In the Friday Prayer, it is important to listen attentively to the sermon of the Imam. After the sermon, straighten up the rows of the Jama’at and stand close to one another.
The Friday Prayer (Jum’a) is an important weekly event in the Islamic calendar, containing an important socio-religious aspect of the Muslim community. Ideally, it is a means of communication and interaction between the Islamic government and the Ummah. As such, the Imam of Jum’a plays a very important role in the community and thus, in an ideal situation, is to be appointed by the legitimate religious authority. The “call” should be sounded by the true representative of God, i.e., a Prophet, an infallible Imam, or someone who is appointed by the Imam.
The obligation of attending the Friday Prayer depends on the Imam of the Jum’a. If an evil person like Ziyad bin Abih (who was appointed as the governor of Kufa by Mu’awiyah) leads the Friday Prayer and openly abuses Imam Ali (peace be upon him) during his sermon, surely attendance cannot be obligatory!
Is It Wajib Ayni or Wajib Takhiyri?
Therefore, according to Shia laws of Islam, if the Friday Prayer is led by the infallible Shia Imam or someone appointed by him – as would be the case after the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) – attending Salatul Jum’a would be Wajib Ayni (absolutely obligatory on all). However, during the occultation of our Living Imam, the Friday Prayer is Wajib Takhiyri, which essentially means there is a choice between two obligatory deeds – you must do one of them; you cannot miss both. In the present situation, it means we have the duty of doing either the Noon (Dhuhr) prayer or the Friday (Jum’a) prayer.
Nonetheless, it is preferable to do the Friday Prayer even during the occultation of our Imam. This should be done with the Niyyat (intention) of Wajib, and thereafter it is not necessary to offer the Zuhr prayer.
On Whom Is Salatul Jum’a Wajib?
The Friday Prayer, whether in the form of Ayni or Takhiyri, is Wajib upon all men who are residents of the city, in good health and not elderly. Thus, it is not Wajib upon women, the traveler, the sick and the elderly. However, this does not mean that such individuals are not permitted to participate in the Friday Prayer; it only means they are exempt from the obligation.
Considering the Friday Prayer as the most important weekly religious event in a non-Muslim country, it is preferable for women, the traveler and the elderly to participate, provided it does not cause any inconvenience to them. In the words of Ayatullah Sistani, “For women, it is better to pray at such places where they are best concealed from non-Mahram, regardless of whether that place is her home, a mosque or anywhere else.” (Islamic Laws, #903)
The Niyyat for these exempt people will also be that of Wajib, and they too are not required to offer the Dhuhr prayer after it.
Question: “I am not able to come every week for the Friday Prayer; I come only occasionally. Do I still have to do the Niyyat of Wajib whenever I come for Friday Prayer?”
Answer: Yes, you have to do the Niyyat of Wajib whenever you come for Friday Prayer.
Friday Prayer Led by a Sunni Imam
If there is no Shia center or mosque near your home or work place, you may participate in the Friday Prayer led by a Sunni Imam. However, in this case you must recite the Dhuhr prayer after it, as one of the conditions for the Imam of jama’at in Shia jurisprudence is that he must be Shia Ithna Ashari.
(Editor’s Note: This is according to the ruling of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani and most other current Maraja. However, according to Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, it is permitted to pray congregationally behind a Sunni Imam.)
What If I Missed the Khutbas before Jum’a Prayer?
The two Khutbas (sermons) delivered by the Imam are essential parts of the Friday Prayer. The audience is required to listen to the Khutba and not to engage in any other activity, not even offering the Nafila prayers. However, if a person missed the Khutbas, he or she can still join the Friday Prayer, and it will be considered sufficient.
Discipline and Orderliness in Jum’a
In the Friday Prayer, it is important to listen attentively to the sermon of the Imam. After the sermon, straighten up the rows of the jama’at and stand close to one another. Hasten in filling the gaps when the Iqamah is being recited. Remain silent when the Imam is reciting the Surahs, and in stages of Dhikr, those who are in the first rows should not recite the Dhikr so loud that the Imam hears them. Do not go into Ruku or Sujud before the Imam.
Imam as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said, “The best moment when du’a is accepted (by God) on Friday is the time when the Imam ends his sermon and before he asks the people to straighten their rows…”
Recommendations for Thursday Night and Friday
In Islam, the day begins with sunset and ends with sunset, thus the recommendations of Friday start from the sunset of Thursday to the sunset of Friday, some of which are mentioned below:
- Reciting certain Surahs of the Qur’an – Surah Yasin (#36), Surah Waqi’a (#56), Surah Jum’a (#62), Surah Shu’ara (#26), Surah Qisas (#28), Surah Ahqaf (#46) and Surah Dukhan (#44).
- Reciting Salawat as much as possible.
- Praying for the forgiveness of the departed souls of the believers, and for the fulfillment of the wishes of the believers who are alive.
- Reciting the distinguished Du’a Kumayl. I strongly recommend that you read its translation in your own language once a month or at least once every three months, until you become familiar with its various themes. After that, even when you recite it Arabic – while not knowing the Arabic language – you will still be able to grasp the spirit of that du’a.
- Reciting other recommended du’as as mentioned in Mafatih al-Jinan.
Remember, if you cannot do all these, make sure to complete at least some. Thursday nights come with their special blessings; seize the moment as much as you can. When the sons of Prophet Ya’qub (peace be upon him) requested their father to pray for them, he said, “I shall soon ask for forgiveness for you from my Lord”. He delayed that until Thursday night and then prayed for them.
- Doing Ghusl of Friday before the Friday Prayer.
- Clipping nails.
- Shortening the mustache.
- Putting on perfume.
- Wearing your best clothes.
- Combing the hair and the beard.
- Giving charity.
- Reciting Salawat 1000 times.
- Doing the Ziyarat of Imam al-Mahdi
- Reciting Du’a Nudba, in which one longs for the reappearance of the Present Imam