Q. I have a couple of questions about the Jumu`a prayer. How many prayers are there before and after the Fard (besides the salah on entering the masjid)?

Also, someone said to me that the reason the Prophet told a Muslim to get up and pray while the khutba was being delivered was because the bloke was poor, and the Prophet wanted the audience to see his condition and help him out. However, in his opinion, one should not pray the masjid prayer while the khutba is being delivered. What's your take on this?

A. As far as the amount of rakaats, there is no limit in terms of how much can be done before the Jumu`a prayer. However, it seems that the Prophet did those at home, for the mosque is not the place for prayers except the fard and sunna. Even with the sunna, we are not sure that they were all done in the mosque, as we run into the problem of doing things for show. Usually it is two prayers before, two after the fard for Jumu`a, and another two. The last two are generally done at home. All prayers except for witr and fard, are done in twos. There is no basis for the four rakaat sunna that some brothers perform. It is an attempt to deny Allah's generosity. They are trying to replace the Zuhr. This is not required, and as I said, denies Allah's mercy to us.

Regarding the masjid prayer, there is a hadith which has been much maligned in terms of its authenticity. It is one of the hadith which I, while also challenging its provenance, do not find problems with in terms of its good intention. The hadith is: "Whoever lies about me intentionally, let him take his place in the hell fire." Now, regarding the person who told you this thing about the Prophet and the guy whom he ordered to make the prayer, the hadith is there. Such interpretation of hadith without supporting evidence, as far as the eisegesis about the bloke being poor, etc. in order to change the clear meaning of a hadith, is absolutely haraam especially with regard to the salah. This is clearly a tendentious interpolation to justify his Hanafite position on the prayer.

The matter is quite simple, the two rakaats are called "tahiyyat al masjid." If one has entered and performed the rakaats prior to the imam entering, then obviously he is exempt. Remember too that the sunna is that there are no two adhans for Friday. The adhan is given, the imam gives the khutba, and that is the end. Khutba and prayer are not the same, and therefore a prayer takes precedence over the khutba in this case. Obviously, if the imam started the jumu`a prayer, then any other prayer would not be valid simply because of the rule: "If the prayer (communal / fard) has commenced, then there is no other prayer except that one."

Posted January 11, 1999