The 85th Call: Procession to the Remembrance of Allah on the Day of Jumu’ah
Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): “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. And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed. But when they saw a transaction or a diversion, [O Muhammad], they rushed to it and left you standing. Say, “What is with Allah is better than diversion and than a transaction, and Allah is the best of providers.”’ (Surat al-Jumu’ah: 9-11)
Almighty Allah urges the believers to leave selling and buying in order to proceed calmly and quietly to mosques when the Mu’adhin calls to the noon prayer on the Day of Jumu’ah to listen to the sermon of the Imam and perform the prayer in congregation. This procession to prayer is better for believers than the pleasures of their temporary life, and this is only useful to those who have the true useful knowledge.
The Messenger of Allah said: "When you hear the iqama, go to the prayer and you should be tranquil and dignified. Do not hurry. Pray as much as you catch and complete anything you have missed." (Narrated by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim from Abu Hurirah, may Allah be pleased with him)
When you perform prayer, disperse to resume your worldly affairs and ask Allah to give you lawful sustenance. Remember Allah and mention His name a lot while you buy, sell and do your transactions. Do not let the world keep you busy from what is beneficial to you in the Hereafter. Indeed, if you do so you will garner success and attain the contentment of Allah and His great rewards.
A trade caravan had arrived at the same time when the Prophet was giving the Jumu’ah sermon, and the moment people learned of this, they left the mosque to take part in the music and entertainment that traditionally accompanied a caravan's arrival, leaving Allah’s Messenger giving a sermon on the pulpit of the mosque. According to some reports, only 12 of the Prophet's Companions, including Abu Bakr and 'Umar, remained listening to his sermon. So, Almighty Allah sent down this verse to admonish the believers for leaving the sermon of the Jumu’ah prayer for the trade caravan.
The meaning of the verses is that some believers leave Allah’s Messenger while he is giving the Khutbah, sermon, in the mosque if they see a trade caravan. So, Allah tells the Messenger to tell those people that the reward that Allah has for them is better than the transactions and diversions in this worldly life. Allah is the Best of Providers, so proceed to the prayer and ask Allah for sustenance. You will never miss any sustenance if you stayed to listen to the Khutbah.
Friday Prayer is a weekly prayer that must be offered in congregation. It cannot be offered by anyone on his own. Muslims meet in Friday Prayer and listen to a sermon that reminds them of their duties towards Allah. We can say that it is an organizational prayer, following the Islamic method of preparing for this Life and the life to come together by the same measures and the same acts of worship. Friday Prayer gives a clear and specific impression of the nature of the Islamic faith and the Muslim community.
There are many ahadith that speak of the value, importance and special position of this prayer, encouraging its observation after preparing for it by undertaking specific cleanliness and purification rituals. Ibn 'Umar quotes the Prophet as saying: "When any of you wishes to attend Friday, he should take a bath.” [Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.]
Aws ibn Aws quotes the Prophet as saying: "Whoever washes himself and takes a bath on Friday, going out early, walking to the mosque rather than riding, draws close to the imam, listens and refrains from idle talk, will be rewarded for each step the equivalent of fasting and observing night prayer for a whole year." [Related by al-Nasa'i, Abu Dawud, al¬Tirmidhi and lbn Majah.]
Imam Ahmad reports on the authority of Abu Ayyiib al-Ansari that he heard the Prophet saying: "Whoever takes a bath on Friday, wears a touch of perfume if he has it, puts on some of his best clothes, goes out to the mosque where he offers voluntary prayers if he so wishes, doing no harm to anyone, listens to the imam when he delivers his sermon and then joins the prayer, all his sins between that prayer and the Friday before it will be forgiven."
