Friday is the most significant day for worship and other righteous deeds in Islam. Globally, it is like Eid of the week for all Muslims because there is much similarity between Eid and Friday. On both days Muslims offer two cycles of namaz and listen to Khutbah (sermon) of Imams. Allah, the Almighty says: “Oh you who believe, When the call is given to the prayer of the day of Jummah then hasten towards the remembrance of Allah and leave all buying and selling (all worldly business) .” (The Holy Qur’an, 62:9). The literal meaning of Friday is congregation. The Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “The best day on which the sun has ever risen is Friday; on that day, Prophet Adam (A.S) was created, he was admitted to Paradise, and he was expelled from there.” He has also said: “Among the best of your days is Friday. On that day, your blessings are presented to me directly.” He further said; “The Sun does not rise nor set on a day that is better than Friday, and there is no creature that is not scared of Friday except for humans and jinns.” They are afraid because the Judgment Day will be on a Friday (Imam Muslim, Abu-Dawood, Al-Nasai, and Al-Tirmizi). With the Juma’a tul Wida around the corner, we are winding down to the end of the most glorious month of the year, Ramadan al-Mubarak. Fasting is a Quranic order, after Imaan, Salaah and Zakaat, the most important pillar of Islam is Sawm (fasting) during the month of Ramadan. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is amongst the fundamentals of Islam; one who denies its obligation goes out of the fold of Islam. Sawm (fasting) in the terminology of Shareeiah, means to refrain from eating, drinking and cohabitation from Sub’h saadiq to sunset, with the intention of fasting (Baqarah, 2:187). Allah assigned the blessed month of Ramadan for every adult and healthy Muslim as a period of fasting. In essence, Ramadan is an auspicious opportunity for believers to renew their commitment to Allah, their creator and the Sovereign of the day of Judgment. According to Holy Quran, O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint (Quran, 2:183). It is appropriate that every Muslim should receive the blessed month of Ramadan with sincerity. He/She should make thee intention to perform extra acts of devotion and worship therein, including the Night prayer (qiyam), recitation of Holy Quran, and abundant charity to the poor and needy. The holy month of Ramadan is superior to others because in it there is the best night of the year, which is Laylat Al-Qadr, worship on this night is better than worship for a thousand months. Almighty Allah says: Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Power. Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power is! The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees (That night is). Peace until the rising of the dawn (Quran Sura Al-Qadr, 97:1-5), the best book i.e., Holy Quran (a guidance for mankind) was revealed to the best of the Prophets (SAW). Almighty Allah says, The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and criterion (between right and wrong) (Al-Baqarah, 2:185).The Battle of Badr and the conquest of Mecca also took place during the holy month of Ramadan. The gates of paradise are opened and gates of Hell are shut, and the devils are chained up also there are many kinds of worship in Ramadan, such as fasting, praying Qiyam Al-Layl (Night vegil prayer), feeding the poor, performing itikaaf (religious retreat), giving charity, and reading the Holy Quran. This means evil actions and sins become less for those who observe the conditions and etiquette of fasting. Allah neither wishes to punish His subject nor starve them because neither of these benefits Him. Cultivation of righteous and humility is the wisdom behind fasting. The real purpose of fasting is to value the tremendous blessings of Almighty Allah and realize that a large percentage of people in the world do not have what we take for granted everyday. Juma-tul-Wida or the Last Friday of Ramadan is meant for commemorating the farewell to this holy month of fasting. Every year, it is observed across the state of Jammu and Kashmir with religious fervor and sanctity. A large number of devotees attend the Juma prayers at different mosques seeking divine blessings for world peace and progress of the state and unity of the humankind. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) laid great emphasis on worshiping Allah on Friday. He said: “Any one who worships Allah on Friday will receive protection from Allah for the entire week.” The importance of Friday is much more than other days of the week. The Prophet Mohammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “Allah Almighty forgives the sins committed between two Fridays of the one who performs his Friday Namaaz regularly”. Of all days of Juma’a, Juma-tu-Wida is one of the most glorious Friday and the most important day for acceptance of prayers. One of the reputed Prophet’s companions Hadhrat Jabir Ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (RA) narrates: “I visited the Messenger of Allah on the last Friday of Ramadan. As he saw me, he said, “Jabir! This is the last Friday of Ramadan. You should thus bid it farewell by saying the following:(Allahumma la taj`alhu akhira al`ahdi min siyamina iyyahu) “O Allah: (please) do not make it the last of our fasting in this month.” (Fa-in ja`altahu faj`alny marhuman wa la taj`alny mahruman) “But if you decide so, then (please) grant me your mercy and do not deprive me (of it).” In fact every Friday of the holy month of Ramadan is special in the Sharee’ah. When the Friday comes, at every door of the Masjid there stands Angels who write down those who come First, then who comes next. From various ahadith, it is proven that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to celebrate this day and he declared jummah as weekly eid for muslims. He (pbuh) used to wear clean and new (washed) clothes, used to take bath, wear fragrance, wear surmah for this day specially.