The day of this prayer, Friday is the best day of the week, as the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Among the most excellent of your days is Friday.”

In another hadith he (PBUH) said:

“We (Muslims) are the last (to come) but (wilt be) the first on the Day of Resurrection though the former nations were given the Scriptures before us. This (Friday) was their day of celebration which was made compulsory for them but they differed about it. So, Allah gave us the guidance for it (Friday) and all the other people follow us in this respect.”

Imam Muslim recorded that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“It was Friday from which Allah diverted those who were before us. For the Jews (the day set aside for prayer) was Saturday and for the Christians it was Sunday. When Allah sent us (Muslims), He guided us to Friday (as the day of prayer) for us.”

Allah ordained the meeting of Muslims on Friday to draw their attention to His great favors upon them. The Friday sermon is ordained to remind Muslims of the favors of Allah and incite them lo be grateful (to Him). The Jumu’ah (Friday) Prayer is ordained to be performed by midday to give the Muslims (living in the same residential area) the chance to gather in one mosque. In addition, Allah ordered the believers to attend this meeting, listen to the sermon, and perform the Jumu’ah Prayer as He says:

“O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you if you only knew.” – Qur’an, Al-Jumu’ah:9

Ibnul-Qayyim said:

“It is of the guidance of the Prophet (PBUH) to honor this day (Friday), and to favor it with special acts of worship which he does not perform on other days. Scholars, as well as the followers of Ash-Shafi, differ on which day is better: Friday or the Day of ‘Arafah? The Prophet (PBUH) used to recite the Surahs of As-Sajdah (the Prostration) and Al-Insan (Man) in the Fair (Dawn) Prayer on Friday.”

Ibnul-Qayyim added:

“I heard Shaykhul-lslam Ibn Taymiyah saying, ‘The Prophet (PBUH) used to recite these two Sums (As-Sajdah and Al-lnsan) in the Fajr Prayer on Friday as they deal with e vents that happened or will happen on Friday such as the creation of Adam (Adam), the Resurrection, and the gathering of servants (to the account in the Hereafter). Tints, reciting these two Surahs every Friday reminds the Muslim nation of the aforementioned events and consequently comes the prostration of recitation (in the Surah of As-Sajdah). So, the prostration of recitation is not intended in particular here and the one performing prayer should not mistakenly recite a prostration-containing verse from whatever Surah in the Quran (believing that it is an act of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) for Fridays.”

There are some special features to be observed on Friday or on the night preceding it:

It is desirable to confer blessing upon the Prophet (PBUH) frequently Al-Bayhaqi records that the Prophet (PBUH) says:

“Confer blessings upon me frequently on Friday and the night preceding it.”

The Jumu’ah (Friday) Prayer is one of the most distinguishing acts of worship of Friday, as it is of the most stressed obligations of Islam and of the greatest assemblies of Muslims, The Prophet (PBUH) said that he who leaves the Jumu’ah Prayer (continuously) three times on account of slackness, Allah seals over his heart.

Bathing before Friday Prayer

Among the acts of worship to be observed on Friday is bathing to attend the Friday Prayer, as it is a stressed act of the Sunnah. Some scholars view this bathing as obligatory, and others maintain that it is obligatory only for one who needs to remove bad smell from his body.

Applying Perfume

In addition, it is desirable to apply perfume on Friday, which is better than applying perfume on the other days of the week.

Going to Mosque Early

Moreover, it is desirable to go early to the mosque for the Jumu’ah Prayer and occupy oneself with performing supererogatory prayers, remembering Allah, and reciting the Noble Quran until the imam (i.e., leader in prayer) comes to deliver the sermon.

Obligatory to Listen to the Sermon

It is obligatory to listen to the sermon, and if one does not listen to it (occupying oneself with anything other than the sermon), then one commits an evil act. The Prophet (PBUH) says:

“He who commits an evil act will have no (reward for) Friday.”

Speaking is prohibited during the sermon as it is related in the Musnad (Ascribed Traditions of Hadith) of Imam Ahmad that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Whoever asks his companion to keep quiet (while the imam is delivering the sermon) will have no (reward for) Friday.”

