Friday, May 26, 2006

What's the deal with Muslims and Friday prayers?

The Highlights of the Friday Prayer

  • Its time falls in the same time as that of the noon prayer (Salatu-Thuhr), and it replaces the very same prayer.
  • It must be said in a congregation led by an Imam, no single person can offer it by himself.
  • If any person misses it, he cannot make up for it; Instead, he has to offer the noon prayer, the original prayer which this service normally replaces.
  • All kinds of normal work are allowed on Friday as on any other week day. For Muslims there is no Sabbath. They can carry on with their usual duties and activities provided they come to the congregational service in time. After the service is over, they may resume their mundane activities.
  • This Friday prayer must be performed in a mosque, if there is one available. Otherwise, it may be said at any gathering place e.g. homes, farms, parks. etc.
  • When the time for prayer comes, the Adhan (call to prayer) is said, the Imam stands up, facing the audience and delivers his sermon (khutbah) which is an essential part of the service. Muslims are recommended to offer Sunnah prayers before the sermon. As for those who will arrive at the Mosque during the sermon they should offer the two brief units of the Sunnah prayer “Tahiyatu al Masjid” (Mosque greetings) and then sit down to listen. While the Imam is talking nobody should talk, everyone present should take a sitting position and listen to the sermon quietly to the end.
  • The sermon (khutbah) consists of two parts each beginning with words of praise of God and prayers of blessing for Prophet Muhammad. In the first part some Qur’anic passage must be recited and explained for the purpose of exhortation and admonition. At the end of the first part the Imam takes a short rest in the sitting posture, then stands up to deliver the second part of his sermon. General affairs of the Muslims may be stated in either or both parts of the sermon. In the second part, especially, the Imam prays for the general welfare of all Muslims.
  • After that, the Iqamah is made and the two obligatory units of prayer are offered under the leadership of the Imam who recites the Fatihah and the other Qur’anic passage in an audible voice.
  • When this is done, the prayer is completed. After that, Sunnah prayers may be offered individually in a low voice. The Sunnah prayers may be offered at home. Also they may be replaced with some obligatory prayers that one has missed in the past and for which one has to make up.
  • Any participant in the Friday weekly congregation or ‘Eed Prayers should do his best to be neat and tidy. Though there is no compulsory reason for a complete ablution, a bath is strongly recommended as it makes one fresher and more pleasant.