Salaat-ul-Jumma or Friday Prayer is offered in congregation. It is offered in place of Zhuhr Prayer. Each week on Friday, Muslims are required to take a bath, dress in their best clean clothes, wear perfume and assemble in the mosque for Friday Prayer. The Holy Quran and the Sunnah speak highly of the blessings of Jumm’a Prayer. If a Muslim spends Friday in the remembrance of God Almighty, supplicating before his Lord, he is abundantly rewarded by Allah.
Friday Prayer is an occasion for the assembly of the Muslims of a whole city or a town. In a large city, Friday Prayer can be offered in more than one place for the convenience of the Muslim community. It gives them an opportunity to meet together to discuss and solve their individual as well as community problems. Getting together once a week develops unity, co-operation and cohesiveness among Muslims. Friday Prayer is also a demonstration of Islamic equality.
It gives the Imam a chance to advise all Muslims at the same time on urgent matters that face them. The Imam’s sermon gives them guidance in Islamic teachings. Friday Prayer is an obligatory Prayer for every adult male Muslim. However, those who are sick, blind or disabled, those on a journey, and women, are exempt from the obligation of attending the Prayer at the mosque. They can join in the Prayer if they so wish, but if they cannot attend the Friday Prayer, they have to offer Zhuhr Prayer instead, as the Friday Prayer is offered in place of Zhuhr Prayer.
There are two Adhans for Friday Prayer. The first Athan is recited when the sun begins to decline and the second is recited just before the Imam stands up before the congregation to deliver his sermon.
The sermon consists of two parts. In the first part the Imam, after the recitation of Att’-awwuz and Sura Fatiha, advises the gathering to act upon the commandments of Allah and also about the duties they have to perform to become good Muslims. The sermon can also deal with any other matter of importance. This part of the sermon can be delivered in any language.
After delivering the first part of the sermon, the Imam sits down for a short while, then stands up again and starts with the second part which is in Arabic and which reads as follows:
Alhamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wa nasta ‘inuhu wa nastaghfiruhu wa nu’ minu bihi wa natawakkalu ‘alaih. Wa na ‘uThu Billahi min shururi anfusina wamin sayy ‘ati a ‘malina. Man yahdihillahu fala mudhilla lahu wa man yudlilhu fala hadiya lah. Wa nash-hadu alla ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu wa nash-hadu anna Muhmmadan ‘abduhu wa Rasuluh. Ibadallah rahima-kumullah. Innallaha ya’muru bil ‘adli wal-ihsani wa itai Thil-qurba. wa yanha ‘anil fahshai wal- munkari wal-baghyi, Ya ‘izhkum la ‘allakum taThakkarun. UThkurrullah yaTh-kur-kum wad ‘uhu yastajib lakum. Wala Thikrullahi akbar.
Muslims are required to listen to the sermon attentively. Any type of conversation during the sermon is prohibited. After the Imam has delivered the second part of the sermon, the Iqamah is recited and the Imam leads the congregational two Raka’at of Jummah Prayer.
The Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, did not approve of a person telling others to refrain from conversation while the Imam is delivering his Sermon. In unavoidable circumstances, a gesture by hand or with a finger can be made to draw the attention of someone to stop talking. In case the Imam asks something during the sermon, then he should be replied to.
It is preferable that the person who delivered the sermon should lead the Prayer. The Imam should recite Sura Fatiha and some verses of the Holy Quran in a loud voice during the Jummah Prayer. One should offer four Raka’at of Sunnah Prayer before the Friday congregational Prayer and four Raka’at of Sunnah after the congregational Jummah Prayer, but two Raka’at of Sunnah after the congregational and Fardh Jummah Prayer are also allowed instead of four, as mentioned in the famous book of Traditions called Sunan Abu Daud (Kitab-us-Salaat bab Assalaat ba’ad al Jummah wa sharah AlSunnat, Vol.3 page 449). The two Raka’at of Sunnah Prayer to be offered before the Fardh are compulsory and are not dropped even during a journey.
A person who comes to the mosque during the sermon should not steer his way to the front by jumping over the shoulders of the people already sitting. As the sermon has already begun, he can if he wishes, offer two Raka’at of Sunnah quickly during the sermon. If a person is late for Friday Prayer and joins the congregation in the final Qa’dah, he should complete his Prayer individually after the Imam has finished leading the Prayer. If, however, he misses the congregational Prayer completely, such a person should offer Zhuhr Prayer instead.