Is it permissible for brothers who are incarcerated to conduct Jumu'ah on Fridays?
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
If the prisoners are in sufficient numbers for those needed for the Jumu'ah prayer to be valid, then they are obliged to perform Jumu'ah prayer. The Muslim scholars have various opinions concerning the number of people required for the validity of Jumu'ah prayer.
The followers of Imams Shafi'e and Ahmad believe that the Jumu'ah prayer requires forty people. According to Malikiyah twelve people are enough.
Ahnaf are of opinion that three people other than the Imam are sufficient.
Some good ancestors believe that Jumu'ah prayer needs only two persons other than Imam. Imam Ibn Taymiyah supported this opinion and gave preponderance to it. al-Zahiriya believe that if there are two persons including Imam then they are obliged to perform Jumu'ah prayer. Imam Shawkani supported this opinion.
It is evident for us - Allah knows best - that if there are only three persons they have to perform Jumu'ah prayer. But, if they are in prison and not permitted to perform Jumu'ah, or they are not permitted to go out for this prayer, in this case, there is no blame on them since they are among those who have lawful excuses.
Allah knows best.
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