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Edited from: Heavenly Ornaments, by Imam Ashraf Ali al-Tahanawi
Topic: Friday Prayer
Allah Most High does not like anything more than prayer.
It is for this reason that we do not find such great emphasis for any other form of worship in the pure Shariah. It is for this reason that Allah Most High has specified this worship five times daily as a form of gratitude for His endless bounties. These bounties which commence from birth right until death – in fact they continue after death and commence even before birth.
Since Friday has been accorded the most amount of merits as opposed to other days, so much so that the father of all mankind Hadrat Adam (peace be upon him) was created on this day, a special prayer was therefore ordered for this day. We have already mentioned the benefits and wisdom of congregation.
It has also been made clear that the bigger the congregation the more those benefits will become apparent. This will only be possible if the people of all the different areas and the residents of that place get together and offer their prayer collectively. This would have been extremely difficult if it were to be done five times daily. Because of all this, the Shariah has specified such a day in the week in which the people of all the different residential areas and villages can get together and fulfill this worship.
Since Friday is the most virtuous and noble of days, this worship has been specified for this day. Allah Most High had also specified this day as a day of worship for the previous nations. But because of their bad-luck, they disputed and differed with regards to it. The result of this dispute was that they were deprived of this great bounty and this ummah has been favoured with this bounty. The Jews set aside Saturday on the basis that Allah Most High had completed creating the entire creation on this day. The Christians set aside Sunday thinking that this is the day when Allah Most High commenced with the creation. Because of this, both these groups make numerous arrangements on both these days – leaving all work on these days and spending it in worship. It is because of this that all the offices are closed on Sundays in Christian countries.
The Virtues of Friday
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Friday is the best of days. It was on this day that Hadrat Adam (peace be upon him) was created, it was on this day that he was granted entry into Paradise, it was on this day that he was removed from Paradise (which became the cause for man’s existence in this universe, and which is a great blessing), and the day of resurrection will also take place on this day.” (Sahih Muslim)
It is related from Imam Ahmad (Allah have mercy on him) that he said that in certain aspects the rank of the night of Friday is even higher than Laylatul Qadr. One of the reasons for this is that it was on this night that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) appeared in the womb of his mother. The Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) appearance in this world was a cause of so much good and blessings both in this world and in the hereafter that they cannot be enumerated. (Ash’atul Lama’aat)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There is such an hour on Friday that if any Muslim makes dua in it, his dua will definitely be accepted.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
The ulama have differed in specifying that hour which has been mentioned in the Hadith. Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi (Allah have mercy on him) has mentioned 40 different opinions in his book Sharh Sifrus Sa’adah. However, from among all these opinions he has given preference to two opinions:
That time is from the commencement of the khutbah till the end of the prayer,
That time is towards the end of the day.
A big group of ulama have given preference to this second opinion and there are many Hadiths which support this opinion. Shaykh Dehlawi (Allah have mercy on him) says that this narration is correct that Hadrat Fatimah (Allah be pleased with her) used to order her maid on Fridays to inform her when the day is about to end so that she could occupy herself in making zikr and duas. (Ash’atul Lama’aat)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Of all the days, Friday is the most virtuous. It is on this day that the trumpet will be blown. Send abundant blessings upon me on Fridays because they are presented to me on that day.” The Companions (Allah be pleased with them) asked: “O the Messenger of Allah! How will they be presented to you when even your bones will not be present after your death?” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied: “Allah Most High has made the earth forbidden upon the prophets forever.” (Abu Dawud)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The word witnesses refers to Friday. There is no day more virtuous than Friday. There is such an hour in this day that no Muslim will make dua in it except that his dua will be accepted. And he does not seek protection from anything except that Allah Most High will grant him protection.” (Tirmidhi) The word “shahid” appears in Surah Burooj. Allah Most High has taken an oath of that day. He says in the Quran:
“By the sky in which there are constellations. By the promised day (of judgement). By the day that witnesses [Friday], and the day that is witnessed [day of Arafah].”
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Friday is the best of all days and the most virtuous in the sight of Allah Most High. In the sight of Allah Most High it has more greatness than Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Ad’haa.” (Ibn Majah)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The Muslim who passes away on the night or during the day of Friday, Allah Most High saves him from the punishment of the grave.” (Tirmidhi)
Once Hadrat Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) recited the following verse:”This day, I have completed your Deen for you.” A Jew was sitting near him. On hearing this verse being recited he remarked: “If this verse was revealed to us, we would have celebrated that day as a day of eid.” Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) replied: “This verse was revealed on two eids, i.e. on the day of Friday and the day of arafah.” In other words, what is the need for us to make that day into a day of eid when it was already a day of two eids?
