Jum’ah

Muslims are a faith-based community. Friday has a very special significance for them. The Prophet's migration to Madinah represents a turning point in the history of Islam. It heralds the founding of the Muslim community, the establishing of a society and a state on the foundations of Islamic principles and values and the induction of the Islamic Ummah as the upholders of the Divine Message and its witnesses unto Mankind. 

On the fifth day of the Prophet's advent in Madinah the institution of (Friday) Prayer was established by the Prophet, who led the first Jum’ah Prayer at the habitat of Banu Salim ibn ‘Awf on the way from Quba to Madinah. Ever since Jum’ah has remained a key Islamic institution, providing the community an occasion for collective congregation, consultation and consolidation. 

Prayers five times a day are offered in congregation (Jama1 ah) in every mosque in a locality but if one misses the congregation, the obligatory prayer can be offered individually. Not the Jum’ah Prayer. It can be offered only in congregation and as such is a permanent institution in its own right. Jum’ah provides an opportunity for all the people in a wider locality/habitation/city to gather together once every week to listen to the Khutbah and pray in congregation. It is offered only in the form laid down by the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Azhan, call for the Prayer, Khutbah, address by the Imam who leads the Prayer, and two Rak'ah Prayer in congregation with the Imam's recitation of Fatihah and some Ay at from the Qur'an in an audible voice constitute its main ingredients. The timings of the prayer is as that of Zuhr every day; but unlike the four obligatory rak 'ah in Zuhr, Jumu 'ah Prayer has only two obligatory rak 'ah preceded by Khutbah given in two parts. These consist of hamd wa thana’ (pronouncement of Allah's Greatness), salawat wa salam (invoking peace and blessings on the Prophet), Shahadah (declaration of faith in Allah and His Prophet), remembrance of Allah, advice to the Muslims, sharing the message and meaning of Islam and its obligations, and supplications for the welfare of the Muslims. Khutbah and Salah are essential and inalienable parts of what has been called Dhikr Allah (Allah's remembrance) in the context of Salah al-Jum’(ah (al-Jum’ah 62: 9-10). In fact Khutbah in two parts is the substitute for the two rak'ah waived in this prayer. 

While every Salah is Allah's Dhikr (remembrance), the uniqueness of Jum’ah has at least three aspects:

First, it represents a built-in arrangement for the education of the Muslims. Salah is preceded by Khutbah, whose purpose is to teach and educate the people in the meaning and message of Islam, to awaken their moral consciousness, increase their understanding of din, reflect upon the situation in which Muslims find themselves, share among themselves their concerns, aspirations and obligations towards each other and to humanity at large. There is an integral linkage between Khutbah and Salah, which sharpens the spiritual experience of the Salah and strengthens one's relationship with Allah and the Umrnah. 

Second, it provides the members of every community an opportunity to get together, meet and know each other better, share concerns and become more integrated and solidified. It is a powerful instrument for socialisation and cultivation of community life. The feeling of brotherhood and of oneness of the Ummah is strengthened. It also provides a forum for consultation (Shura) at the level of a locality and wider habitat.

Third, Jum’ah represents the ethos of Islam par excellence. This is a day for special prayers and remembrance of Allah. The preparations for the prayer are part of the culture of the Jum’ah. When the call for prayer is made, all business and worldly activities have to be stopped until the prayer is over. Listening to the Khutbah is obligatory, an inseparable part of the collective prayer and congregation. Any other activity is forbidden until the prayer is concluded. After the prayer, one is free to go back to one's business or continue other activities one is involved in. It is not a day to remain idle as in some other religions. Yet, whatever activity one is engaged in, Allah's remembrance is to be the guiding light. It disciplines the community to respond to the call, fulfil the obligation of collective dhikr, re-enter the business of life with full consciousness of what is good and as such to be pursued, and what is wrong and as such to be avoided. This is to be the model for the entire life of a Muslim and for an Islamic society.

Life and its challenges have to be met, but met in a manner that conforms to the values and principles of Islam. That is what Allah's dhikr means and implies. Spiritual and material, moral and mundane go together. There is no conflict or contradiction between the two. If our mundane life is permeated with the spirit of Allah's remembrance, it becomes part of 'Ibadah. This leads to the spiritualisation of the entire realm of human existence. That is what Islam aims at, not dividing life into components of this-worldly and that-worldly, of religious and secular, but making them one integrated whole. Jumu 'ah is the symbol of this distinct Islamic approach to life and the way its problems have to be faced.

The Khutbah of Jumu 'ah is a unique Islamic institution. It represents a process through which the battery of Iman is regularly charged and the current of Islamic life strengthened. The Prophet used the Friday Khutbah to convey his message to the people, to awaken their Iman, to arouse them to good deeds and to inspire them to live a life in the service of Allah and His creation. His Friday discourses used to be brief, to the point and full of light and guidance. Unfortunately, in many parts of the Muslim world this role of the Khutbah of Jum’ah has been marginalised or even lost. There is a need to revive the original spirit and role of the Friday congregation.

This website has intended to produce a set of discourses that could become the basis for discourses on the occasion of Jum’ah congregations. This small collection of Khutubat  are based on Mawlana Feizel Chothia’s Jum’ah lectures in Perth, Western Australia. They cover a wide range of subjects, all directed towards one theme of imbibing the true message of Islam, lifting our hearts to attain communion with our Creator, becoming conscious of our role as Muslims and preparing ourselves to think, live and strive as good Muslims.

Many Islamic concepts and fundamental values have been discussed with precision and depth. These also cover some of the special occasions and events that characterise Islamic life, e.g. Hijrah, 'Idayn, Ramadan, the Battle of Badr, etc. They are also geared to motivate one to learn more and strive to attain newer spiritual heights in order to fulfil our responsibilities.

May Allah give us all Tawfiq to live by His call and to follow the Sunnah of our Leader and Prophet (peace be upon him).

 

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