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) described the virtues of Jummah prayer in the following hadith with these words; “When the Friday comes, at every door of the Masjid there stands Angels who write down (the names of) those who come First, then who comes next. When the Imam sits down, the records are closed and they come to listen to the reminder , i.e. the Khutba….” Muslim 1984. From authentic ahadith, it is taken that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised Muslims to recite surah al-Kahf on every Friday to keep safe from the fitnah of dajjal. While the fast on Jummah is forbidden i.e., the single fast in a week cannot be observed on jummah but it can be observed in pair i.e. with Thursday or with Saturday. From the history, it is proven that Jummah was most important day for the previous nations as well. Thus, Friday is considered a special and important day right from the very beginning of humanity. Narrated Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said, “Any person who takes a bath on Friday like the bath of Janaba and then goes for the prayer (in the first hour i.e. early), it is as if he had sacrificed a camel (in Allah’s cause); and whoever goes in the second hour it is as if he had sacrificed a cow; and whoever goes in the third hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a horned ram; and if one goes in the fourth hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a hen; and whoever goes in the fifth hour then it is as if he had offered an egg. When the Imam comes out (i.e. starts delivering the Khutba), the angels present themselves to listen to the Khutba.” Bukhari,2:425, Muslim,2:582 ( Book of Friday Prayer) Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said, “We (Muslims) came last and yet we are the first on the day of judgment. They have received the books before us (meaning Torah and Injil). We have received the book after them (meaning the Qur’an). Friday was their day to be glorified. However, they disputed on that while Allah had told us Friday is the day to glorify. Thus they will follow us. The Jews glorify Saturday, and the Christians glorify Sunday.” Rasulallah (pbuh) is reported to have said, “Recite Durood upon me in abundance on the day of Jummah since they are presented to me.” (Ibn Majah). Departing of holy month of Ramadan is well felt by those who experienced the pleasure of fasting, breathed in the blissful and compassionate atmosphere of this month, and who were relieved of evils of the Satan. In short, there are countless blessings of Friday one cannot sum up all of them in a single article. There is a blessed hour on Friday during which a person is granted anything lawful and good by Allah SWT that he prays for. The blessed hour on Friday is such that Dua’s are answered and accepted (Bukhari, Muslim) (from my research it’s an hour in ‘Asr to Maghrib) All muslims, more or less, feel a sense of regret by departure of the Holy month of Ramadan. However, the best thing we could do on this occasion is to take an account of ourselves. We need to do an evaluation of where we stand now after remaining hungry and thirsty for so long. We should ask ourselves certain questions like where we were before the arrival of Ramadan and where we are moving now after passing the days of fasting. Let this self-introspection lead us to feel infinite happiness for the good we have done throughout Ramadan and remorse for the bad which we have not yet changed, even at the end of Ramadan. This year, we again witnessed a spike in Covid-19 cases, there will be no congregational prayers in Masjids and shrines as was traditionally witnessed. In many Muslim countries, the celebrations and congregational prayers on Jumat-ul-wida in Masjids and Shrines were restricted in view of threat of the coronavirus. It is our collective responsibility to control the virus spread by following preventive measures and health advisories issued by the authorities and religious scholars from time to time. It is concluded that every Muslim must remember and be firmly aware that the month of Ramadan is only a means, not an end which can help one to become a better person, both in the eyes of others and in Allah’s. One must uphold the state of Imaan and Taqwaa and perform righteous action after the month of Ramadan until one dies. This is the way of the Sahabah (RA) and their true followers, some of whom were reported to have said: I will not feel quite safe if I see that one of my feet is already in Jannah- not until both of them are in there. On this day let us pray Almighty Allah for world peace and unity among Muslim nations as at present they are divided and living in worst condition. May Allah help helpless people of Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Kashmir, Afganistan and other nations who are in trouble. May Allah keep us guided and on the straight path, and purify our intentions to make it solely for His sake, and give us the understanding in Islam. Ameen!
( The authors write regularly on Islamic topics for “Kashmir Horizon” exclusively. Views are their own)