The Excellence of Friday
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday speech was delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh on April 6, 1990)
Oftentimes we overlook the day of Friday as just another weekday, but for Muslims, the day of Friday comes with endless opportunities for rewards and many responsibilities. The beauty of Friday is that it is the day we gather for the Friday prayer to take with us a weekly reminder of Allaah through the sermon of the khateeb. Today’s sermon serves as a reminder about the etiquettes of the Friday prayer, and as a reminder of the magnitude of this day, so that we never let a Friday pass by without taking full advantage of its potential rewards.
As you may know, Friday is the best day of the week; because it is the day Allaah has chosen for us to glorify, and to distinguish us from the other people of the book. The prophet Muhammad said, "We (Muslims) came last and yet we are the first on the Day of Judgment. They have received the books (the tawraat and Injeel) before us, while we received the book (the Qur’aan) after them. Friday was their day to be glorified. However, they disputed that while Allaah had told us Friday is the day to glorify. Thus they will follow us. The Jews glorify Saturday, and the Christians glorify Sunday." [Recorded by Imaams Bukhaari and Muslim]
Also the Prophet Muhammad said, "The best day during which the sun has risen is Friday. It is the day Adam was created. It is the day when Adam entered paradise and also when he was taken out from it. It is also the day on which the Day of Judgment takes place." [Recorded by Imaams Muslim, Abo-Dawod, Al-Nesaaii, and At-Tirmidhi]
There are even benefits for those fortunate enough and Allaah make him to pass away on the day of Friday, starting from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Friday, as the Prophet Muhammad said, “Any Muslim who dies on Friday or the night of Friday, surely Allaah will protect him from the trials of the grave.” [Fair hadeeth, recorded by Imaam At-Tirmidhi and Ahmed]
As I mentioned before, Friday is the day we glorify, and the day we have extra duties to perform, for which we will be rewarded handsomely for doing so. Some of those duties required upon Muslims on Friday are that:
- Men are obligated to participate in Friday Prayer. Allaah says what may be interpreted as, "O’ you who believe! When the call is proclaimed to Prayer on Friday hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allaah, and leave off business. That is best for you if you but knew." [Surat Al-Jumu’ah, (verse 9)]
- In addition, Prophet Muhammad warned us from not attending Friday Prayer. He cautioned against skipping out on the Friday prayer, making a serious statement, and said, “I wanted to ask a man to lead people in the prayer so that I may go and burn the houses of men who did not attend the Friday Prayer with us." [Imaams Muslim and Ahmad] He also said "Either they (those not attending the Friday prayer) stop neglecting Friday prayers or Allaah will set a seal on their hearts so they cannot find the right path again." [Recorded by Imaam Muslim, Ahmad and An-Nesaaii] He also warned, "Whoever does not attend three Friday prayers, (without a valid excuse) Allaah will set a seal over his heart." [An authentic hadeeth recorded by Imaams Abu Dawod, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nesaaii, and Ibn-Maajah]
It’s clear from these ahaadeeth and verses that the Friday prayer is mandatory for Muslim men, but there is also recommended actions we can partake in to gain the rewards of Allaah , for example:
- It is recommended that on Fridays we increase our supplication, especially at the last hour of the day since it is the hour when requests are granted by Allaah. The prophet Muhammad said, "Friday has 12 hours, one of which is the hour where supplications are granted for Muslim believers. This hour is sought at the last hour after Asr." [An authentic hadeeth recorded by Imaams An-Nessaii, Abu-Dawood, and Al-haakim]. And in anther hadeeth the prophet said while talking about the merits of Friday, "There is a time on Friday at which a Muslim, while he (or she) is performing Salaah and is supplicating, will be granted whatever he (or she) is supplicating for." And he pointed with his hand to indicate that this period of time is very short. [Recorded by Imaams Bukhaari and Muslim]. And also the prophet had talked about the special moment during Friday? He said: “It occurs between the time when the Imaam sits down (on the pulpit after the first Khutbah) and the time Salaat is over." [Recorded by Imaams Muslim].
