Imam Musa of the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center Explains Fiqh of Friday Prayers
By Adil James, MMNS
Bloomfield–March 29–Imam Musa has begun a weekly class teaching Fiqh on Sunday nights from 7pm to 8pm on various subjects. This past Sunday he taught a small group about the importance of Friday prayers, Salatul Jumuâ€™ah, and discussed the conducting of Friday prayer khutbas by small groups of people who are unable, (sometimes for reasons related to work or school), to attend large gatherings of 40 or more people.
Imam Musa narrated the conclusions of many jurists that at least 40 people were required for Jumuâ€™ah to be valid, or at least 50, but he cautioned that people living in this country frequently are in a position where there are only four or five doctors working in a hospital who are Muslim, or only a few students in a university who are Muslim–fewer than the amount required by prominent jurists such as Imam Abu Hanifa and others.
He explained, however, that several other jurists, from that time also, 1200 years ago, including even a student of Imam Abu Hanifa (Imam Yusuf), argued that in fact it was permissible to conduct Jumuâ€™ah prayers with only four, and some other prominent jurists said three was enough. For example Imam Awzay said three was enough, including the khatib, because he argued this would benefit some small groups of Muslims who live in isolated areas–because Friday prayers is like a weekly â€˜eid, Imam Musa explained.
Less than three, Imam Musa explained, is not sufficient because in Arabic the word jamiâ€™ or group means by definition more than two, therefore the number must be three or above, including the khatib–and he said that in this country such a ruling would solve the problem faced by small groups of Muslims who recognize the importance of Friday prayers but lack numbers.
He discussed also the necessary elements of a jumuâ€™ah khutba, saying that the essential elements of a jumuâ€™ah prayer are contained in the reading by a khatib of Suratul Fatiha with an explanation of its meaning.
But Imam Musa gave several admonitions regarding what should be taught in a khutba, explaining that the imam should praise Allah, admonish righteousness, give one ayah of Qur`an without explanation, and one hadith about any subject. Imam Musa advised that the khatib should be like a doctor or a pharmacist, giving appropriate advice to the listeners based on his knowledge of what difficulties they might face, or what mistakes they might fall into. â€œQur`an is like medicine,â€ he explained.
â€œIf the people are not serious about some things in the religion, talk about those things,â€ he explained.
â€œFit the part of the Qur`an that you read to their condition.â€ There should be one hadith to increase iman, increase religion. â€œIf the people do haram, you can warn them.â€ One hadith about a subject they need, he said.
Imam Musa explained that the khutba should be short–he said Prophet (s) rarely spoke for more than 10 minutes in his khutbas. â€œ5 minutes, 10 minutes maximum,â€ he said.
He explained that Prophet (s) frequently gave khutbas from Qur`an, so for instance he recited Surat Qaf. Then the Sahaba would memorize that.
â€œEvery khutba should remind people to have taqwa–remind them that Allah knows everything in peopleâ€™s hearts.â€
Next week Imam Musa intends to discuss the timing of Salatul Jumuâ€™ah, whether it has to be between dhohr and â€˜asr or whether it can be earlier.