The Etiquette of a Muslim on Friday

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Many people are unaware of what the etiquette of a Muslim on Friday should be, and most are unaware of its significance. Many people do not consider the Friday Prayer as obligatory, hence they intentionally miss it. There is a lack of awareness of what is required from a Muslim before or after the Friday Prayer, so we thought we would share some of the correct etiquette from the book by Abu Ibrahim Abdul-Majeed: ‘The Etiquette of a Muslim on Friday‘.

The book is based on the author’s reading of the nine major books of Hadith (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Sunan Al-Tirmithee, Sunan Abu Dawood, Sunan Al-Nisaee, Sunan Ibn Maajah, Musnad Imaam Ahmed, Muwatta Imaam Malik and Sunan Al-Daarimee), and is divided into five parts:

– The merits of Friday and its Prayer

– Punishment for those who intentionally miss the Friday Prayer

– Etiquette of Muslims before the Friday Prayer

– Etiquette of Muslims while attending the Friday Prayer 

– Etiquette of Muslims after the Friday Prayer

Part I: The Merits of Friday and its Prayer

The Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) have both mentioned the merits of Friday and its Prayer:

The purpose behind the Friday Prayer

The purpose behind the Friday Prayer (Salat ul-Jumu’ah) is to provide opportunities to a greater number of Muslims to attend larger congregations in the mosque in an atmosphere of religious piety. Apart from the prayer, the sermon has also been made an integral part of the Friday Prayer. The Imaam delivers the sermon and instructs people in their religion. He explains to them the daily problems in the light of Islam.

Friday is the ‘Day of Eid’

In Islam, there are three Eids:

– Eid ul-Fitr

– Eid ul-Adha

– Friday: ‘The Day of Eid’

Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Verily, this is the Eid day. Allah has prescribed it for the Muslims. So, he who comes to (observe) Jumu’ah Prayer let him take a bath and, if perfume is available, he should apply some of it and (bear in mind that) the tooth-brush (miswak) is essential for you” [Sunan Ibn Maajah].

Thus, Friday is considered one of the three Eids of Islam.

The merits of the Friday Prayer

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The five prayers and from one Friday prayer to (the next) Friday prayer, is an expiation (of the sins committed in between them) if major sins are not committed” [Muslim].

The reward that Allah promised in the above Hadith, is that the person who offers the two Friday Prayers shall have his minor sins that he committed in the days between these two prayers forgiven. However, he must keep away from the major sins.

Supplication is accepted on Friday

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday…and it contains a time at which, no Muslim prays and asks anything from Allah, but He will give it to him.” Ka’b said, ‘That is one day every year.’ So I said, ‘It is on every Friday!’ Ka’b read the Torah and said, ‘The Apostle of Allah (PBUH) has spoken the truth.’ Abu Huraira said, ‘I met Abdullah Ibn Salaam and told him of my meeting with Ka’b. Abdullah Ibn Salaam said, ‘I know what time it is.’ I asked him to tell me about it. Abdullah Ibn Salam said, ‘It is at the very end of Friday!’ I asked, ‘How can it be, when the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) has said, “No Muslim finds it while he is praying…” and this is the moment when no prayer is offered?’ Abdullah Ibn Salaam said, ‘Has the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) not said, “If anyone is seated waiting for the prayer, he is engaged in the prayer until he observes it.” I said, ‘Yes, it is so!'” [Sunan Abu Dawood].

Jaabir Ibn Abdullah narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Friday is divided into twelve hours. Among them there is an hour in which, a Muslim does not ask Allah for anything but He gives it to him. So seek it in the last hour after the afternoon prayer” [Sunan Abu Dawood].

It should be noted that there is a great deal of difference of opinion among the scholars as to exactly when this hour occurs. The strongest opinion is that this hour is at the very end of the day before sunset. The second most acceptable opinion is that this hour should be considered as hidden (like Laylat ul-Qadr), and the whole day should be spent in supplication and glorification of Allah. And the third most acceptable opinion is that this hour is found during the period when the Imaam is seated (for giving the Friday sermon) until the prayer is finished.

Invocation upon the Prophet (PBUH) on Friday

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If any one of you greets me, Allah returns my soul to me and I respond to the greetings” [Sunan Abu Dawood].