- It is also encouraged that we wish peace upon Prophet Muhammad during the day on Friday and during Friday night. The Prophet Muhammad said, "The best day is Friday. On Friday Adam was created, and died. Friday will be the first time the trumpet is blown (when every creature dies) as well as the second time the trumpet is blown (referring to resurrection). So increase the number of times you wish peace upon me since this prayer will be shown to me." They asked him, “How will our prayers be shown to you after you have vanished?” He replied, "Allaah has prohibited earth from causing the body of prophets to decay." [an authentic hadeeth recorded by Imaams Abu-Dawood, An-Nesaaii, and Ibn-Maajah]
- It is also recommended that Muslims recite surat Al-Kahf. The prophet Muhammad had said, the Prophet said, "Whoever recites Surat-ul-Kahf on Friday will have illumination from the light from one Friday to the next." (An authentic recorded by Imaams An-Nasaa’i, Al-Baihaqi, and Al-Haakim)
- It is also recommended that Muslims clean and wash themselves and make sure they smell nice when they attend Friday Prayers. The prophet Muhammad said, "Every Muslim is obligated to wash on Fridays and wear his best clothes. Also, he should use perfume if he has any." [ Recorded by Imaams Bukhaari and Muslim]
- Along with cleanliness, it is also important to arrive early to the Friday prayer, even arriving as early as a few hours before the speech begins, as the prophet Muhammad mentioned how highly rewarded those who arrive early will be, as he said, "If one washes himself and then went to Friday Prayer, it is considered as if he donated a camel for the sake of Allaah. However, if he went in the second hour then it is considered as if he donated a cow and if he went in the third hour then it is as if he donated a big sheep and if he went in the fourth hour then it is as if he donated a chicken and if he went in the fifth hour then it is as if he donated an egg. Then when the Imaam starts delivering the speech the angels come and listen to it." [An authentic hadeeth recorded by all of the hadeeth collectors, except Ibn-Maajah] Also the Prophet Muhammad said, "On Friday, the angels come to stand on the doors of the mosque (masjid), the angels record those who comes first, but once the Imaam starts delivering the speech, the angels close their records and come listen to the speech." [An authentic hadeeth recorded by Imaam Abu-Dawod]
As you see, we must take our attendance to the Friday prayer as seriously as we take our attendance to day-to-day meetings or gatherings such as school, work, or entertaining functions. We should be early and come dressed as neatly and clean as possible, for we are presenting ourselves for our Lord, after all, this is the ultimate investment into our future. And just as there are recommended forms of worship that we can partake in on Fridays, there are a few forbidden acts we must refrain from, for example:
It is forbidden to work on Fridays after the call for prayer is announced because Allaah says what may be interpreted as, "When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allaah, and leave off business."[surat Al-Jumu’ah, (verse 9)]
Also, it is forbidden to talk during the Khutbah. Several sayings of Prophet Muhammad refer to this etiquette of the Friday prayer. The prophet Muhammad said, "If you told your friend to pay attention on Friday while the Imaam was delivering the speech then you committed a sin of vain talk." [An authentic hadeeth recorded by (the group of Ahaadeeth collectors), except Ibn-Maajah] The prophet Muhammad also said, "Even a person who touches the gravel on the ground (in a distracting manner) will be counted as if he committed vain talk, and he who commits these distractions, there will be no Friday (Jumu’ah reward) for him." [An authentic hadeeth recorded by Imaams Ibn-Maajah and At-Tirmidhi]
It is also disliked to walk in between people sitting during the Friday gathering unless there is an empty spot to fill. A man once came and started walking in between people during a Friday gathering while Prophet Muhammad was delivering his speech, so the Prophet told him, "Sit because you caused harm to other people and came in late." [An authentic hadeeth recorded by Imaams Abu-Dawod, An-Nesaaii, and Ahmad]
It may be nice to take the whole day of Friday off for religious purposes, but there is no evidence to consider Friday as a day to take off or forbid working the whole day. In fact, Allaah says what may be interpreted as, "And when the prayer is finished, then you may disperse through the land and seek of the bounty of Allaah." [surat Al-Jumu’ah, (verse 10)] If you were to study the lifestyles of the companions, you would find that none of them considered Friday as a day to take off from work. On the contrary, Imaam Maalik said, "It is disliked to take Friday off since we will resemble the Jews and Christians for taking, respectively, Saturday or Sunday off."
Dear brothers and sisters, while this speech about the importance of Friday seems trivial in lieu of the other issues we face as Muslims, it is actually of high importance. We should make it a point to glorify the day of Friday to our children so they never lose interest in this day. Our society places a high value on our weekends, Saturday and Sunday, yet very few know the importance of this day in the eyes of Muslims. We must remind them about this best day of the week, and spend it according to the Islamic teachings. We can also show them its high value by making it our top priority to attend the Friday prayer, and encouraging them to either perform Friday prayers at their schools or bringing them along with you to the masjid. We should never neglect the Friday prayer because of work, study, or other worldly matters.
We ask Allaah, to make us among those who take advantage of the rewards granted to us on Fridays, and accept all our righteous deeds. Aameen.