Reciting Surah Al-Kahf on Friday

Furthermore, among the acts of worship to be observed on Friday is reciting the Surah of Al-Kahf (the Cave)”, It is authentically narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“If anyone recites the Surah of Al-Kahf on Friday, a light will shine from under his feet up to the heaven and it will shine for him on the Day of Resurrection, and the sins he committed between the two Fridays will be forgiven.” – Related by Al-Hakim and AI-Bayhaqi

A Special Hour on Friday

There is an hour (a period of time) on Friday during which Allah definitely responds to supplications. In the Two Sahihs it is recorded on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“There is an hour (a period of time) on Friday and if a Muslim gets it while performing prayer and asks something from Allah, then Allah will definitely meet his demand.”

And he (the Prophet) pointed out the shortness of that time with his hands.

Among the significant acts of worship on Friday is the sermon which is intended to praise Allah and glorify Him, declare the testimony of His Oneness and His Messenger s message, and to remind His servants (of the affairs of religion).

There are so many special acts of worship to be observed on Friday (or its preceding night) which Ibnul-Qayyim, in his book entitled Zadul-Ma ‘ad (Provisions for the Hereafter), mentioned, making them one hundred and thirty three. Nevertheless, many Muslims neglect this day giving it no more attention than any other day, some devote it for sleep and sloth, and others make it a day of diversion, play and heedlessness, away from remembering Allah. Consequently, the number of Muslims performing the Fajr Prayer (of Friday) in congregation in the mosques is noticeably decreasing. There is neither might nor power except in Allah!

Offering two Rak’ah upon entering the Mosque

It is desirable for a Muslim to go early to the mosque for the Jumu’ah Prayer and perform two rak’ahs (units of prayer) when he enters the mosque as a prayer of greeting. He is permitted to perform more voluntary prayers if it is early for the Jumu’ah Prayer, as the Salaf (early Muslim scholars) used to go early to the mosque for the Jumu’ah Prayer and perform voluntary prayers until the imam came to deliver the sermon.

Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“It is more entitled for a Muslim who goes early to the mosque for the Jumu’ah Prayer to perform voluntary prayers until the imam comes (to deliver the sermon). It is stated in a Sahih (authentic) hadith that the Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘… Then he may perform prayer as much as (Allah has) willed for him.,.’ ‘ Moreover, the words of the Prophet (PBUH) urge Muslims to perform voluntary prayers when they enter the mosque before the sermon on Friday, without determining a specific time (to do that). It is also narrated that the Companions used to perform voluntary prayers as much as they could when they entered the mosque before the sermon on Friday. It could happen that one of them perform ten, twelve or eight rak’ahs (units of prayer), and sometimes more or less than that. That is why the majority of scholars agree that there is no specific time or number for the voluntary prayer before the Jumu’ah Prayer and this voluntary prayer is considered a good deed, not a sunnah ratibah (a regularly-observed supererogatory prayer). Thus, according to the soundest view, a Muslim is not legally blamed whether or not he performs voluntary prayer before the Jumu’ah Prayer, However, if ignorant people believe that it is a sunnah ratibah, then, in this case, giving up this voluntary prayer wilt be better?

No Sunnah Prayer before the Jumu’ah

It was mentioned previously that there is no Sunnah ratibah before the Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) (but only a voluntary prayer). However, there is a Sunnah ratibah after the Jumu’ah Prayer for it is recorded in Sahih Muslim (Muslims Authentic Book of Hadith) that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“When any one of you performs the Jumu’ah Prayer, he should perform four (supererogatory rak’ahs (units of prayer)) afterwards.”

Four Rak’ah Sunnah Prayer after the Jumu’ah

It is also recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet (PBUH) used to perform two (supererogatory) rak’ahs after the Jumu’ah Prayer. To reconcile the two hadiths, it can be said that when the Prophet (PBUH) performed this supererogatory prayer at home, he made it two rak’ahs and when he (PBUH) performed it in the mosque, he made it four rak’ahs. It is also permissible for a Muslim to perform six supererogatory rak’ahs after the Jumu’ah Prayer according to Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated:

“When the Prophet (PBUH) performed Jumu’ah Prayer, he used to proceed to perform two (supererogatory) rak’ahs, and then proceed to perform four (supererogatory) rak’ahs.”