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to say that the night of Friday is a lustrous night, and the day of Friday is a lustrous day. (Mishkaat)
After Resurrection, Allah Most High will send those who deserve paradise into paradise, and those who deserve hell into hell. The days that we have in this world will also be there. Although there will be no day and night, Allah Most High will show us the extent of days and nights and also the number of hours. So when Friday will come and that hour when the people used to go for Friday will approach, a person will call out saying: “O dwellers of Paradise! Go into the jungles of abundance, the length and breadth of which are not known to anyone besides Allah Most High. There will be mounds of musk which will be as high as the skies. The prophets (peace be upon them) will be made to sit on towers of light, and the believers on chairs of sapphires.Once everyone is seated in their respective places, Allah Most High will send a breeze which will carry that musk. That breeze will carry the musk and apply it to their clothing, faces and hair. That breeze will know how to apply that musk even better than that woman who is given all the different perfumes of the world. Allah Most High will then order the carriers of His throne to go and place His throne among all these people. He will then address them saying: “O my servants who have brought faith in the unseen despite not seeing Me, who have attested My Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), and who have obeyed My laws! Ask Me whatever you wish for. This day is the day of giving abundantly.” they will all exclaim in one voice: “O Allah! We are pleased with You, You also be pleased with us.” Allah Most High will reply: “O dwellers of Paradise! If I were not pleased with you all, I would not have kept you in My Paradise. Ask for something because this is the day of giving in abundance.” they will all say in one voice: “O Allah! Show us Your beauty, that we may be able to look at Your noble being with our very eyes.” Allah Most High will lift the veil and will become apparent to these people and His beauty will engulf them from all sides. If this order was not given from before hand that the people of paradise will never get burnt, without doubt they would not have endured the heat of this light and they would all have got burnt.He will then ask them to go back to their respective places. Their beauty and attractiveness will double through the effects of that Real beauty. These people will then go to their wives. They will not be able to see their wives nor will their wives be able to see them. After a little while, the nur which was concealing them will be removed and they will now be able to see each other. Their wives will tell them that how is it that you do not have the same appearance which you had left with? That is, your appearance is a thousand times better now. They will reply that the reason for this is that the noble being of Allah Most High was made apparent to us and we saw His beauty with our very eyes. (Sharh Sifrus – Sa’aadah) See what a great bounty they received on the day of Friday.
Every afternoon, the heat of hell is increased. However, through the blessings of Friday, this will not be done on Fridays. (Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din)
On one Friday, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “O Muslims! Allah Most High has made this day a day of eid. So have a bath on this day, whoever has perfume should apply it, and use the miswaak.” (Ibn Majah)
The Adab of Friday
Every Muslim should make preparations for Friday from Thursday. After the asr prayer of Thursday, he should make a lot of istighfaar. He should clean his clothes and keep them ready. If he does not have any perfume in his house, then if it is possible he should try and obtain some and keep it ready so that he will not get distracted with these things on Friday. The pious people of the past have stated that the person to receive the most benefit on Friday will be that person who waits for it and who makes preparations for it from Thursday. The most unfortunate person will be he who does not even know as to when Friday will fall, so much so that he will ask the people in the morning as to which day this is. Some pious people used to go and stay in the congregational mosque from the night of Friday in order to make full preparations for the following day. (Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, vol. 1, page 161)
On the day of Friday, ghusl should be made and the hair of the head and the rest of the body should be thoroughly washed. It is also very virtuous to use the miswaak on this day.
After making ghusl, a person should wear the best clothing that he possesses, and if possible he should also apply some perfume. He should also clip his nails.
He should try and go very early to the congregational mosque. The earlier a person goes, the more reward he will receive. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “On the day of Friday, the angels stand at the entrance of that mosque in which Friday prayer is to be offered. They write down the name of the person who enters the mosque first, and thereafter the name of the person who follows, and they continue doing this. The person who entered first will receive the reward of sacrificing a camel in the path of Allah, the one who followed him will get the reward of sacrificing a cow, thereafter a chicken, thereafter the reward of giving an egg as charity in the path of Allah. Once the khutbah commences, the angels close the register and begin listening to the khutbah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)In olden times, the roads and alleys used to be extremely busy in the mornings and at fajr time. All the people used to go so early to the congregational mosque and there used to be such a large crowd that it used to look like the days of eid. Later, when this habit was given up, people began saying that this is the first innovation in Islam. After writing this, Imam Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) says: “Aren’t the Muslims ashamed of themselves that the Jews and Christians go so early in the morning to their synagogues and churches on Saturdays and Sundays. Those who are businessmen go so early to the bazaars in order to do their buying and selling. Why don’t the Muslims do the same?” the reality of the situation is that the Muslims have totally reduced the value of this blessed day. They do not even know what day this is, and what a high status it has. How sad it is that the day which was more valuable than eid in the eyes of Muslims of the past, which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was proud of and the day which was not granted to the previous nations has become so dishonoured at the hands of Muslims today and it is such a great ingratitude to the favour of Allah Most High that the consequence of all this can be seen with our very eyes.”
