The Best of days

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    Abu Huraira reported the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as saying: ‘The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday; on it Adam was created, on it he was made to enter Paradise, on it he was expelled from it. And the Last Hour will take place on no day other than Friday.’ The Holy Prophet also said on the occasion of Friday: ‘We who are the last shall be the first on the Day of resurrection, except that every Ummah (nation) was given the Book before us and we were given it after them. It was this day (Friday) which Allah prescribed for us and guided us to it and the people came after us with regard to it, the Jews observing the next day and the Christians the day following that.’ With regard to Friday, the Holy Prophet was also reported as saying: ‘There is no time on Friday at which no Muslim would stand, pray and beg Allah for what is good but He would give it to him’ and he pointed with his hand that (this time) is short and narrow. There is a good deal of difference of opinion among the scholars as to what exactly is that fortunate hour on Friday when the supplication would be granted. The best course is that this hour should be treated as hidden, and the whole day should be spent in supplication and glorification of Allah. It was the Holy Prophet’s practice to attach special significance and honour to Friday. Examples of this behaviour are numerous, however, the following could be cited: On that day, he recommenced reciting Soorah as-Sajdah (in fajr) [and al-Insaan] because it is inclusive of all affairs relevant to Friday; taking a bath, using perfume and miswak, going to Friday’s congregational prayer early, listening to the sermon, wearing one’s best clothes and remembering Allah all the time. When the Holy Prophet stood on the pulpit delivering Friday speech (sermon), his eyes would redden and his voice rise sharply with extreme anger. He, however, used to shorten the speech but prolong the prayer following it.

    What to do on Friday Prayers

    “O believers, when the call is proclaimed for the prayer on Friday, come to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business, that is better for you if you but did know.” [Al-Jumuah, 62:9]

    Purifying and cleaning oneself

    The person intending to perform Salat al-Jumuah is highly encouraged to have full bath or shower. The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that the full bath for Salat a-Jumuah is recommended (sunnah) but not obligatory. The full bath is performed starting from the time of Fajr Prayer. Also, if a person performs full bath and then later invalidates his ablution, he need not repeat the bath. Making ablution (wudhu) suffices. Furthermore, one bath may be used for removing sexual defilement (janabah) and for Salat al-Jumuah.

    Going early to the masjid

    There is a great reward in going early to Salat al-Jumuah, beginning after sunrise. By leaving for Salat al-Jumuah, one gets the reward of waiting for the Prayer, making dhikr (remembering Allah) and voluntary prayers during that time. Abu Umamah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) said, “The angels sit at the doors to the Masjids and with them are scrolls in which they record the people [who come]. When the Imam appears, the scrolls are rolled up.” Abu Umamah was asked, “Does the one who comes after the Imam still have a Friday Prayer?” he said, “Certainly, but he is not one of those who is recorded [as coming early].” [Ahmad and al-Tabarani]

    Dressing well for Salat al-Jumuah

    This is a special time that requires Muslims to appear in the best manner possible. One should therefore put on his best attire for Salat al-Jumuah.

    The Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) said, “If one has the means, he should buy two pieces of clothing, other than his work clothes or [everyday clothing], to wear on Friday.” [Abu Dawud]

    Performing tahiyyat al-Masjid

    If a person comes late to the Friday Prayer while the Imam is delivering the khutbah, should he pray the two rak`ahs of tahiyyat al-Masjid (prayer of greeting the mosque) and then sit or should he simply skip them? The strongest opinion is to perform the tahiyyat al-Masjid based on the Hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam): “If one of you comes to the Masjid, he should pray two rak`ahs before he sits” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. However, tahiyyat al-Masjid is not required of the person giving the khutbah. Also, this requirement is limited only to prayers offered in a Masjid.

    Other Manners of Salat al-Jumuah:

    1. Walking to the Masjid whenever possible as there is a reward for every step taken to the Masjid.
    2. Avoiding stepping over people to get to a particular spot in the Masjid.
    3. Avoiding dividing two people who are sitting together.
    4. Not making someone stand and taking his place.
    5. Not clasping one’s hands and intertwining one’s fingers while waiting for the prayer.
    6. Sitting in the front rows and close to the Imam whenever possible.
    7. Remaining quiet while the Imam is delivering the khutbah. This actually includes listening to the Imam and not playing with anything while the Imam is speaking.
    8. Going to the Masjid in a state of calmness and not being hurried.
    9. Reciting surah al-Kahf (surah 18) as an authentic Hadith states: “For whoever recites surah al-Kahf on Friday, it will be a light for him from that Friday to the next.” [Al-Bayahaqi and Al-Hakim] The surah could be read any time of the day.

    Indeed, Salat al-Jumuah is one of the most important acts of worship in Islam. The Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) has described the wonderful blessings and benefits that Allah has vouchsafed upon Muslims through this magnificent act. Knowing how important this prayer is in Allah’s sight, Muslims must do their best to perform it in the best way possible. They should strive and sacrifice for the sake of this Prayer.