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Islamic researcher, graduated from Al-Azhar University, Islamic Studies in the English language. I also studied at Temple University in the US.
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In a Nutshell:
There are two juristic positions concerning the validity of the jummua prayer in the absence of the Sultan or Caliph. The Hanafi madhab required the Sultan's attendance or that of his approved representative and was invalid without either. The other schools of law did not require this condition and argued the jummua prayer would remain valid.


Juristic Analysis

There are two views on this matter:

1. The Hanafis

The Hanafi jurists cite the following evidences to support their view:

The jummua prayer was revealed in Medina and not in Mecca and the practice of Muslims over a millennium in Islamic history

This is supported by the hadith of the Prophet (saw) who said:

"There is no jummua without the Imam."

And

عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ خَطَبَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فَقَالَ " يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَمُوتُوا وَبَادِرُوا بِالأَعْمَالِ الصَّالِحَةِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تُشْغَلُوا وَصِلُوا الَّذِي بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ رَبِّكُمْ بِكَثْرَةِ ذِكْرِكُمْ لَهُ وَكَثْرَةِ الصَّدَقَةِ فِي السِّرِّ وَالْعَلاَنِيَةِ تُرْزَقُوا وَتُنْصَرُوا وَتُجْبَرُوا وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدِ افْتَرَضَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْجُمُعَةَ فِي مَقَامِي هَذَا فِي يَوْمِي هَذَا فِي شَهْرِي هَذَا مِنْ عَامِي هَذَا إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَنْ تَرَكَهَا فِي حَيَاتِي أَوْ بَعْدِي وَلَهُ إِمَامٌ عَادِلٌ أَوْ جَائِرٌ اسْتِخْفَافًا بِهَا أَوْ جُحُودًا بِهَا فَلاَ جَمَعَ اللَّهُ لَهُ شَمْلَهُ وَلاَ بَارَكَ لَهُ فِي أَمْرِهِ أَلاَ وَلاَ صَلاَةَ لَهُ وَلاَ زَكَاةَ لَهُ وَلاَ حَجَّ لَهُ وَلاَ صَوْمَ لَهُ وَلاَ بِرَّ لَهُ حَتَّى يَتُوبَ فَمَنْ تَابَ تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ أَلاَ لاَ تَؤُمَّنَّ امْرَأَةٌ رَجُلاً وَلاَ يَؤُمَّنَّ أَعْرَابِيٌّ مُهَاجِرًا وَلاَ يَؤُمَّ فَاجِرٌ مُؤْمِنًا إِلاَّ أَنْ يَقْهَرَهُ بِسُلْطَانٍ يَخَافُ سَيْفَهُ وَسَوْطَهُ – ابن ماجة 1/343، والبيهقي 3/244
Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra) narrated the Messenger of Allah (saw) delivered a sermon to us and said: O people! ... Know that Allah has enjoined Friday upon you in this place of mine, on this day, in this month, in this year, until the Day of Resurrection. Whoever abandons it, whether during my lifetime or after I am gone, whether he has a just or an unjust Imam (ruler), whether he takes it lightly or denies, may Allah cause him to lose all sense of tranquility and contentment and may He not bless him in his affairs. Indeed, his prayer will not be valid, his Zakat will not be valid, his Hajj will not be valid, his fasting will not be valid, and his righteous deeds will not be accepted, until he repents. Whoever repents, Allah will accept his repentance. No woman should be appointed as Imam over a man, no Bedouin should be appointed as Imam over a Muhajir, no immoral person should be appointed as Imam over a (true) believer, unless that is forced upon him and he fears his sword or whip. (Ibn Majah 1:343; Bayhaqi 3:244)

And the companion's statement:

مسلم بن يسار قال: كان أبو عبد الله رجل من الصحابة يقول: الزكاة والحدود والفيء والجمعة إلى السلطان
Muslim ibn Yasar said: Abu Abdullah, a sahabi, would say: "Zakat, Hudud, Fay (spoils) and Jummua are for the Sultan." (Fath al-Baal-Bari, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani)

Ibn Abi Shaybah narrates similar words from some of the Tabi'in, e.g., namely, Abdullah ibn Muhayriz, Ata al-Khurasani and Qatadah ibn Di'amah.