The returning of the soul of the Prophet (PBUH) to his grave, for replying to the salutation, has been explained by commentators in many ways. What seems to be sound is that Allah bestows upon him the power of speech to respond to the salutation.

The merit of a Muslim who dies on Friday

Abdullah Ibn Amr reported that Prophet (PBUH) as saying: “Any Muslim who dies on Friday or on Thursday night, will be protected by Allah from the testing in the grave” [Saheeh Sunan Al-Tirmithee].

If a Muslim person dies on Friday or on Thursday night, he will be blessed with glad tiding.

The Day of Resurrection will be on Friday

Abu Lubaaba Ibn Abdul-Munthir reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “On that day will occur the Resurrection. There is neither any angel nearest (to Allah) nor any heaven nor the earth nor the wind, a mountain and a sea but all of them fear the day of Jumu’ah (Friday)!” [Sunan Ibn Maajah].

Part II: The Punishment for Those Who Miss Friday Prayer

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) mentioned severe punishment for those who miss their obligatory prayers intentionally; Friday Prayer is one of the obligatory prayers.

However, there are some people who are exempted from Friday Prayer.

People who are exempt from Friday Prayer

The Friday Prayer is observed only in congregation. If one misses the congregation one should offer the noon prayer (Thuhr Prayer) alone, and not the Friday Prayer. The Friday Prayer is obligatory upon every Muslim except five:

1) A slave

2) A woman (and girls)

3) A boy (under the age of 10 years of age)

4) An ill person

5) A traveler

Taariq Ibn Shihaab narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The Friday Prayer in congregation is a necessary duty for every Muslim, except four people: a slave, a woman, a boy, and a sick person” [Sunan Abu Dawood]. And elsewhere, “or a traveler” [Irwaa ul-Ghaleel].

Thuhr Prayer can be offered at home instead of Friday Prayer due to some reasons

The most common reasons are: traveling, illness, heavy rain, severe cold weather, the call of nature, hunger, sleep and forgetfulness.

On heavy rain, Usamah Ibn Umayr Al-Huzali attended the Prophet (PBUH) on the occasion of the treaty of Al-Hudaybeyah on Friday. The rain fell as little as the soles of the shoes of the people were not set. He, the Prophet (PBUH), commanded them to offer Friday Prayer in their dwellings [Sunan Abu Dawood].

On severe cold, Naafi’ reported that Abdullah Ibn Umar made the call to prayer at Dajnaan (a place between Mecca and Madeenah). Then he announced, “Offer prayer in your dwellings!” After which he narrated a tradition from the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) that he used to command the announcer who made the call to prayer, to say after the Athan, “Pray in your dwellings” on a cold or rainy night during journey [Sunan Abu Dawood].

The Prophet (PBUH) did not want to put the people into hardship; he granted concession to the people of offering the prayer at home when raining or when cold.

On sleep and forgetfulness, Abu Qatadah narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “There is no omission in sleeping. The (cognizable) omission is, that one does not say prayer (intentionally) until the time of the next prayer comes. So he who does thus (omits prayer in sleep or due to other unavoidable circumstances) should say the prayer when he becomes aware of it, and on the next day he should observe it at its prescribed time” [Muslim].

Omission here is not due to intentional negligence, but simply by sleep over which a person has no control.

One who gets one Rak’a of Friday Prayer, must complete the prayer by offering one more Rak’a

It is understood that if one joins the Imaam in the rukoo’ (bowing position) then it is considered as a complete rak’a even though he did not read Surat Al-Fatiha in that particular rak’a.

Abu Hurairah is reported to have said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “He who finds one rak’a of Jumu’ah prayer, should observe the other rak’a to (complete) it” [Sunan Ibn Maajah]

“And if you could not get the rukoo’ of the second rak’a then you must pray four rak’aat of Thuhr prayer” [Irwaa ul-Ghaleel].

Punishment for those who intentionally miss Friday Prayer

Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah heard the Prophet (PBUH) say on the planks of his pulpit, “People must not cease to neglect the Friday Prayer, or Allah will seal their hearts and then they will be among the negligent” [Muslim].