The first verse in this section orders Muslims to leave off all business once they hear the call to prayer: “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.” (Verse 9) It provides encouragement for so abandoning anything related to the life of this world and its concerns: “That is better for you, if you only knew.” (Verse 9) This suggests that leaving off trade and business was not easy; it required such encouragement. Moreover, it provides good and repeated education. Every now and then, people need a period of time when they free themselves from their preoccupation with earning a living and the attractions of worldly life. They need such periods when they can be in close contact with their Lord, glorifying Him and experiencing the happiness resulting from dedication to His service. They need to fill their hearts and lungs with the pure, clean and refreshing air that comes with such dedication.
When they have done so, they can then return to their business, continuing to remember Allah: “And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” (Verse 10) The Islamic system provides a perfect balance between the needs of life on earth, with all that it requires of work and effort, and the need to be away from all this for a short while to attend to worship. Time spent away from the preoccupations of this life is necessary to keep the heart alive. Without it, it cannot live up to the great trust Allah has given us and nor can it fulfill its duties. It is important to remember Allah while we are busy earning our living, for such remembrance transforms our work activities into acts of worship. Nevertheless, we need such shore periods of complete dedication to worship, as clearly implied in the last two verses.
Some of the rules and ethics that scholars deduced from these verses are:
1- The rank of Al-Jumu’ah prayer and the status of Friday, and the warning against not praying al-Juma’ah.
There are hadiths in this regard such as the hadith narrated by Muslim, Abud Dawoud and al-Nisai’ from Abu Hurirah that Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, said: “The best day during which the sun have 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.”
Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari narrated from Abu Hurirah that he heard the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, saying: "We (Muslims) came last and yet we are the first on the day of judgment. They have received the books before us (meaning Torah and the Gospel). We have received the book after them (meaning the Qur’an). Friday was their day to be glorified. However, they disputed on that while Allah had told us Friday is the day to glorify. Thus they will follow us. The Jews glorify Saturday, and the Christians glorify Sunday."
Also, Abu Hurairah and Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that they heard the Messenger of Allah say while he was on his pulpit, "Let those people (who do not attend the Friday prayers) stop from leaving the Friday (prayers), otherwise, Allah would set a seal upon their hearts, and they would become from amongst the negligent."
A summary of what al-Qurtubi said is that Friday is called al-Jumu’ah, i.e. the gathering, because it is a day when people gather for prayer, but in the past it used to be called al-Arobah Day.
Al-Baihaqi said that Musa ibn Oqbah narrated from Ibn Shehab al-Zahri that Mus’ab ibn Omair was the first to gather the Muslims for al-Jumu’ah in al-Madinah before the hijrah of the Messenger, Peace Be upon Him.
Al-Qurtubi said: As for the first Jumu’ah prayer that the Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, prayed with His companions, the scholars of history and biographies say that the Messenger, PBUH, immigrated to Madinah and He settled in Qiba’ of Bani Amr ibn Awf on Monday, the twelfth of the month of Rabi’ al-Awal. It was a hot noon, from this year the Hejrah Calendar started, the Prophet stayed in Qiba’ till Thursday. He established Qiba’ Mosque then he went out in Madinah on Friday where he reached Bani Salem ibn Awf where they live in a valley, he gathered them and gave a sermon which is considered the first one He gave in Madinah. He said: Al-Hamdulilah, I thank Him, seek His help, His forgiveness and His guidance…
2- The verse commands the believers to go to pray al-Jumu’ah upon hearing the call to prayer, but there are multiple hadiths encouraging the Muslims to go early to pray al-Jum’ah, and prepare before that by bathing, putting on Misk, i.e. perfume, and going there in the best look and clothes.
The prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said, "If one washes himself and then went to Friday Prayer, it is considered as if he donated a camel for the sake of Allah. However, If he went in the second hour then it is considered as if he donated a cow and if the third hour then as if he donated a big sheep and if the fourth hour then as if he donated a chicken and if the fifth hour then as if he donated an egg. Then when the Imam starts delivering the speech the angels come and listen to it." Also in anther authentic hadith reported by Imam Abu-Dawod that the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said, "On Friday the angels come to stand on the doors of the mosque (masjid), the angels record who comes first, if the Imam starts delivering the speech, the angles close their files and come to listen to the speech."
