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.
1. 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.
2. 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)
3. 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)
4. 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)
5. 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.
6. 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)
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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)
11. 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?