Is Friday prayer fard for women?

Details of the Question

Why is the Friday prayer not fard for women though the verse about the Friday prayer does not distinguish between women and men?..

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Friday prayer is a term that has a property of "ambiguity (mujmal)" in terms of fiqh like the words prayer, fasting, hajj and zakah. Therefore, its form and conditions of performing necessitate the explanations of verses, hadiths and the Companions. For, the Messenger of Allah said,

"Perform prayers as I do." (Bukhari, Adhan, 18; Adab, 27)

According to a hadith reported by Jabir b. Abdullah, the conditions of the Friday prayer are determined as follows:

"The Friday prayer is fard for those who believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment except for travelers, slaves, children, women and ill people." (Abu Dawud, I, 644, H. No: 1067; Daraqutni, II, 3; Baghawi, Sharhu's-Sunna, I, 225)

Every male Muslim who is not exempted by the exceptions above is obliged to perform Friday prayer. Accordingly, the conditions are as follows:   

A) To be male: Friday prayer is not fard for women. However, if they perform Friday prayer in congregation, it is enough for them; they do not have to perform the noon prayer that day. (as-Sarakhsi, II, 22, 23; Ibn Abidin, Raddu'l-Mukhtar, I, 591, 851-852).

B) To be free: It is enough to perform the noon prayer for prisoners of war, slaves and prisoners who are deprived of their freedom; Friday prayer is not fard for them. However, it is fard for mukatab (having a contractual right to buy his freedom) slaves and partly freed slaves. If the slaves or prisoners who do not have to perform Friday prayer perform it, it is valid.   

C) To be a resident: Friday prayer is not fard for a traveler. For, the traveler usually encounters some difficulties on the way and in the places that he visits. He might not find a place to put his things or he might lose his comrades. Therefore, some conveniences are granted to him.

D) Not to be ill or not to have some excuses: Friday prayer is not fard for a person who fears that his illness will get worse or that it will take him a longer time to get well when he goes to mosque. Similarly, nurses, weak elderly people, blind people, people with no legs, paralyzed people, the security people who are on duty when the Muslims perform Friday prayer, and people with similar excuses can perform the noon prayer instead of Friday prayer. However, if they perform Friday prayer in congregation, it is valid. (as-Sarakhsi, II, 22, 23; Ibnu'l-Humam, Fathu'l-Qadir, I, 417)

Besides, fearing from the enemy, heavy rain, mud, taking care of a very ill person are excuses that make it permissible to perform the noon prayer instead of Friday prayer. If there is a person who can take a blind man to the mosque, it becomes fard for him to perform the Friday prayer according to Imam Abu Yusuf and Muhammad.

If the Muslims who do not have to perform Friday prayer find the opportunity to perform it, they do not have to perform the noon prayer that day. The Muslims who do not have to perform Friday prayer need to perform the noon prayer alone not in congregation if Friday prayer is performed in the place where they are. If Friday prayer is not performed in the place where they are, they can perform the noon prayer in congregation. 

Although women do not have to perform Friday and eid prayers, they can perform them if they wish. In that case, when a person who does not have to perform Friday prayer (for instance, a traveler) performs Friday prayer, he does not have to perform the noon prayer that day; similarly, the women who perform Friday prayer in congregation do not have to perform the noon prayer that day. As a matter of fact, in the Era of Bliss and in the periods after that, many women performed Friday and eid prayers in the mosque like the women who perform daily prayers and tarawih prayer in congregation in the mosque today. However, not all women performed Friday and eid prayers in congregation in the period of the Prophet (pbuh) and the following periods. Today, it is permissible for the women who wish to perform Friday and eid prayers in the parts that are allocated to them in mosques by paying attention to the manners of mosque.

Questions on Islam

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