not neglect the afterlife, miss the path, and forget necessities of the society.


- See these daily and weekly prayers as the stages of a ladder. By each prayer, we should take a step upwards. By praying, we are communicating with God and by practicing in a regular program, we can enhance the quality of this communication.

 

References:

[1]. Al-Kafi, v.2, p.18
[2]. Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.300
[3]. Khamenei.ir
[4]. Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.302 
[5]. Khamenei.ir 
[6]. Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.344