Q. My question is of three parts:
1. If a person arrives for Jumma and the first azan is called, which salaat is more important or compulsory to be prayed, the two rakaats of nafil or the four sunnah?
2. Is the forbidden times applicable on the day of jumma for performing two rakaats of nafil salaat?
3. If a person arrives for Jumma and the Khutbha is being given, does he perform any salaat or simple sit down and listen to the sermon being given?
A. (1) If a person arrives for juma and the first azan is called, it is more important for him to perform the four sunnah than the two nafil. The reason being that the Sunnah salaah are more important than the nafil (optional ones). However if he has sufficient time, he should perform the two rakaats nafil (Tahiyatul masjid ) first and then perform the four rakaats of sunnah.
(2) The forbidden times are also applicable to the day of Juma as far as the performance of two rakaats nafil (Tahiyatul Masjid ) is concerned. This means that if a person reaches to the mosque for Juma Salaah at a time when the sun is directly above (as in midday) then he must not perform the two rakaats since it is a forbidden time for Salaah.
(3) If a person arrives for Juma and the khutba has already begun he should sit down to listen to the khutba and must not busy himself in the performance of the two rakaats of nafil Salaah. On this topic, there are differences of opinion held by the great scholars of Islam from among the Salafus Saaliheen (pious predecessors). Some of these Imams like Imam Shafi, Ishaq, Imam Ahmad and the jurists from the muhaditheen have stated that when a person enters the masjid on the day of Juma and the Imam is delivering the khutba, it is commendable for him to perform the two rakaats of Tahiyyatul masjid. He should however shorten the two rakaats so that he may listen to the khutba. ( Umdatul Qaari Vol.6 pg. 231).
In contrast to this opinion, other great Imams like Imam Malik, Laith, Imam Abu Hanifa, Sufyan Thawri and the general body of pious predecessors from the Sahabahs and Tabieen have stated that one must not perform the two rakaats when he enters the masjid and the Imam is delivering the khutba, instead, he must sit and listen to the khutba of the Imam. This is also narrated from Umar (R.A.), Uthman (R.A) and Ali (R.A).The reason for this prohibition is that it is essential for one to listen to the khutba of the imam and engaging in the performance of the two rakaats will hinder the person from fulfilling this requirement.( Umdatul Qaari – Commentary of Saheeh Al Bukhari Vol. 6 Pg. 231). This position is the best opinion on this matter according to many scholars, since it is in accordance to the guidelines which the Prophet (S.A.S) has given regarding the Juma Salaah and khutba. In this regard, many traditions have been recorded which show that one must be silent and attentive while the khutba is being delivered.
In order to show the importance of listening to the khutba, Imam Bukhari has fixed a chapter in the book of Juma under the topic ‘The chapter of listening to the khutba’. In this chapter (Baab), he narrated the hadith of Abu Huraira (R.A) which states that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘When it is the day of Juma, the Angels stand by the door of the masjid writing those who come to the masjid, the first then the first (meaning the first, then the second then the third etc.). The likeness of the one who arrives first, is like the one who gives a cow to Allah. Then the one who arrives after, his likeness is like the one who gives a sheep to Allah and then the other is like one who offers a hen to Allah and the other (i.e. the one who arrives last before the khutba) is like the one who offers an egg to Allah. Then, when the Imam comes out to deliver the khutba, the angels close the books and they listen to the khutba’. (Recorded by Imam Bukhari – Kitabul Jum’a (Arabic text) Vol. 1 Pg. 127).
Besides showing the virtues of arriving early for Juma Salaah, the hadith establishes the fact that it is the duty of the one coming for Juma Salaah to listen to the khutba, hence, Imam Bukhari has specifically named the chapter as ‘The chapter of listening to the khutba’. The hadith also shows that even the angels close their books and listen to the khutba of the Imam. At the time of the khutba, they do not engage themselves in any other act of worship. This alone shows the great importance which is attached to the act of ‘listening the khutba’ and not engaging oneself in any other action.
This emphasis is further made in another tradition quoted by Imam Bukhari in his Saheeh. Salman Farsi (R.A) said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) has said, whoever takes a bath on the day of Juma (Friday) and cleans/ purifies himself as much as he can, then uses his oil (hair) or perfumes himself with the scent of his house then proceeds (for the Juma prayer) and does not separate two persons sitting together in the mosque, then prays as much as (Allah has) written for him and remains silent while the Imam is delivering the khutba, his sins between the present and last Friday (Juma) would be forgiven. (Saheeh Al Bukhari (English translation) Chapter – the use of oil for Juma Vol. 2 Pg. 4).