Al-Ja’d Ad-Damree narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “He who leaves the Friday Prayer (consecutively) for three Fridays on account of slackness, Allah will put a seal on his heart” [Sunana Abu Dawood].

Part III: Etiquette of Muslims Before Friday Prayer

A Muslim is required to follow the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) before going to the Friday Prayer. He must close his business as soon as he hears the first call to prayer. He should have complete cleanliness of his body and clothes before the prayer. He should try his best to reach the mosque as early as possible to get the place nearest to the Imaam and to get the complete reward.

Buying and selling before Friday Prayer

The true believer will never delay his prayers and will try his best to go as early as possible to join the congregational (Friday) prayer upon hearing the Athan.

The Quran has praised those who leave and close their businesses after hearing the Athan and go for the Prayer. 

In these verses, Allah has praised those God-fearing men who give priority to ‘remembrance, regular prayer and giving of the regular charity‘ over their trade and sale.

Allah has also mentioned the punishment for those people who intentionally miss their prayers.

In these verses, Allah has mentioned some qualities of those who digress from the straight path, and their punishment.  Those who deviate from the straight path are those who had missed their prayers.

Narrated Samurah Ibn Jundub that the Prophet (PBUH) said in his narration of a dream he saw, “He whose head was being crushed with a stone was one who learnt the Holy Quran but never acted on it, and slept ignoring the compulsory prayers” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari].

Cleansing on Friday

The Muslim is required to make ‘ghusl‘, or ablution, on Friday. It is highly recommended that he should wear his best clothes on Friday. He is required to use hair oil and perfume if he has. He should also use the tooth-brush (‘miswak‘) before going to the mosque.

Jaabir reported: The Prophet (PBUH) forbade eating onions and leek. When we were overpowered by a desire (to eat) we ate them. Upon this, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who eats this offensive plant must not approach out mosque, for the angels are harmed by the same things as men” [Muslim]

Thus, he must remove all offensive smells that might harm others, even the smell of onions or garlic.

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Any person who takes a bath on Friday like the bath of Janaba and then goes for the prayer (in the first hour, i.e., early), it is as if he had sacrificed a camel (in Allah’s cause); and whoever goes in the second hour it is as if he had sacrificed a cow; and whosoever goes in the third hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a horned ram; and if one goes in the fourth hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a hen; and whoever goes in the fifth hour then it is as if he had offered an egg. When the Imaam comes out (i.e.: starts delivering the Khutbah), the angels present themselves to listen to the Khutbah” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari].

The above Hadith explains that if a person wants to make ‘ghusl‘ on Friday, then one should make it as ‘Ghusl ul-Janaba‘. The reference to an hour does not mean a specific span of time, it only implies a span of time, great or small. These five hours do not mean exactly a span of three hundred minutes, rather they are the timings between the passing of the sun over the meridian until the time when the Imaam sits on the pulpit to deliver the sermon.

It is also mentioned that ablution is also sufficient for Friday Prayer if a person has not taken a bath.

Abu Huraira reported the Prophet (PBUH) as saying: “If anyone performs ablution, doing it well, then comes to the Friday Prayer, listens and keeps silent, his (minor) sins between that time and the next Friday will be forgiven him, with three days extra. But he who touches pebbles has caused an interruption (laghaa)” [Muslim].

Laghaa‘ means that ‘he has spoken without purpose’. Here it means that he did not listen attentively to the sermon, but indulged in useless activities, such as playing with pebbles.

Samurah reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If any one of you performs ablution on Friday that it alright, and if any of you takes a bath, that is better” [Sunan Abu Dawood].

Wearing one’s best clothes

The Prophet (PBUH) insisted upon wearing his best clothes on Friday, therefore, a Muslim should do likewise.

Abdullah Ibn Salaamis reported to have said that he heard the Prophet (PBUH) as saying on the pulpit regarding Jumu’ah, “There is no harm for anyone of you if he buys two (new) garments for Friday, besides the garments worn out by use” [Sunan Abu Dawood].

Going out early for the Friday Prayer

There is a great reward for going to the mosque early on Friday.

Aws Ibn Aws reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If anyone washes and bathes on Friday, goes out early walking, not riding, goes near to the Imaam and listens without interrupting, he will have the reward of a year’s fasting and praying for every step he takes” [Sunan Abu Dawood].