Not Allowed to Reserve a Place

A Muslim who goes early to the mosque is more entitled to sit in the front rows. It is not right that a Muslim reserves a place in the mosque by putting a prayer rug, a stick or a pair of shoes, and then comes later because this behavior deprives those who come early from this place. Some scholars maintain that it is permissible for whoever comes early to the mosque to perform prayer in such a reserved place and to remove anything (put in it for reservation) because those going early to the mosque are more entitled to perform prayer in the first row. Besides, such reservation is considered an act of unlawful seizure of a place.

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“Before going for the Jumu’ah Prayer, or any other prayer, many people send sheets (carpets) and the like to reserve a place in the mosque, which is forbidden according to the unanimous agreement of Muslims; rather it is prohibited. Scholars have two different views whether the prayer of such people is valid on such a sheet or not, as they unlawfully seize a place in the mosque by spreading such an object, depriving others from their right to sit in such a place when they come early A Muslim is to go, himself, to the mosque and, hence, if he sends a sheet (to reserve a place) and comes later he violates the Shari’ah in two ways. The first is his delay, though he is ordered to go early, and the second is his unlawful seizure of the place and depriving those going early from performing prayer therein and from completing the rows in succession, one after another. Moreover, such a person commits another mistake when he disturbs the people, who came before him, while surpassing their rows, passing over their necks to reach the reserved place.”

Offer two Rak’ah even if the Imam is Delivering the Sermon

It is among the rulings on the Jumu’ah (Friday) that a Muslim should perform two short (light) rak’ahs (units of prayer) If he enters the mosque while the imam is delivering the sermon. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“If anyone of you comes for the Jumu’ah Prayer when the imam has already come out (to deliver the sermon), (even then) he should perform two rak’ahs.”

This hadith is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim and in the narration of Muslim, he (PBUH) added, “…and should make them short.” However, if he sits before performing the two supererogatory rak’ahs, he should stand and perform them, for the Prophet (PBUH) told the man who sat before performing these two rak’ahs, “Get up and perform two rak’ahs.”

Talking Not Allowed during the Sermon

It is not permissible for a Muslim to speak while the imam is delivering the sermon as Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“So, when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy” – Quran, Al -A’raf:204

Some exegetes of the Qur’an maintain that this verse was revealed concerning the Friday Sermon, and this sermon is called Qur’an as there are always Quranic verses recited in it. Concerning the other view that this verse was revealed concerning prayer, it can be said that it (Jumu’ah Prayer) generally includes the sermon. Ahmad relates that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“If anyone even says (to his companion sitting besides him), ‘Sahin (i.e. shush) (while the imam is delivering the sermon), it will be considered uttering ill speech. And whoever utters ill speech, there will be no (reward for) Jumu’ah for him.”

In another hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Whoever talks while the imam is delivering the (Friday) sermon is like a donkey that carries volumes (of books), and whoever asks him to keep quiet and listen, there will be no (reward for) Friday for him.”

What is meant in this hadith is that there will be no complete reward for Friday Prayer for him. Besides, it is recorded in the Two Sahihs, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“If you ask your companion to keep quiet and listen while the imam is delivering the sermon, then you have uttered an ill speech.”

This ill speech is considered a sin even if the speech is the mere word “listen” that is originally considered enjoining what is right. So other words uttered while the Imam is delivering the sermon are more entitled to be prohibited.

While delivering the sermon, the Imam is permitted to talk to any of the persons led in prayer and they are permitted to speak to him for any legal interest. It happened in many situations that the Prophet (PBUH) talked and listened to an inquirer. Also, the Prophet (PBUH) talked and listened to some Companions for the sake of a legal interest or to teach them religious rulings. This kind of speaking is permissible, as it does not distract people’s attention while listening to the sermon.

