What Happens at Friday Prayers?

EWI News:

from Shane's Muslim Connect

You’ve seen the news, right? Another suicide bombing today at a Shi'a mosque in Afghanistan. Dozens killed and more injured. How many families reel in despair as you read this? Their lives will never be the same. 

These attacks usually come on Friday, midday, because that’s when the mosque is most crowded. Strategic wickedness, eh?

But what’s with Friday at the mosque? Here’s the most basic look at Friday prayers. 

  • Friday prayers are mandated by the Qur'an in a chapter called Al Jumah, which means "the day of congregation" but also is the Arabic word for Friday!
  • Muslims will tend to bathe, dress up, and present their best selves for Friday prayers.
  • Men are required to attend and women are given the option. In many mosques, there are special, separate areas for women to pray.
  • Muhammad reportedly said that gathering for Friday prayers was equivalent to a year of praying and fasting alone, and prayers prayed at Jumah would be answered and sins forgiven.
  • Friday prayers start with the normal pre-prayer ritual washing.
  • Worshipers line up as usual (though more crowded than usual!) in the mosque for a shortened prayer service, followed by a sermon and another prayer service.
  • The Friday sermon is called khutbah and is usually focused on how to live as a good Muslim (you may recognize Christian counterparts in this humorous article depicting different types of khutbah speakers!).
  • In a Muslim-majority country, Jumah services may be followed by greeting time then enjoying a day off from work. In other places, at least some attendees will rush back to work.

Friday prayers bear many similarities to Christian Sunday worship. Let's remember in prayer those who lost their lives today, the injured, and their families.