I organize Jummah Prayers at my University in Canada. Within the time for Dhur we usually do 2 Jummahs to best accommodate students. However every year. We get about 25-30 students that are unable to make it to both Jummahs due to classes or a lab that span the time for both. The idea of making a 3rd Jummah comes up which divides our Muslim Students' Associaton (MSA) team. Some are for it and some are against. Is it permissible to have a 3rd Jummah on the basis of this excuss (classes).
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, is His slave and Messenger.
If the students in reference are temporarily residing in this country for the purpose of study and will return to their homelands after the completion of their studies, then they are considered temporary residents and not permanent ones. According to the opinion of the majority of scholars, one of the conditions for the validity of the Jumu‘ah (Friday) prayer is that it should be held by permanent residents. Therefore, temporary residents should join the Jumu‘ah prayer held by the permanent residents, not perform it independently.
The Fatwa of the Permanent Committee reads: “According to the mass majority of the scholars, permanent residence of the worshippers is one of the conditions for the validity of holding the Jumu‘ah prayer. There is no difference of opinion in this regard, except for an odd opposing opinion that is unworthy of consideration.” [End of Quote]
Therefore, it is invalid that they hold the Jumu‘ah prayer independently on their own, neither a first Jumu‘ah, nor a second, nor a third. If they are unable to attend the Jumu‘ah prayer (held by the permanent residents), they should perform it as a Thuhr prayer instead.
However, if they are permanent residents of this country, then the basic principle is that it is forbidden to hold multiple Jumu‘ah prayers without a valid necessity or need, such as tightness of the place where the prayer is held. We have previously explained in several Fataawa that it is not permissible to hold multiple Jumu‘ah prayers in the same town according to the view of the majority of scholars. Al-Mawsoo‘ah Al-Fiqhiyyah reads:
“According to the majority of jurists, it is impermissible to hold two Jumu‘ah prayers in one town except for a necessity, such as the case when the mosque is not spacious enough to accommodate all the worshippers, because the Prophet and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs after him used to hold only one Jumu‘ah prayer. The Hanafi scholars, on the other hand, held that it is absolutely permissible to hold multiple Jumu‘ah prayers in the same town, regardless of whether there is a necessity or not.” [End of Quote]
Ibn Qudaamah said in Al-Mughni:
“In the absence of need, it is not permissible to hold more than one Jumu‘ah prayer. If holding two (Jumu‘ah prayers) is adequate (to accommodate all the worshippers), it is impermissible to hold a third one, and the same applies to what is beyond that...” [End of Quote]
Accordingly, this means that if holding two Jumu‘ah prayers is not sufficient to accommodate all the worshippers, it is permissible to hold a third one.
Since it is forbidden to hold multiple Jumu‘ah prayers in the same town, then it is forbidden to hold them in the same mosque with greater reason, and this is the basic principle in this regard. In fact, we believe that holding multiple Jumu‘ah prayers in the same mosque without a valid need, as many Muslims do in Western countries, is blameworthy and is not prescribed by the Sharee‘ah. We did not find any statement of the early scholars about holding multiple Jumu‘ah prayers in the same mosque for a need in the first place. The Permanent Committee issued its Fatwa that holding multiple Jumu‘ah prayers in one mosque for a need is not prescribed (in the Sharee‘ah). Rather, the other Jumu‘ah prayer should be held in another mosque.
Our view is that if there is a valid necessity or need, then there is nothing wrong with holding a second Jumu‘ah prayer in the same mosque, as there is no difference between holding it in one mosque or different ones, especially in Western countries, where there aren’t many mosques to start with. If it is permissible to hold a second Jumu‘ah prayer for a need, then there is nothing wrong with holding a third one for the same need if holding the second one was not sufficient to accommodate all the worshippers. However, the need to attend the lectures should be further investigated. If the students can arrange with the university administration to change the time of their classes so that they do not conflict with the time of attending the Jumu‘ah prayer or to repeat the lectures for the absent students, or if they can listen to a recording of the lectures, for example, and the students would be excused for their absence, then, in this case, there would be no need to hold a third Jumu‘ah prayer. If none of these options is feasible and the students must attend the lectures or else it would harm them, then we believe that there is nothing wrong with holding a third Jumu‘ah prayer under those circumstances, even though it would be invalid according to the Shaafi’i and Hanbali schools because they consider the attendance of forty worshippers – who are obliged to attend the Jumu‘ah prayer as per the Sharee‘ah – as a condition for its validity. According to these two schools of Fiqh, the number of students mentioned in the question (25-30) is not enough to hold a valid Jumu‘ah prayer.
Allah Knows best.
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