While listening to the sermon, one is not permitted to give charity to a beggar, as he (the beggar), in this case, does an impermissible act so one should not help him to such an act, i.e. speaking while the sermon is delivered. When the preacher confers blessing upon the Prophet (PBUH), it is an act of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) for a Muslim to confer blessing upon the Prophet (PBUH), but without raising his voice in order not to distract the attention of others. When the preacher invokes Allah, it is an act of the Sunnah for a Muslim to say ‘Amin (amen)’, raising neither his voice nor his hands.

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said,

“While the preacher is delivering the sermon, it is detestable or prohibited by uniform agreement for a Muslim to raise his voice, and neither the prayer caller (muezzin) nor anyone else should raise his voice with conferring blessing upon the Prophet (PBUH) or by doing anything else.”

It is noteworthy that such wrong acts, which Ibn Taymiyah pointed out, are still committed in some countries. Some examples of such acts are raising one’s voice when conferring blessing upon the Prophet (PBUH), or some supplications during or before the sermon or between the two sermons. Moreover, some preachers may order those present to commit such acts. This is considered ignorance and innovation in religion which is not permitted to be done.

A Muslim must not greet others if he enters the mosque while the imam is delivering the sermon; rather, he should proceed calmly to any available place in the rows, perform two short rak’ahs (units of prayer) as mentioned previously, and sit to listen to the sermon without shaking hands with those near him. During the sermon one is not permitted to play with his hand, foot, beard, clothes and the like, for the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Whoever touches pebbles (while the imam is delivering the Friday sermon paying no attention to the sermon) has made an evil act.”

At-Tirmidhi deemed it a sahih (authentic) hadith. In another narration, the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“…And whoever makes an evil act, no Friday (i.e. no reward for the Friday Prayer) wilt he recorded for him.”

This is because playing prevents devoutness.

During the sermon, a Muslim should not turn right or left, nor look at the people (around him) in order not to be distracted from listening to the sermon. Rather, he should face the preacher (looking at him) as the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) used to face the Prophet (PBUH) during his sermon. If one sneezes, one should praise Allah secretly. For the sake of a legal interest, a Muslim is permitted to talk before or after the sermon, or during the interval between the two sermons. However, one should not talk about worldly matters.

In general, the two sermons of Friday (the sermon of Friday is divided into two parts) are extremely important in Islam as they contain the recitation of the Noble Qur’an, some hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH), useful guidance, good instruction, and remembrance of the days of Allah, So, the preacher and listeners must pay attention to the two sermons. The Friday sermon is not an ordinary speech delivered in clubs, or during celebrations or usual meetings.

It is worth mentioning that during the Friday sermon, some listeners raise their voices, seeking refuge with Allah when they hear a warning, or invoking Allah when they hear some mentioning of the Paradise or of the rewards of Allah. This act is not permissible and it Is included in the acts forbidden to be done during the sermon. The legal texts indicate that talking during the Friday sermon renders good deeds worthless and whoever talks during Friday sermon will have no reward for the Friday Prayer, and will be like a donkey that carries volumes (of books). So, one must guard oneself against such forbidden acts and warn others to guard themselves against them.

Difference between Jumu’ah Prayer and Zuhr Prayer

Faqihs (may Allah have mercy on them) mention that the Jumu’ah (Friday) Prayer is an independent obligation, not a substitute for the Zuhr Prayer. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“The prayer of the traveler is two rak’ahs (units of prayer), the Jumu’ah Prayer is two rak’ahs, the Feast Prayer is two rak’ahs. These prayers are complete riot shortened according to what your Prophet (PBUH) said.”

The Jumu’ah Prayer differs from the Zuhr Prayer in many ways (concerning legal rulings) since the former is better and more stressed than the latter, and more warnings are narrated concerning whoever leaves the Jumu’ah Prayer. In addition, the Jumu’ah Prayer has some conditions and specialties which the Zuhr Prayer does not have. It is not sufficient for any Muslim, for whom the Jumu’ah Prayer is obligatory, to perform the Zuhr Prayer instead of the Jumu’ah Prayer, unless the due time of the latter is over; and only then the Zuhr Prayer becomes a substitute.