Muslim ibn Yasar said: Abu Abdullah, a companion, would say:

"Zakat and the border and faith and Friday are for the Sultan"


2. Other Schools of Law

The other schools do not require the attendance of the Sultan, nor his permission, nor his representative as a condition of the jummua prayer.

They cited the following evidences to support their view:

Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِنْ يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
"O you who believe! When the call is made for Friday prayer, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave all business. That is best for you, if you only knew." (Sura al-Jummua 62: 9.)

The Prophet (saw) said:

الْجُمُعَةُ حَقٌّ وَاجِبٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ فِي جَمَاعَةٍ إِلَّا عَلَى أَرْبَعَةٍ: عَبْدٍ مَمْلُوكٍ أَوِ امْرَأَةٍ أَوْ صَبِيٍّ أَوْ مَرِيضٍ​
"The Friday prayer in congregation is a necessary duty for every Muslim, with four exceptions: a slave, a woman, a boy and a sick person." (Sunan Abi Dawud 1067.)

The Prophet (saw) also said:

رَوَاحُ الْجُمُعَةِ وَاجِبٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُحْتَلِمٍ
"Going to jummua is obligatory for everyone who has reached the age of puberty." (an-Nisa'i, Book 14, Hadith 7.)

The verse and the hadiths did not stipulate any condition for such event to be established, rather Allah only says:

"When the call is made for Prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah."

They also cited the acts of the companions. For instance they established the jummua when (the emir) Saad ibn al-'As (ra) was expelled, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari (ra) prayed the jummua instead of him without the permission of the Caliph; Ali (ra) led the people in the jummua when Uthman (ra) was besieged; and other similar situations. (Badr ad-Deen al-Ayni, Umdat al-Qari, Vol. 6, p. 276, Ibn Qudamah, al-Mughni, Vol. 2, p. 174, Ibn Abd al-Bar, al-Istidhkar, p. 33, al-Qadi ibn al-Arabi, Al-Masalik fi Sharh Muwatta' Malik, Vol. 2, p. 452.)

Imam Ahmed, the founder of the Hanbali madhab, said:

وَقَعَتْ الْفِتْنَةُ فِي الشَّامِ تِسْعَ سِنِينَ وَكَانُوا يُجْمِعُونَ -أَحَدُهَا أَيْ شُرُوطِ الْجُمُعَةِ –الْوَقْتُ- لِأَنَّهَا مَفْرُوضَةٌ.
"The fitnah (between the companions) lasted in al-Sham for nine years, during which they established the jummuah because it was prescribed." (Al-Buhuti, Daqa'iq 'Uly an-Nuha, Vol. 1, P. 312.)

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali quoted Imam Ahmed saying:

قالَ أَحْمَدُ -فِي الإِمَامِ إذَا لَمْ يُوَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ مَنْ يُصَلِي بِهِمْ الجُمُعَة-: لَيْسَ عَلَيْهِم فِي ذَلِكَ إَثْمٌ.
"Imam Ahmed said, concerning the ruler who did not appoint a leader for the jummua prayer, (people did not commit a sin) when they pray without him." (Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Fath al-Bari, Vol. 5, p. 42.)

Imam Ibn Hazm, the founder of the Zahiri madhab, said:

وتُصَلَي فِي كُلِ قَرْيَةٍ صَغُرَتْ أَمْ كَبُرَتْ كَان هُنَالِكَ سُلْطَانًا أَوْ لَمْ يَكُنْ
"The jummuah is performed in each, big or small, village and with or without the Sultan." (Ibn Hazm, al-Muhalla, Vol. 3, P. 252.)

Imam al-Shawkani, a mujtahid jurist, commented on the stipulation of Sultan's attendance:

َلَيْسَ عَلَي هَذَا الإِشْتِرَاطِ أَثَارَةً مِنْ عِلْمٍ ، بِلْ لَمْ يَصِحُ مَا يُرْوَى فِي ذَلِكَ عَنْ بَعْضِ السَلَفِ ، فَضْلاً عَنْ أنْ يَصِحَ فِيهِ شَيءٌ عَنْ النَبِي صَلَي اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وسَلَم
"There is no evidence that supports this view and what has been narrated from the salaf and the Prophet (saw) is unauthentic." (al-Shawkani, as-Sayl al-Jarar, Vol. 1, p. 181.)