The above tradition establishes the fact that when the Imam is delivering the khutba, those in the congregation must remain silent. The tradition also shows that whoever wishes to perform Salaah should do so in any amount until the Imam begins to deliver the khutba. However, when the khutba begins, one must end his Salaah and listen to the Imam. It is very clear from the tradition that the great virtue highlighted above for the one who goes out for the Juma prayer is only achieved when all the actions are done. These include: taking a bath for Juma, applying oil on one’s body or hair or applying perfume to oneself, proceeding towards the mosque for the Juma prayer, sitting calmly in the gathering and moving through the crowd gracefully to the extent that one does not separate two persons sitting together, engaging oneself in optional Salaah before the khutba and remaining silent when the Imam delivers the khutba.
The hadith indicates that one may continue to perform Nafl Salaah while waiting for the khutba to begin. However, as soon as the Imam starts the Khutba, one must listen to it. This understanding is clearly established from the other tradition of Salman Farsi (R.A) which has been quoted by Imam Bukhari under the chapter of ‘One must not separate two persons sitting together on the day of Juma (in the mosque)’.
In this tradition, Salman (R.A) narrates that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘(having arrived at the mosque) one may perform as much Salaah as he wants. But when the Imam comes out (to deliver the khutba) he remains silent’. (Saheeh Al Bukhari (English translation) Vol. 2 Pg. 15).
It should be noted that one can only comply with the instructions of the Prophet (S.A.S) of ‘being silent when the Imam delivers the khutba’ when he is not engaged in Salaah.
If one is engaged in the performance of the two rakaats of optional Salaah (of Tahiyatul Masjid) when the Imam is delivering the khutba, then it would be impractical for him to be silent for the khutba. Since, he would be engaged in his own recitation for his Salaah. This itself prevents him from being quiet and listening attentively to the khutba. As such one cannot say that he is fulfilling this instruction of the Prophet (S.A.S) when he is engaged in the two rakaats of optional Salaah.
As such, the instruction of the Prophet (S.A.S) that one should be silent for the khutba itself shows that one should not be engaged in the performance of any optional Salaah. This is so important that Imam Bukhari has specifically established an entire chapter for this purpose. In this regard, he (Imam Bukhari) writes, ‘The chapter – One should keep quiet and listen while the Imam is delivering the khutba on a Friday. And if a person says to his companion ‘Be quiet and listen’ even then he is doing something wrong’. (Saheeh Al Bukhari Kitabul Juma).
The above hadith shows clearly that it is necessary for the audience to keep quiet and listen attentively to the khutba.
With respect to the tradition recorded by Imam Bukhari which states that a man came in the masjid while the Prophet (S.A.S) was delivering the khutba and was ordered (by the Prophet) to perform two rakaats, the scholars have given different explanations to that incident. From among these explanations is that it is evident from traditions that the Prophet (S.A.S) paused in his khutba when the man prayed. This tradition is recorded in the Sunan of Dar Qutni from the hadith of Ubaid bin Muhammad Al Abdi from Mu’tamir from his father from Qatada who narrated that Anas (R.A) said, ‘A man entered the masjid and the Prophet (S.A.S) was delivering the khutba. The Prophet (S.A.S) said to him, stand and perform two rakaats. The Prophet (S.A.S) then stopped his khutba until the man completed his Salaah’. (Sunan Dar Qutni Hadith No. 1602 Vol. 2 Pg.12). Although Dar Qutni mentioned that Ubaid bin Muhammad made a mistake in the sanad, he (Dar Qutni) went on to give the correct version of the sanad as narrated by Ahmad bin Hambal from Mu’tamir from his father who said, ‘A man came to the masjid while the Prophet (S.A.S) was delivering the khutba. He said, ‘O so and so, have you performed Salaah’. ‘The man said, ‘No’. The Prophet said, ‘Stand and perform Salaah’. (This is a Mursal sanad which Ahmad bin Hambal has recorded in his Musnad and says that it is sound. (Sunan Dar Qutni Vol. 2 Pg. 13 Hadith No. 1603).
A similar tradition has been recorded by Ibn Abi Shaiba who narrates that Muhammad bin Qais states that when the Prophet (S.A.S) ordered him to perform the two rakaats he withheld from the khutba until he completed his Salaah. (Umdatul Qaari -Sharh Saheeh Al Bukhari Vol. 6 Pg. 232).