The Jumu’ah Prayer is an individual duty for every legally competent, free and resident male Muslim. Abu Dawud relates, with his chain of transmitters, on the authority of Tariq Ibn Shihab that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“(Performing) the Jumu’ah (Friday) Prayer in congregation is obligatory upon every Muslim, with four exceptions; a slave, a woman, a boy, and a sick person.”

The transmitters of this hadith are trustworthy, and it is deemed Sahih (authentic) by many scholars. Ad Daraqutni also relates, with his chain of transmitters* on the authority of Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must perform the Jumu’ah Prayer in congregation, with four exceptions: a sick person, a traveler, a boy or a slave.”

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

“The Jumu’ah Prayer is obligatory upon every group of people living in permanent houses close together, whether such houses are built with mud, wood, reeds, palm branches, or any other material, as long as they do not depart from such a place in summer or winter. The kind of material is insignificant to the aforementioned legal obligation. The original rule concerning this is that they should be permanently resident and not like nomads who live in tents and move from one place to another, carrying their houses with them whenever they go seeking rain.”

Jumu’ah Prayer Not Obligatory upon Travelers

The Jumu’ah Prayer is not obligatory upon travelers, who are permitted to shorten prayers as the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions used to travel for Hajj or any other purpose and none of them performed the Jumu’ah Prayer during travel. The Jumu’ah Prayer is not obligatory upon whoever goes on a picnic (and the like) and finds no mosque around and he is to perform the Zuhr Prayer (instead of the Jumu’ah Prayer). In addition, the Jumu’ah Prayer is not obligatory upon women.

Ibnul-Mundhir, as well as other scholars, said:

“Scholars unanimously agree that the Jumu’ah Prayer is not obligatory upon women and that if women go to the mosque, listen to Friday Sermon, and perform the Jumu’ah Prayer, this serves instead of performing the Zuhr Prayer.”

Likewise, a traveler or an ill person is permitted to perform the Jumu’ah Prayer, instead of the Zuhr Prayer, if he is able, for Allah excuses such persons (from performing the Jumu’ah Prayer) to lighten difficulties for them.

It is not permissible for a Muslim upon whom the Jumu’ah Prayer is obligatory to travel on Friday after meridian unless he performs prayer. Moreover, it is detestable for him to travel, even before meridian, if he is not to perform the Jumu’ah Prayer on his way.

There are some legal conditions which make the Friday Prayer valid:

  1. The Jumu’ ah Prayer must be performed at its due time which is a condition for it as the case with other obligatory prayers. Thus, the Jumu ‘ah Prayer is not valid if performed either before or after its due time as Allah, Exalted be He, says:
    “Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” – Quran: An-Nisa: 103
    It is better and more cautious to perform the Jumu”ah Prayer after meridian as it is the time when the Prophet (PBUH) used to perform this prayer. It is a controversial issue to perform the Jumu’ah Prayer before meridian. There is no dispute that the end of the time for the Jumu ‘flft Prayer is the same as the end of the time for the Zuhr Prayer.
  2. Observers of the Jumu’ah Prayer must he residents in houses built with any usual material, not like nomads who live in tents and move with their houses from one place to another seeking rain. This is because the Prophet (PBUH) did not order the Arab tribes Living around Medina to perform the Jumu’ah Prayer.
    If a Muslim catches up with one rak’ah (unit of prayer), he can complete his prayer as he has already caught up with the Jumu’ah prayer. Al-Bayhaqi records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
    “Whoever could get one rak’ah of the Jumu’ah Prayer (in its proper time) has got the prayer.”
    The origin of this hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.
    A Muslim misses the Jumu’ah Prayer if he gets less than one rak’ah of the Jumu’ah Prayer, i.e. if he joins the prayer after the Imam (i.e. leader in prayer) has risen from bowing in the second rak’ah. Then he is to intend to perform the Zuhr Prayer and perform four rak’ahs as the Zuhr Prayer after the imam pronounces the final salutation.
  3. The two sermons are considered a condition of the Jumu’ah Prayer as the Prophet (PBUH) used to deliver two sermons before performing the Jumu’ah Prayer. Ibn ‘ Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
    “The Prophet used to deliver two sermons while standing and sit in between them.” – Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

In addition, among the conditions that make the two sermons of the Jumu’ah valid is that they must contain words of praise of Allah, declaring the Two Testifications of Faith, conferring blessing upon the Prophet (PBUH), giving advice to fear Allah, as well as good instruction, and the recitation of the Noble Qur’an (even one verse). Many sermons of preachers nowadays lack some or most of the aforementioned conditions.

