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Archive for January, 2023

Allah says: “O you who have faith! When the call is made for prayer on Friday, hurry toward the remembrance of Allah, and leave all business. That is better for you, should you know. And when the prayer is finished disperse through the land and seek Allah’s grace, and remember Allah greatly so that you may be felicitous. When they sight a deal or a diversion, they scatter off towards it and leave you standing! Say, ‘What is with Allah is better than diversion and dealing, and Allah is the best of providers.'” (Sūrat al-Jumuʿa (62):9-11)

The Qurʾān considers Friday to be a holiday (ʿīd) for the umma, and emphasizes that Islam is unique not only in its message as compared to previous religious communities, but in its rituals as well. Jews and Christians, for example, have their own messages – the Torah and the Bible – and their own sacred days (Saturday and Sunday), but in Sūrat al-Jumuʿa the Qurʾān gives Friday prayers and the day of Friday itself their true significance in the Islamic way of life. From the outside, this is a symbol of Islam’s independence as a religious tradition, while from the inside it is a symbol of unity and harmony. And it is from these considerations and others that the divine call emanates to hasten to the Friday prayer and leave behind whatever it is you are doing, be it amusement, trade, or the other worldly affairs. Hence, the Friday prayer, for some Muslim sects and scholars, is an obligatory practice when its conditions are met.

However, many Muslim scholars consider the presence of an Islamic government and the Just Imam from the Prophetic Household as prerequisites for establishing the Friday prayer. Perhaps this centers on the fact that the Friday prayer serves both a religious and political function, and oppressors should not be allowed to use it to misguide the people and strengthen their own grip on power. It is one of the clearest and most important occasions for which Muslims gather, which the tyrants can take as a popular platform to misguide society. When we study history, we see how the sermons of Friday prayers were used to wage war against Allah’s awliyāʾ, just as the Umayyad dynasty used them to preach against Imam ʿAlī and the Prophet’s Household. Today, we see corrupt scholars turning the Friday sermons into a mouthpiece for the oppressors to the extent that they receive their sermons pre-written from the government itself and take a salary for this!

Friday is a holiday for the Muslims, and it is the foremost day of the week. Its eve (meaning Thursday night) is a night of worship and prayer, in which it is recommended to increase one’s supplication to Allah, occupy oneself with recommended acts of worship, visit graves in remembrance of death, invoke Allah’s mercy upon their occupants, and learn from their fate. This is especially true for the graves of the Imams of Guidance, and the shrine of the Master of Martyrs, Abū ʿAbd Allah al-Ḥusayn. It is also a time to renew one’s pledge with Allah’s Messenger, his Household, and Imam al-Ḥujja, to remain steadfast on the path of the message of Islam. One should also keep in touch with relatives, attend to the poor, and exchange visits with one’s brethren on this noble day. It is also fitting to hold oneself to account on this day and renew one’s resolve to regularly perform righteous deeds and resist deviation and misguidance.

Generally speaking, Friday is not a day for play and diversion, or a day to be occupied with trivial things. Rather, it is an opportunity for the faithful to dedicate their time to worshipping and remembering Allah with the best of deeds, in that the Friday prayer is distinguished by its duties, sermons and social significance. Thus, every believer is tasked with obeying this divine command so long as he does not have a religiously valid reason for not doing so; and as Allah calls every week for the Friday prayer, this duty remains a measure of the unity of the umma and the strength of their faith, in relation to their undertaking this important religious duty.

From the available legal indicators, it is apparent that the position of the Friday prayer leader is an appointment made by the position of General Authority (al-walāyat al-ʿāmma), which belongs to the Just Imam. The order of priority for one who leads the prayer is as follows: The Infallible Imam, his specifically appointed deputy, his general deputy, and in their absence it is permissible to establish Friday prayers with their general permission for one who does not fear doing so, and who is capable of delivering a sermon to the people.

And Allah knows best.

[Adapted from The Laws of Islam]

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yā Laylā

i saw You dancing one day

in Chandni Chowk

and i was never the same again

i knew my father would not approve

You are not important to his business

his culture

his family

his empire

but i didn’t care

because i loved You

the kind of love that keeps one up late at night, burning for connection

and so when push came to shove

we were married

in a ceremony unattended by those from my world

and we had to go far away from where i came from so we could discover deeper levels of our love and commitment to each other

because i chose You

and i would do it all over again

and rededicate my life once more to making You happy

because i can never forget You dancing in Chandni Chowk

for You were the most beautiful

and always will be

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