Another response which has been given to the tradition quoted by Imam Bukhari is that the Prophet’s order (to the man) to perform two rakaats occurred before he began the khutba. In this regard Imam Nasa’i has specifically mentioned an entire chapter in his Sunan Al Kubra under the title, ‘Chapter of the Performance of Salaah before the khutba’. In this chapter, Imam Nasa’i quotes the tradition from Jabir (R.A) who said that ‘Sulaik Al Ghatfani came to the masjid while the Prophet (S.A.S) was sitting on the Mimbar (pulpit). Sulaik then sat before he performed any Salaah. (Seeing this) the Prophet (S.A.S) said to him, ‘Have you performed two rakaats’. He said, ‘No’. The Prophet (S.A.S) then said, ‘Stand and perform them’. (Umdatul Qaari Vol. 6 Pg. 232).
It is clear from these traditions that while Sulaik performed two rakaats of Salaah, the Prophet (S.A.S) was not engaged in delivering the khutba. It is thus evident that the khutba was not being delivered when the man performed his two rakaats of salaah. When this is the case, it becomes clear that the above tradition cannot be used to prove that one should perform two rakaats when the Imam is delivering the khutba.
It is in this respect, Imam Malik (a.r) has specifically dedicated a chapter in his Mu’atta under the topic, ‘The chapter of being silent on the day of Juma while the Imam is delivering the khutba. (Mu’atta of Imam Malik – Kitabul Juma).
As established before, the general body of the Salafus Saaliheen (pious predecessors) from among the Sahabahs and Tabieen have clearly ruled that one must not perform the two rakaats of optional Salaah while the khutba is in progress. These are from the great scholars and followers of the Prophet (S.A.S) who had full knowledge of the statements and actions of the Prophet (S.A.S). If they knew that such an action was generally allowed, then without any hesitation, they would have ruled in favour of it. After all, they were from among the greatest scholars of hadith ad fiqh.
On the contrary, we see that they have disallowed it and have prohibited a person from engaging in these two rakaats while the Imam is delivering the khutba.
In this regard, Imam Malik has narrated the statement of the great Tabiee Scholar of hadith, Imam Zuhri as saying, ‘ the coming out of the Imam for the khutba stops the Salaah (i.e. prohibits people from performing Salaah) and his speech stops the speech/ talking of the audience’. (Mu’atta of Imam Malik Kitabul Juma Pg. 88 Arabic text).
Similarly, Ibn Abi Shaiba has recorded in his Musannaf that Ali, Abdullah bin Abbas and Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) used to dislike that one engage himself in Salaah or speaking after the Imam has come out for the khutba. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaiba – Nasbur Ra’yah Vol. 2 Pg.210). He (Ibn Abi Shaiba) has also narrated that Urwa said, ‘When the Imam sits on the Mimbar (for the khutba) there is no Salaah’. He narrates from Zuhri ‘that he (Zuhri) said that a man who comes for Juma while the Imam is delivering the khutba should sit and must not perform Salaah. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaiba – Nasbur Ra’yah Vol. 2 Pg. 210).
Qazi Iyadh has stated that Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman (R.A) used to stop people from Salaah at the time of the khutba. (Umdatul Qaari- Commentary of Saheeh Al Bukhari Vol. 6 Pg. 232).
It is narrated that Abu Qilaba (R.A) came for Juma Salaah while the Imam was delivering the khutba and he did not perform any Salaah. Instead, he sat in order to listen to the khutba. (Umdatul Qaari Vol. 6 Pg. 232). It is also narrated from the companion Uqba bin Amir (R.A) that he said, ‘To perform Salaah while the Imam is on the mimbar (delivering the khutba) is a sin’. (Umdatul Qaari Vol. 6 Pg.232). it is narrated from Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘When one of you comes (for Juma) and the Imam is on the mimbar (delivering the khutba) there is no Salaah and there is no speaking’. (Umdatul Qaari Vol. 6 Pg. 232).
All the above quotations show that when a person arrives at the masjid and the Imam is delivering the khutba, then he should not busy himself in performing the two rakaats Salaah of Tahiyyatul masjid. Instead, he should be silent and listen attentively to the khutba. This instruction has been given by the Prophet (S.A.S) with a command and occupies the position of being essential. The performance of the two rakaats on the other hand has the ruling of being optional and commendable and hence cannot take priority above that which is known to be essential. In other words, performance of the two rakaats of Salaah will not take precedence over the act of listening to the Khutba when both have come together at the same time. Instead, listening to the khutba which is essential will take priority above the performance of the two rakaats which is optional / commendable. The performance of the two rakaats of optional / commendable Salaah will bring about an interruption in the fulfillment of an essential act.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan