For most people, Friday represents the beginning of the weekend. For Muslims, however, Fridays mean more. In the Islamic context, Friday or jummah is the holy day. Not only does the jummah prayer, a special congregational prayer, occur on Friday but it is believed to have other virtues.
In every mosque around the world, Muslims gather for the jummah prayer, as commanded in the following verses of the Qur’an:
O ye who believe! when the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): that is best for you if ye but knew! (9) And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.(10) (Chapter 62, Verse 9 and 10)
Unlike the Jewish Sabbath, for example, Friday is a holy day but Muslims still continue their work as this verse illustrates. This prayer is in the place of the noon prayer (the second of the five daily prayers) and includes a khutbah, or a sermon. The khutbah is given in the language of the majority of the congregants at the mosque. Muslim men are required to attend the jummah prayer. In the United States that means that Muslim men often arrange for the time for the prayer with their employer. In Muslim majority countries, Friday is a day off.
Muslims believe that Friday has many blessings that are underscored in numerous hadith of the Prophet Muhammad. For example, in the following hadith, he emphasizes that dua, supplication, is accepted.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There is such an hour on Friday that if any Muslim makes dua in it, his dua will definitely be accepted.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
In another hadith, he describes why Friday is also believed to be an auspicious day.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Friday is the best of days. It was on this day that Adam (peace be upon him) was created, it was on this day that he was granted entry into Paradise, it was on this day that he was removed from Paradise (which became the cause for man’s existence in this universe, and which is a great blessing), and the day of resurrection will also take place on this day.” (Sahih Muslim)
Thus, the importance of Friday, for Muslims, goes beyond the fact that it marks the end of the week. So, the expression “Thank God It’s Friday” takes on a whole other meaning in the Islamic context.
Have you ever attended a jummah prayer? What was your experience? What is the significance of the holy day in other faith traditions? Please share your comments below.