The earliest and the last time for going to the mosque for Friday Prayer

The timings for going to the Friday Prayer may be divided into four categories. The first is the preferred time wherein the person has been promised a great deal of reward, like the one who sacrificed a camel for charity.

The second time is when it becomes an obligation upon the person to stop what he is doing and go to the Friday Prayer. this time is when the first call to prayer is made. The third time is when the ‘Khutbah‘ (sermon) is being delivered. The fourth and final time is when a person gets into the bowing position in the second rak’a of the prayer.

Part IV: Etiquette of Muslims Whilst Attending the Friday Prayer

When a Muslim is entering the mosque on Friday, he should not disturb anybody and he should offer as many sunnah rak’aat as he can before sitting in the mosque. If he enters at the time when the Imaam is giving the khutbah, then he must pray two short rak’aat before sitting. He must not jump over the shoulders of others to get the seat in front, closer to the Imaam. He must not make anybody get up from his seat so that he may sit there. He must listen to the khutbah silently and with complete concentration. If he does all this, then he will get the complete reward.

What to say while entering the mosque

While entering the mosque, the Muslim should enter with his right leg saying:

Fatima, the daugter of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “Whenever Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) entered the mosque, he would utter: “Bismillahi was-salaamu alaa rasoolillah. Allahuma ighfirli thunoobi, waftah-lee abwaaba rahmatika”

“In the name of Allah, peace be upon Allah’s Messenger. Oh Allah! Forgive me my sins and open for me the doors of Your mercy.”

And when he came out (of the mosque), he would pray: “Bismillahi was-salaamu alaa rasoolillah. Allahuma ighfirli thunoobi, waftah-lee abwaaba fadlik”

“In the name of Allah, peace be upon Allah’s Messenger. Oh Allah! Forgive me my sins and open for me the doors of Your bounty” [Sunan Ibn Maajah].

When a Muslim enters the mosque on Friday, he must not separate two men sitting together.

Ibn Umar reported the Prophet (PBUH) as saying: “No person should ask another person to stand from his place and then sit there himself, but he should simply say, ‘Make room and accommodate'” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari].

It is also not permitted to make another get up and then sit in his place.

Therefore, a Muslim must sit wherever he finds room in the mosque. It is not permitted to walk over the shoulders of others to get a seat in the front row.

Prayers before the Friday Prayer

There is no fixed number of prayers before the Friday Prayer. There is no limit for how many prayers can be offered before the Friday Prayer, but the minimum is two rak’aat, i.e.: a Muslim must not sit before offering two rak’aat. If he has enough time before the khutbah then he can pray as many rak’aat as he wishes.

If the person comes at the time when the Imaam is giving the khutbah, then he must not sit before offering two rak’aat. The Prophet (PBUH) asked Sulayk to offer two rak’aat before sitting in the mosque.

Jaabir Ibn Abdullah reported: Sulayk Ghatfaanee came on Friday when the Prophet (PBUH) was delivering the sermon. He sat down. He (the Prophet) said to him: “Oh Sulayk! Stand and observe two rak’aat and make them short,” And then said, “When any one of you comes on Friday while the Imaam delivers the sermon, he should observe two rak’aat and should make them short” [Muslim].

Manners of sitting in the mosque while the sermon is delivered

One should try his best to come as early as possible to the mosque and should try to get a place closest to the Imaam. This means that one should sit in the first row near the Imaam so that he may hear the khutbah easily and attentively.

Samurah Ibn Jundub reported the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as saying, “Be present at the mention of Allah and go near the Imaam. For, if anyone always keeps far away the result will be that he will put in a black place in Paradise, assuming he enters it!” [Sunan Abu Dawood].

Thus, one may be deprived of higher degrees in Paradise if he enters and sits at the back.

Manners of sitting during the khutbah

If a person feels drowsy while the sermon is being delivered, then he should change his place.

Ibn Umar reported the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “When any of you dozes on Friday he should change his place” [Saheeh Abu Dawood]. 

Reward for praying along with the Imaam

The Muslim is promised a great reward if he attends the khutbah, listens to it silently, does not jump over people’s shoulders and does not hurt or disturb others. The reward is atonement for his sins until the next Friday and three days more.

Abdullah Ibn Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “There are three who attend Friday Prayer: one is present in a frivolous way and that is all he gets from it; another comes with a supplication, he being a man who makes supplication to Allah Who may grant or refuse his request as He wishes; another is present silently and quietly without stepping over a Muslim or annoying anyone, and that is atonement for his sins until the next Friday and three days more, the reason being that Allah says,

He who does a good deed will have ten times as much!” [Sunan Abu Dawood].

Manners while praying with the Imam

Prayer is the most important act of religious devotion; therefore, it should be observed with dignity and tranquility of mind. Prayer is prayed for the purification and elevation of one’s own soul. This is possible if the mind is set on Allah, the eyes fixed on the place of prostration and one is aware of the significance of ones standing, where he is standing and before whom he is standing.

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Establish rows in prayer, for the making of a row (straight) is one of the merits of the complete prayer” [Muslim].

Anas Ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Straighten your rows, for the straightening of a row is a part of the perfection of prayer” [Muslim].

Irregular rows in prayer give a clear indication that the Muslims are lacking in self-discipline. Disciplined behaviour is a blessing and the Prophet (PBUH) not only stressed its importance in words, but also saw it observed in religious acts. The arranging of the people (in rows) implies that it is not the worldly status of a man that is given importance in Islam but his religious piety, his integrity and wisdom. The social position of a man is not determined by his material possession but by his God consciousness (taqwa).

Recitation of Al-Fatiha behind the Imam

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If anyone observes prayer in which he does not recite Umm Al-Quran, it is deficient (he said this three times) and incomplete.” It was said to Abu Huraira, “At times we are behind the Imaam!” He said, “Recite it inwardly” [Muslim].

The reciting of ‘Ameen’ at the end of Surat Al-Fatiha is known as ‘Ta’meen‘: it means ‘Oh Allah, grant our prayer’. This is a kind of very humble appeal before the Lord to grant the prayer. The concluding sentences of Surat Al-Fatiha (Guide us to the straight path, the path of those to whom You are generous, not of those with whom You are angry, nor of those who go astray) is a fervent supplication before the Lord to lead us to the path of righteousness. At the end of the supplication we have been commanded to make a humble appeal to our Master to grant it out of His grace and Mercy.

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Do not try to go ahead of the Imaam, recite takbeer when he recites it, and when he says: ‘Nor of those who err,’ you should say ‘Ameen’, bow down when he bows down, and when he says: ‘Allah listens to him who praises Him,’ say: ‘Oh Allah, our Lord, to Thee be the praise.'” [Muslim].

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Say ‘Ameen’ when the Imaam says ‘Ameen’, for if anyone’s utterance of ‘Ameen’ synchronizes with that of the angels, he will be forgiven his past sins” [Muslim].

It is not permitted to lift the eyes towards the sky in prayer, and the Imaam should be strictly followed.

Anas Ibn Malik reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The Imaam is appointed only to be followed. So, when he recites Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) you should also recite that. When he prostrates you should also prostrate; when he rises up you should also rise up, and when he says ‘Allah listens to him who praises Him,’ you should say, ‘Our Lord, to you be the praise'” [Muslim].

Part V: Etiquette of Muslims After the Friday Prayer

Sunnah prayer after the Friday Prayer should be offered in a different place (from the immediate area of the Friday Prayer) or one should have a short conversation if it is to be offered at the same place. It is essential to talk or move from the place where the Fard prayer is observed before observing sunnah prayer so that a clear line of distinction is drawn between the two prayers.

It should be noted that there is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars on the exact number of Sunnah rak’aat after the Jumu’ah Prayer – some say four, some say two raka.

Abdullah Ibn Umar said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) did not pray after the Friday Prayer until he had departed. He (PBUH) would then pray two rak’as in his house” [Muslim].

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If any of you prays after the Friday Prayer, he should pray four rak’aat” [Muslim].

Recommended acts after the Friday Prayer

Abu Sa’eed reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If anyone recites Surat Al-Kahf on Friday, light will shine brightly for him until the next Friday” [Saheeh Ul-Jaami’ As-Sagheer wa Ziyaadatih].

Increased prayers and invocation upon the Prophet (PBUH) and supplication after the Friday Prayer. 

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