Ibn Masou’d said that he heard the Prophet, PBUH, saying: "The people will be seated on the day of resurrection according to how they came to the salatul Jumu'ah: the first, then the second, then the third, then the fourth and the fourth of four is not far from Allah."' This is related by Ibn Majah and al-Munzhiri.
Imam Muslim and Bukhari reported that the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said, "Every Muslim is obligated to wash on Fridays and wear his best cloth. Also, he should use perfume if he has any."
3- The scholars deduced a rule from the verse: “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…” The rule is that Jumu’ah Prayer is an obligation and proceeding to perform it is a requirement, so it is religiously unlawful to abandon Jumu’ah prayer.
It is known among scholars that this matter is obligated unless there is an exception, and there is no exception mentioned here.
Imam Qurtubi says: Almighty Allah obligates every Muslim to perform Jumu’ah prayer. He answers those who claim it is a collective obligation (fard Kifayah), and some Shafi’ scholars who are reported to rate Jumu’ah prayer as a Sunnah. The majority of scholars say it is an individual duty (Fard Ayn) which means it is has to be performed by each Muslim individual. This is based on the verse: “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…”
Reported by Imam Muslim, Ahmad and An-Nesaii, "Let those people (who do not attend the Friday prayers) stop from leaving the Friday (prayers), otherwise, Allah would set a seal upon their hearts, and they would become from amongst the negligent." In another authentic hadith reported by Abu Dawod, Termithi, An-Nesaii, and Ibn-Majah, that the prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, "Whoever does not attend three Friday prayers, (without a valid excuse) Allah will set a seal on his heart"
This is another clear evidence of the obligation to perform Jumu’ah Prayer. Some scholars say: In the noble verse there is an obligation in the command to proceed to Jumu’ah, hence praying Jumu’ah is obligatory too. Scholars deduced that Jumu’ah prayer is obligatory from this command because Almighty Allah mentions it in order, i.e. proceeding to the remembrance of Allah after hearing the call to prayer. So, it is quite obvious that the remembrance of Allah in the verse is the Jumu’ah prayer, and if proceeding towards something is obligatory, then performing it is obligatory too.
If the remembrance of Allah means the sermon, then it means that praying is obligatory as well because the sermon is required for the Jumu’ah prayer and He commands Muslims to proceed to it.
It is forbidden to be busy with selling and buying when the prayer is called for, because it is obligatory to go and pray. Some say, it is a disliked act but in the same level as prohibited.
The prophetic sayings prove that praying Jumu’ah is obligatory, proceeding towards the mosque is required, and being busy with trading during the Jumu’ah prayer is forbidden. In the hadiths the Prophet, PBUH, commands Muslims to adhere to praying Jumu’ah and warns against abandoning this obligation. On the authority of the Prophet's Companion Abu Ja’d Ad-Dameery (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet said, "[For] whoever leaves three Jumu’ah prayers out of negligence, Allah will seal his heart."
Allah 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 reflects very clearly the tolerance, kindness and mildness of Islam for letting the Muslim seek the needs of the present life and also those of the Hereafter.
Even though this is a permission to disperse after praying, yet some early Muslims used to leave the mosque after the prayer ends, and walk in the market for an hour then they would go back to the mosque to pray as much as they want.
Ibn Kathir said when Arak ibn Malik, one of the prominent early Muslims, finished praying Jumu’ah he used to stand by the door of the mosque and say: O Allah, I answered Your call and performed the obligatory prayer and I dispersed from the mosque as You commanded me, so provide for my sustenance from Your bounty, You are the Best Sustainer (of our needs).
There are other rules that the scholars of Tafsir and Fiqh discussed extensively, and you can refer to them if you need to know more about those rules and ethics.