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“Contemplating the sermons of the Prophet (PBUH) and those of his Companions, one finds such lessons sufficient to make clear the guidance and the Oneness of Allah, These sermons also explain the Attributes of the Lord, Exalted be He, and the comprehensive principles of faith, call to Allah, show Allah’s favors that draw His servants near to Him and mention His days (when His punishment afflicted some of the previous nations) that make His servants fear His punishment. These sermons call Muslims to remember Allah and thank Him so that He may love them. Also, these sermons mention the Majesty of Allah, His Attributes and Names to draw His servants near to Him, and call Muslims to obey, thank, and remember Him so that He may love them. Thus, those who listen to such sermons would leave the mosque while they love Allah and Allah loves them. Years passed and the light of prophethood faded until the laws and orders of Allah become like ceremonies that are performed without fulfilling their objectives. Some recent preachers have considered their own (invented) ceremonies as if they were acts of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) that must be observed, and violated the obligatory objectives of the Shari’ah (Islamic Law). These preachers adorn the sermons with so much rhyme and rhetoric that cannot reach the hearts of people and hence they (the sermons) do not fulfill their objectives.”

This is what Ibnul-Qayyim said about the sermons at his time and, of course, things have gone worse than what he said, for, nowadays, we find most of the sermons worthless and full of wordiness. Some, or many, contemporary preachers regard the sermon as a scholastic composition and improvise whatever matter that comes to their minds, either related to the topic or not, making their sermons long and dull. Moreover, some preachers neglect all the legal conditions of the sermon (or at least some of them) and do not adhere to the legal regularities of the sermon (according to the Sunnah). Thus* they have so badly affected the standard of the sermons that they (the sermons) no longer fulfill their effective and useful objectives.

Some preachers force irrelevant topics into their sermons that may be difficult for most of ihose present to understand; they include topics of press, politics, and current events, which do not (religiously) benefit the worshippers. O preachers, you must imitate the model sermon of the Prophet (PBUH) as Allah, Exalted be He, says,

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern…” – Qur’an, Al-Ahzab:21

You should focus your subjects on the topics of the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah that best suit the situation. Your sermon should include the advice to fear Allah and follow good instruction. You should treat in a brief and clear way the (spiritual) diseases of your societies. Often recite the Noble Quran which grants true life to hearts and light to eyes.

It is not a matter of two mere sermons but, rather, what is really meant is their expected effects on society as Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

“It is not enough for preachers to dispraise worldly life and mention death. Conventionally, there must be a specific topic for every sermon.”

Thus, a sermon can move hearts to good deeds. Moreover, it is not enough for preachers to dispraise and warn against the worldly life as this is the technique of all the deniers of Shari’ah. Rather, a preacher should incite people to obey Allah, warn them against disobeying Him, call them to Allah, and remind them of His favors.

Ibn Taymiyah added, “The objective of a sermon is not fulfilled through detrimental brevity that makes the listeners miss such an objective” When Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) delivered a sermon, his eyes would become red, his voice would rise, and his anger would increase so that he was like one giving a warning against the enemy and saying:

“The enemy has made a morning attack on you and in the evening too.”

The faqihs (may Allah have mercy on them) view that it is an act of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) for the preacher to stand on a pulpit while delivering the Friday Sermon as the Prophet (PBUH) used to do. This is more effective for instruction as the worshippers can see the preacher clearly while he is delivering the sermon. An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said,

“The preacher’s standing on a pulpit is a unanimous act of the Sunnah.”