By going walking for the Friday prayer, one gets the reward of fasting for one year for every step that he takes. (Tirmidhi)
On Fridays, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to recite Surah Alif Laam Meem Prostration and Surah Hal Ataa, in the fajr prayer. These Surahs should therefore be occasionally recited in the fajr prayer on Fridays. Occasionally, they should be left out so that people do not regard their recitation as necessary.
For the Friday prayer, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to recite the following Surahs: al-Friday and al-Munaafiqun, or al-A’la and al-Ghaashiyah.
There is a lot of reward in reciting Surah Kahf either before the Friday prayer or after it. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “the person who recites Surah Kahf on Fridays, a nur will appear for him from below the arsh as high as the skies. This light will help him in the darkness of the day of resurrection. And all the sins which he may have committed from the last Friday till this Friday will be forgiven.” (Sharh Sifrus-Sa’aadah) the ulama have written that this Hadith refers to minor sins because major sins are not forgiven without making taubah.
There is more reward in reciting blessings on Fridays than on other days. It has been mentioned in the Hadith that blessings should be recited abundantly on Fridays.
The Virtues and Importance of Friday Prayer
Friday prayer is personally obligatory. It has been established from the Quran, Hadith and the consensus of the ummah. It is one of the most salient features of Islam. The person who rejects Friday prayer is a kaafir. The one who misses it without any valid excuse is a faasiq.
Allah Most High says in the Quran:
“O you who believe! When the call for Friday prayer is made, hasten towards the remembrance of Allah Most High and leave all transactions. This is best for you if only you know.”
In this verse, “remembrance” refers to the Friday prayer and khutbah. “Hasten” means that one should go with great concern and care.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “the person who has a bath on Friday, purifies himself as far as possible, applies oil to his hair, applies perfume, leaves for the mosque, when he arrives at the mosque he does not sit down by removing anyone from his place, offers as many nafl prayers as possible, when the imam delivers the khutbah he remains silent – then his sins from the previous Friday till now will be forgiven.” (Bukhari)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “the person who has a bath on Friday and goes early to the mosque on foot, and not by a vehicle, listens to the khutbah and does not do any foolish act while it is being delivered, will get the reward of one year’s worship, one year’s fasting, and one year’s prayer; for every step that he takes.” (Tirmidhi)
Hadrat Ibn Umar and Abu Hurayrah (Allah be pleased with them) a narrate that they heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying: “People should abstain from leaving out Friday prayer. If not, Allah Most High will put a seal over their hearts whereby they will fall into severe negligence.” (Muslim)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “the person who misses out three Friday’s without any valid reason, Allah Most High puts a seal over his heart.” (Tirmidhi) In another narration it is mentioned that Allah Most High becomes displeased with him.
Taariq bin Shihaab (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “the Friday prayer with congregation is a duty which is necessary for every Muslim with the exception of the following four persons: (i) a slave, that is the one who is owned by someone according to the rules laid down by the Shariah, (ii) a woman, (iii) an immature boy, (iv) a sick person.” (Abu Dawud)
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said the following in regard to those who leave out Friday: “It is my earnest desire that I appoint someone as imam in my place while I go and burn the homes of those who do not attend the Friday prayer.” (Muslim) A similar Hadith has also been related with regard to leaving out congregation. We have mentioned this Hadith previously.
Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “the person who leaves out Friday prayer without a valid reason is written down as a hypocrite in a book that is absolutely protected from any changes and modifications.” (Mishkaat) In other words, he will be labeled as a hypocrite forever. However, if he repents or Allah forgives him solely out of His mercy, then this is another matter.
Hadrat Jaabir (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Friday prayer becomes obligatory on the person who believes in Allah Most High and the last day, except for the sick, musafir, woman, child, and a slave. If a person occupies himself in something unnecessary, or in some transaction, Allah Most High also turns away from him and does not worry about him and Allah is worthy of all praise.” (Mishkaat) In other words, He is not affected by anyone’s worship nor does He benefit in any way. His essence and being will remain the same irrespective of whether anyone praises Him and worships Him or not.
Hadrat Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) says that the person who leaves out several Friday prayers consecutively has in fact turned away from Islam. (Ash’atul Lama’aat)
A person asked Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) regarding a person who passed away and who should not join the Friday and congregation prayers: “What do you have to say regarding such a person?” He replied: “That person is in hell.” This person continued asking him this question for a full month and he gave him the same reply. (Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din)
Even by merely glancing at these Hadiths, one can come to the conclusion that the Shariah has laid great stress on Friday prayer and that severe warnings have been given to the one who leaves out Friday. Can a person who claims to be a Muslim still have the audacity of leaving out this fard duty?