Friday Sermon: Merits of Friday Prayers

September 26th, 2008

Huzur cited verses 10 – 12 of Surah Al Jummah and gave a discourse on the merits of Friday Prayers in his sermon today. The translation of the verses recited reads as below:

Ye who believe! when the call is made for Prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off all business. That is best for you, if you only knew.

And when the Prayer is finished, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah's grace, and remember Allah much, that you may prosper.

But when they see some merchandise or some amusement, they break up for it, and leave thee standing. Say, 'That which is with Allah is better than amusement and merchandise, and Allah is the best Provider.'

Huzur said the verses explain the significance of Friday Prayers in Allah’s sight that a separate and specific mention has been made in Surah Al Jummah of the importance of the Prayer of this day. Despite repeated commandments to offer Salat, offer it in congregation, to perform ablutions (wudhu) before offering Salat etc. a specific mention has been made of Friday Prayers. Huzur said he had mentioned in his first sermon of this Ramadan that each Friday a moment comes when Allah accepts all prayers. Huzur hoped that everyone would have paid heed and reaped the benefit of the Fridays of Ramadan. Indeed the sanctity of Ramadan and of Friday in conjunction can be a source of attaining nearness to Allah.

Huzur said today is the fifth day of the last ten days of Ramadan and the last Friday of Ramadan. Some sections of Muslim give a lot of significance to the last Friday of Ramadan and even tend to believe that this is a day when one may gather for Friday Prayers to have all one’s sins forgiven and of course there are some who consider it sufficient only to offer the Friday Prayers of the last Friday of Ramadan. Huzur said by not accepting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) these people are devoid of understanding Allah’s commandments correctly. Huzur said we comprehend the significance of Friday and therefore hold each Friday as important. If the Fridays of Ramadan have particular significance it is that we have been given the glad-tidings of a moment that comes during Friday when Allah accepts prayers, similarly we have the glad-tidings about Ramadan that Allah comes near and listens to His servants in this month. Therefore the significance of a Friday in Ramadan would be that with His immense grace He listens during the day time as well as during the night. We should take advantage of this and pray for eternal mercy, forgiveness and deliverance from the hell of this world and the Hell of the Hereafter. It should not be just the last Friday of Ramadan that draws our attention to prayer and supplication. Huzur said each Ahmadi really needs to be mindful of this. It should not be just the Fridays of Ramadan or the last Friday in Ramadan that should motivate us to go to the mosque as one goes to offer Eid Salat at the mosque or the Eid Gah once/twice a year. Although there is no commandment about Eid Salat in the Holy Qur’an the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) has enjoined it even on those women who do not have to say their Salat. There is no such commandment about Friday. Huzur said Eid Salat is not just a matter of offering two nawafil and listening to the sermon to have one’s sins forgiven. Rather it is participating in the worship of thankfulness for what one has been enabled - or even not enabled due to some valid reason - during Ramadan and seek Allah’s pleasure and pray to Him for steadfastness in worship.

Huzur related many ahadith to further elucidate the significance of Friday. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said the reward of good works is increased manifold on Friday. He also said that on Friday angels stand by the door of a mosque and the write down the name of the first to arrive as equivalent to one who has sacrificed a camel, the next one to arrive is written down as equivalent to one who has sacrificed a cow, then a sheep, a hen and finally equivalent to sacrificing an egg. Once the Imam comes to the mimber (pulpit) the angels close the register and listen to the discourse. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that Friday is the most excellent of all days and Ramadan is the most excellent of all months and Lailatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) is the most excellent of all nights. He said Friday is the chief of days and is the greatest in the sight of Allah and it has five distinctions: this is the day Adam (on whom be peace) was created, it is the day he was sent down on earth, it is the day he was given death, it is a day during which a time comes when all prayers other than what is forbidden (haram) is accepted and the Day of Judgment will also come to pass on this day.

