What are the conditions of Salat al-Jumah, and where it is accepted?
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.
The prerequisites of the Jumu’ah prayer are of three kinds:
1. Conditions that are compulsory for the validity of the Jumu’ah prayer and which, if met, the Jumu’ah becomes obligatory.
2. Conditions which if present, the Jumu’ah prayer becomes obligatory.
3. Conditions that are compulsory for the validity of the Jumu’ah prayer.
The first kind of these conditions when they exist the Jumu’ah becomes obligatory and are also compulsory for the validity of the prayer are three in number. One of them is generally accepted while the other two are not.
The first condition is the beginning of the prescribed time of the prayer. All the Muslim scholars agree that if one is certain that the specific time of the prayer has started, he may perform the Jumu’ah prayer otherwise his prayer becomes null.
The time of the Jumu’ah prayer is the same as the time of Thuhr prayer – according to the opinion of the majority of the Muslim scholars. The Hanbali School of jurisprudence is of the opinion that the time of the Jumu’ah prayer begins with the rising of the sun. They also agree that performing it after noon is desirable.
The Muslim scholars hold various opinions concerning the two other conditions:
1. The place where the Jumu’ah prayer should be performed: The Hanafi scholars are of the opinion that the Jumu’ah prayer should be performed only in the city. They believe that this condition is compulsory for the validity of this prayer and this is also a condition, which makes the prayer obligatory.
By city, they mean the city which is under the control of a Muslim ruler or his deputy. The same ruling applies to those villages and outskirts, which are near to such cities.
Other Muslim scholars do not stipulate this condition in this form.
The Shaafi’i School of jurisprudence stipulate that the Jumu’ah should be performed in residential areas regardless of whether they are in cities or villages. The Maaliki School of jurisprudence is also of similar opinion. They say that the Jumu’ah should be performed in a place, which is appropriate, for settling, such as residential areas which are established for permanent living. But if they are not so, and they are made only for temporary residences then the Jumu’ah should not be performed in such places.
The Hanbali School of jurisprudence does not stipulate any conditions. They believe wherever a prayer can be performed, the Jumu’ah also should be performed.
The preponderant opinion is that performing the Jumu’ah prayer in any place where there is a group of Muslims is permissible. The linguistic meaning of Jumu’ah is gathering; thus, this meaning supports the last opinion. The requirement of a city for the validity of the Jumu’ah is not correct; so performing it in villages or towns is permissible. Imam al-Bukhari entitled a chapter in his Saheeh saying: To offer the Salatul-Jumu’ah in villages and towns.' Then, he reported the Hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbas who said: "The first Jumu’ah prayer after the Jumu’ah prayer at the mosque of Allah's Messenger was offered in the mosque of the tribe of 'Abdul Qays at Jawatha in Bahrain."
Imam Ibn Hajar wrote in explanation of this Hadeeth: “This Hadeeth proves that the tribe of 'Abdul Qays did not perform the Jumu’ah prayer except when the Prophet had ordered them. Because the companions of the Prophet Muhammad always used to follow his orders and they never did anything from their own as far as religious matters are concerned. If performing prayers in villages was not correct, the Quran would have revealed that ….” [End of quote]
Abu Hurayrah narrated that some people wrote to ‘Umar asking him about the Jumu’ah prayer, and he replied to them “You should perform the Jumu’ah prayer wherever you are living.” [Ibn Abu Shaybah and Ibn Khuzaymah, who said this is a sound narration]
Imam Ibn Hajar said 'Umar, may Allaah pleased with him, did not differentiate between cities and villages.” There are many other narrations from the companions of the Prophet and their immediate followers that prove they performed the Jumu’ah prayer in villages as well as in cities.
2. Approval of the Muslim ruler for the performance of the Jumu’ah.
This condition is stipulated only by the Hanafi School of jurisprudence. No other school of Fiqh stipulates this condition. The Maaliki School of jurisprudence is of the view that taking a ruler's permission is desirable. But if he does not permit it and the Muslims do not expect any harm from him, then performing the Jumu’ah becomes obligatory on them without his permission.
Anyway, there is no evidence from the Quran or Hadeeth supporting this opinion.
Second, the pre-conditions that make the Jumu’ah obligatory are contained in these five points:
1. Taking permanent or temporary residence in a place; i.e., the person is not on a journey.
2. This prayer is an obligation on males only. Women are not ordered to perform it.
3. This prayer is compulsory for free male persons. Slaves are exempted from this obligation since they engage themselves in serving their masters.
4. Illness or hardship (for praying in the mosque) exempts a person from this obligation. Also, exempt is the person taking care of a very ill person who can not manage himself without his assistance.
The evidence for these conditions is the Hadeeth narrated from Taariq Ibn Shihab that The Prophet said: "The Friday prayer in congregation is a necessary obligation for every Muslim, with four exceptions: a slave, a woman, a boy, and a sick person." [Abu Dawood]
Imam al-Bayhaqi and ad-Daruqutni reported that the prophet said: "The Jumu’ah Prayer is compulsory on every Muslim who believes in Allah and in the Last Day except a sick, a woman, a child, a slave, and a traveler."
5. Those who suffer from physical disabilities such as senility, blindness etc. If a blind man has someone who can lead him to the mosque, then praying in the mosque becomes obligatory on him.
The conditions required for other prayers are also required for the Jumu’ah prayer, such as being Muslim, adult, sane, etc.
Third, the prerequisites which are compulsory for the validity of the Jumu’ah prayer.
1. Khutbah (Friday sermon) should be delivered before the prayer. It should also contain Allah's praise, His Remembrance, and guidance for Muslims.
2. There is no disagreement among the scholars that a congregation is a necessary condition for the validity of the Jumu’ah prayer.
They disagree concerning the number of persons which are required for the performance of the Jumu’ah prayer. There are three known opinions in this matter.
A. The Shaafi’i and Hambali School of jurisprudence hold the opinion that at least forty persons for whom praying Jumu’ah is compulsory should be present for praying Jumu’ah.
B. The Maaliki School of jurisprudence is of the opinion that at least twelve persons who are obliged to perform the Jumu’ah should be present.
C. The Hanafi School of jurisprudence is of the view that three persons in addition to the Imam are enough for praying the Jumu’ah prayer.
There are many other opinions, but these opinions have no basis according to the Quran and the Sunnah.
The existence of a group of Muslims is enough for praying the Jumu’ah Prayer.
3. The majority of the Muslim scholars held the opinion that the Jumu’ah prayer should not be held in more than one mosque in one area unless there is a reasonable necessity.
4. The Hanafi School of jurisprudence also stipulate that the place where the Jumu’ah is performed should be open for all Muslims; i.e., no one should be hindered from entering that place. We mention here a brief description of all the conditions which have been stipulated by the scholars. There is disagreement regarding some of these conditions. Some scholars stipulate other conditions also. In fact, all these conditions have no weight except those which are proved through the Quran, the Hadeeth or the consensus of Muslim scholars; otherwise the Jumu’ah prayer is like other obligatory prayers concerning its rulings.
Allah knows best.
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