A Clarification regarding the Friday Prayer
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I have read that the Islamic Sharī‘ah does not legislate holding two Friday prayers in one locality. Yet, not only do I know of many places that do hold two Friday prayers but also I haven’t found any basis for this opinion. Do you know any justification for this ruling?


To answer your question, I’ll first elaborate upon a few points:

According to the Sunnah set by the Prophet (sws), the Friday sermon should be delivered by the head of state and his administrators in their appropriate units, and only they should lead the Friday prayers. However, in case of any legitimate plea on their part, other persons can address and lead the Friday prayers as their authorized representatives.

The implications of this Sunnah are very clear: In Islam, mosques are meant to be the fountainhead of authority. Also, there is a complete negation of theocracy. A person whom the Muslims choose as their leader shall also lead them in worship, eliminating once and for all the division between state and religion. After the Prophet (sws), his Companions solemnly adhered to this Sunnah in the Caliphate they established. However, in later times, when due to their own ill-ways the Muslim rulers could not stand face to face with the public, they themselves handed over the mosques to the ulema. This was one of the most tragic incidents of our history. The result was that religion lost its grace and the state its grandeur.

Now with this background, I come to your question:

Since only state representatives were authorized to deliver the Friday address and lead the Friday prayers, other mosques in the same locality were not given this permission because of the fact that there was no other state representative that was made available to those mosques; this was not by default but by planning. The whole territory was divided such that each locality was assigned an administrator or state representative; he would go the Jamī‘ Masjid (Central Mosque) of his unit and people of other mosques would also gather in that mosque. Other mosques of the same locality, as a consequence, remained closed for Friday prayers.

Today, however, when we are not praying the Friday prayer in its real form, this condition obviously does not apply. Unless a Muslim state itself realizes this responsibility and deputes its representatives to the mosque, there is nothing wrong in holding Friday prayers in various mosques of the same locality or neighbourhood.

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