Imam Ibn Abd al-Bar, a Maliki jurist, said:

ِولَمْ يُشْتَرِط غَيْرُ الحَنَفِيَة هَذَيْنِ الشَرْطَيْنِ ، فَلا يُشْتَرَطُ إِذْنَ الإِمَامِ لِصِحَةِ الجُمْعَةِ ولَا حُضَورِه
"The stipulation of the attendance of the Sultan and his permission is only said by the Hanafis and it is not valid." (Ibn Abd al-Bar, al-Istidhkar, p. 33.)

Al-Mawsu'ah al-Fiqhyah says:

ِوَأَمَا الأَحْنَافِ فَقَدْ ذَكَرُوا مِنْ شُرُوطِ الجُمْعَةِ: إِذْنَ السُّلْطَانِ بَذَلِكَ، أو حُضُورَه، أو حُضَورَ نَائِب رَسْمِيّ عَنْهُ، إذْ هَكَذَا كَانَ شَأْنُهَا عَلى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللّهِ صَلى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَمَ وفِي عُهُودِ الخُلَفَاء الرَّاشِدِينَ. ... أَمَّا أَصْحَابِ المَذَاهِب الأُخْرَى فَلَمْ يَشْتَرِطُوا لِصِحَةِ الجُمْعَةِ أَوْ وُجُوبَهَا شَيْئًا يَتَعَلَقُ بِالسُلْطَانِ

"The Ahnaf stipulated in the conditions of al-jummua: the permission of the Sultan (Caliph), his attendance, or the attendance of his representative because that is how it worked in the time of the Prophet (saw) and the rightly guided Caliphs (ra) … but for the other schools of law, they did not stipulate for siha or wujub of the jummua anything that has to do with the Sultan..." (al-Mawsu'ah al-Fiqhyah, Vol. 27, p. 197.)

In Umdat al-Qari, it states:

وَقَالَتْ طَائِفَةٌ: يُصَلِّي بِهِمْ بَعْضُهُمْ، وَتُجْزِيهِمْ جُمُعَتُهُمْ هَذَا قَوْلُ مَالِكٍ، وَالشَّافِعِيِّ، وَأَحْمَدَ، وَإِسْحَاقَ، وَأَبِي ثَوْرٍ.
"Another group of scholars said (in the absence of the Sultan) they appoint one of them to lead the prayer and their jummua is accepted. This is the view of Malik, Shafi'i, Ahmed, Ishaq, and Abi Thawr." (Badr ad-Deen al-'Ayni, 'Umdat al-Qari, Vol. 6, p. 276.)

Conclusion

The madhahib disagree on the issue of establishing the jummua prayer in the absence of the Sultan. The Hanafi madhab requires his attendance, or that of his representative, or his permission.

After the removal of the Caliphate, Hanafis recommend the jummua prayer is done and as a precaution 4 rakats are prayed straight after as the zuhr prayer - ensuring that should the jummua not be accepted, the zuhr is discharged.

The other madhahib permit the jummua prayer without the Sultan.

Muslims can adopt any of the two views and follow scholars he trusts or believes hold the strongest evidence.

The Shafi'i jurist Mawardi summarises the two positions:

"As for prayer leaders on Friday and the holidays, the tendency in the Shafi‘i madhab is to view the qadhis as the most deserving, whereas the tendency in the madhab of Abu Hanifa is the umara (the political and military leaders) are most worthy of the role."
(Ahkam Al Sultanniya)

References

Badr ad-Deen al-Ayni, Umdat al-Qari
Ibn Qudamah, al-Mughni
Ibn Abd al-Bar, al-Istidhkar
Qadi ibn al-Arabi, Al-Masalik fi Sharh Muwatta Malik
Buhuty, Daqa'iq Uly an-Nuha
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Fath al-Bari
Ibn Hazm, al-Muhalla
Al-Mawsu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah
Shawkani, as-Sayl al-Jarar


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