Huzur said that the reference to ‘hasten to the remembrance of Allah’ in the aforementioned verses is due to the special blessings of this day and signifies that real prosperity is in worship of Allah. The first act of piety is in coming for Friday Prayers, Huzur said, it is the sense of obedience which motivates a person to abandon all worldly matters and come to the mosque. The Friday Prayers is longer in duration as the Sermon is also a part of it. Therefore one may assume that taking time out for Friday Prayers could entail financial loss. However, Allah states that no one will incur a loss by obeying Him. It states in the Holy Qur’an in (24:53) that those who obey Allah are in fact those to whom success comes. Huzur said as the verse suggests the obedient are successful even under normal circumstances, how enhanced would then be the success that the blessings of Friday would bring them. One who abandons one’s trade and livelihood for the sake of Allah could never be turned away. The citation of ‘That is best for you’ in the verse should be reassuring for every person who believes Allah to be the Master of all powers and the Lord of all the worlds. If one truly appreciated the blessings that Friday brings one would not wait for the month of Ramadan but would wait for the next Friday and would be mindful of the status of one who is equivalent to one who sacrifices a camel and also of the register being closed by the angels.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) associated his advent with this day and said that Allah has made this occasion for those who seek good. He said those who have accepted me should not be proud that they have realised everything. The truth is that you have only arrived at the [spiritual] fountain and you have yet to drink the water. He said you should seek the ability, the capacity, to be satiated by this water. One who drinks this water will not be destroyed. He said the only way to satiate oneself with this water is to fulfil and honour both the dues of Allah and the dues of mankind.

Huzur said if this is what the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said to people of his era, those around him, who had had his blessed nearness, how much more do we now have to be mindful of the greatness of Friday. It is an awareness that we have had by accepting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). It is our task to make endeavours to accomplish this. The virtues of the month of Ramadan should become a permanent part of our lives. We should continue to avoid the conflicts and absurdities that we avoided during Ramadan and the regularity in Salat that we attained during Ramadan should be adopted for the rest of the year.

Huzur said we should pray that may Allah inculcate these pious and pure changes in us and may we seek the beneficence of the coming Friday and may the blessings of these days be so extended that we may continue to receive their beneficence till the next Ramadan. May we attain spiritual development and progress in the few days of Ramadan that now remain and may this endless sequence continue for the rest of our lives, in fact may it all cover us in Allah’s forgiveness after our death.

Speaking about Lailatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) Huzur said it is said to fall in the last ten days or the last seven days of Ramadan. We should take special care to pray for this. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that one meaning of Lailatul Qadr is the night when Allah manifests Himself to those who seek His forgiveness. The other meaning is that when the Qur’an was revealed the world was dark like a densely dark night and wishful of a reformer and the verse of (97:2) is a proof of this. Huzur explained that if this is a night when Allah opens His arms then we should always be seeking nights like this. He said the fact of the matter is that Friday, Ramadan, Lailatul Qadr will only be of avail to us when we make the revolutionary changes that they bring a part of our lives which will, in turn, help us fulfil the objective of our birth.

As the aforementioned verses of Surah Al Jummah cite, once the Friday Prayers are over and people disperse they should continue to remember Allah. They should be mindful of the five obligatory Prayers while seeking Allah’s grace through good and permissible means and not like the proverbial person who goes to Hajj and then makes deceptive dealings. One should acknowledge with one’s heart and mind the authenticity of Allah’s grace and blessings so that taqwa is inculcated for that is where real prosperity lies.

Citing verse 192 of Surah Al e Imran Huzur said remembrance of Allah is when one remembers Allah simply all the time. The mention of protection from ‘Fire’ in this verse signifies that all that is in the heavens and the earth and in between is created by Allah and belongs to Him and every grace, every blessing comes from Him, then, where can man go if he leaves Allah? Making idols of things like one’s trade etc indeed takes one to the Fire, hence the prayer in the verse of protection from the Fire.

Huzur said we should pray that we never associate anything with Allah that we are always His sincere worshippers and remember Him. Huzur said when Allah states in verse 11 of Surah Al Jummah to disperse after Prayers and seek His grace, it is a reminder that all our profits and losses are in God’s hands. We should have the blessed model of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in our viewpoint who managed trade but never forgot remembrance of Allah. Huzur said in today's volatile economic climate when great big financial institutions are going bankrupt it is worth remembering that it is only Allah’s grace that brings everything.

May Allah enable us to stay firm on taqwa and may we observe this Friday and all Fridays with deliberation. May He save us from the attacks of Satan and always keep us in His refuge.