For the preacher, there are some acts of the Sunnah concerning the Friday Sermon:

He may greet those present in the mosque when he ascends the pulpit, Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“When Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) ascended the pulpit, he used to give a salutation.”

This hadith is related by Ibn Majah and there are similar narrations of the same meaning.

The preacher may sit on the pulpit until the prayer caller (muezzin) finishes the prayer call (adhan). Abu Dawud records on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:

“When the Prophet (PBUH) ascended the pulpit, he used to sit until the prayer caller finishes (the adhan). Then, he (the Prophet) would stand and deliver the sermon.”

Among the acts of the Sunnah to be observed by the preacher is sitting between the two sermons, for the hadith recorded on the authority of Ibn ‘ Umar who said:

“The Prophet (PBUH) used to deliver two sermons while standing and sit in between them.” – Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim

In addition, the preacher can deliver the sermon while standing to follow the example of the Prophet (PBUH) as Allah, Exalted be He, says, “…And left you standing…” (Quran, Al-Jumu’ah:11) and Muslims acted according to this Sunnah.

Also, according to the Sunnah the preacher may lean on a stick or the like.

Moreover, the preacher should look in front of him as the Prophet (PBUH) used to do. Turning right or left is regarded as ignoring the other side and contradicting the Sunnah. The Prophet (PBUH) used to look in front of him while delivering Friday sermon and the worshippers (from among the Companions) also used to face him, Al-Tirmidhi related, on the authority of Ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him), saying:

“When the Prophet (PBUH) stood on the pulpit we used to face him!”

Furthermore, the preacher should make the sermon moderately brief for fear that the worshippers might become bored. However, he should not make it too brief to the extent that they might not benefit from it. Imam Muslim records on the authority of ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir {may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“A man’s prolongation of the prayer and shortening of the sermon are signs of his understanding (of faith). So, prolong the prayer and shorten the sermon.”

The preacher should raise his voice while delivering the sermon, for the Prophet (PBUH) used to raise his voice and his anger increased while delivering a sermon. This is more effective on the hearts of the listeners.

The language of the preacher should be clear, strong and effective, and phrases should be eloquent.

In addition to this, the preacher should invoke Allah to amend the religious and worldly conditions of Muslims. He should also invoke Allah to guide the Muslim ruler and those in authority and lead them to success. Invoking Allah during Friday sermon to lead to success those in authority was well known and always observed among Muslims, for it is observed by the Adherents of the Sunnah and Muslim community. However, it is the custom of the innovators in religion to leave this invocation (for those in authority).

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said, “If we had a supplication that was certain to be accepted, we would say it for the leader of the Muslims.” This is because if the leader of the Muslims is good, this will benefit all Muslims. However, this act of the Sunnah has so long been neglected that people consider it strange and think ill of the one who invokes Allah for those in authority.

It is also an act of the Sunnah to pronounce an immediate prayer call immediately after the second sermon, and then start the prayer without a long interval.

How to Perform the Friday Prayer

The Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) unanimously consists of two rak’ahs (units of prayer) and the imam must raise his voice while reciting the Noble Qur’an.

In the first rak’ah, it is an act of the Sunnah that the imam recites the after reciting Al-Fatihah, and in the second rak’ah he may recite the Surah of Al-Munafiqun (the Hypocrites) after reciting Al-Fatihah according to the hadith Imam Muslim related on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him). The imam also may recite the Surah of Al-A’la (the Most High) in the first rak’ah and the Surah of Al-Ghashiyah (the Overwhelming Event) in the second rak’ah. It is also authentically narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) used to recite the Suras of Al-Jumu’ah and Al-Munafiqun in the Jumu’ah (Friday) Prayer and sometimes he (PBUH) recited the Surah of Al-A’la and the Surah of Al-Ghashiyah.

The imam should not divide one Surah of the aforementioned between the two rak’ahs as this is contrary to the Sunnah. The apparent wisdom behind raising the voice while reciting the Noble Qur’an in the Jumu’ah Prayer is that it is more evident and effective for achieving the desired objectives.