Friday 19 October 2018

Surah Al Jumuah (The Friday Congregation): Summary of 62nd Chapter of the Holy Quran

Friday assumes a special importance in the lives of the Muslims all over the world, for it is the day when the noon prayers is offered in the form of a congregation and this prayer has to be offered in the masjids compulsorily. In fact the word Jumuah (Friday) means congregation in Arabic. 
Thus it is the day of assembly, when the Muslim community abandons trade, transactions and other diversions in favor of assembling to seek the all-encompassing truth and most beneficent and seek the "bounty of God" exclusively. [1]
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) has been quoted as saying, 
"The best day during which the sun have risen is Friday. It is the Day Adam was created. It is the day when Adam entered paradise and also when he was taken out from it. It is also the day on which the Day of Judgment takes place." [Imam Muslim, Abu-Dawood, Al-Nasai, and Al-Tirmizi]
“When the Friday comes, at every door of the Masjid there stands Angels who write down (the names of) those who come First, and 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) 
Let us now understand the surah in segmented portions for better understanding:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

This surah is a Al-Musabbihat* surah because it begins with the glorification of Allah as can be seen in the translation of the first below:
[1] Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth glorifies Allah-the Sovereign, the Holy, the All-Mighty and the All-Wise!
*Al-Musabbihat are those surahs of the Quran that begin with Allah's glorification 'Subhana', 'Sabbaha', and 'Yusabbihu'. According to Islamic scholar Mufti Muhammad Shafi (1897–1976) the collective name of the series Al-Musabbihat refers to the following five or seven Surahs:
  • Al-Hadid
  • Al-Hashr
  • As-Saff
  • Al-Jumua and
  • At-Taghabun
The surah can be divided into two distinct segments as these were sent down in two different periods. That is why their themes as well as their audiences are different. Although there is a kind of harmony between them on account of which they have been put together in one Surah, yet we should understand their themes separately before we consider the question of their harmony. [2]

The first section that comprises verses 2-8 was sent down at a time when all Jewish efforts to obstruct the message of Islam during the past six years had failed: [2]
  • First. in Madinah as many as three of their powerful tribes had done whatever they could to frustrate the mission of the Holy Prophet, with the result that one of the tribes was completely exterminated and the other two were exiled. 
  • Then by intrigue and conspiracy they brought many of the Arab tribes together to advance on Madinah, but in the Battle of the Trench they were all repulsed. 
  • After this, Khyber had become their stronghold, where a large number of the Jews expelled from Madinah also had taken refuge. At the time these verses were revealed, that too was taken without any extraordinary effort, and the Jews at their own request agreed to live there as tenants of the Muslims. 
After this final defeat the Jewish power in Arabia came to an end. Then, Wad-il-Qura, Fadak, Taima', Tabuk, all surrendered one after the other, so much so that all Arabian Jews became subdued to the same Islam which they were not prepared to tolerate before. This was the occasion when Allah Almighty once again addressed them in this Surah, and probably this was the last and final address that was directed to them in the Qur'an. In this they have been reminded of three things:
[2-4] He it is Who has raised a Messenger among the gentiles from among themselves, who recites to them His Revelations, purifies them and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, whereas before this they were indeed lost in manifest error. And (the advent or the Messenger) is also for those others who have not yet joined them. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. This is Allah's bounty; He bestows it on whomever He wills, and Allah is the Owner of supreme bounty.
Here the word ummi (gentile) has been used as a Jewish term and there is a subtlety in it. The verse means: "The All-Mighty and All-Wise Allah has raised a Messenger among the Arabs whom the Jews contemptuously consider the gentiles and much below themselves, The Messenger has not risen of his own wish and will, but has been raised by Him Who is the Sovereign of the universe, Who is All-Mighty and All-Wise, Whose power can be resisted and opposed only to one's own loss and peril.
[5] The example of those who were entrusted with the burden of the Torah, and yet they failed to bear its burden, is of a donkey laden with books. Even worse is the example of those who have treated Allah's Revelations as false. Allah does not guide such wrongdoers.
[6-8] Say to them, "O you who have become Jews. If you claim that you alone are Allah's favorites, apart from all other people, then you should long for death if you be truthful. But they will never wish for it because of the misdeeds they have committed, and Allah knows full well these wrongdoers. Say to them, "The death from which you flee will certainly overtake you. Then you will be presented before Him, Who is the Knower of the hidden and the open, and He will tell you what you had been doing."
The verses 9-10 were revealed many years after the first eight verses. In these verses Allah has bestowed Friday on the Muslims as against the Sabbath of the Jews, and Allah wanted to warn the Muslims not to treat their Friday as the Jews had treated their Sabbath.

The verses thus clearly show the importance of the Friday congregation and it is made very clear that when the call for noon prayers on Friday is made, every Muslim must hasten towards the masjids to offer  as part of the congregation. And during this time, one must defer all wordily needs, desires and business commitments for "This better for you only if you knew." And then after the prayers one must disperse in the land and seek Allah's blessings and bounties.
[9-10] O you who have believed, when the call is made to the Prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off your trading. This is better for you only if you knew. Then, when the Prayer is over, disperse in the land and seek Allah's bounty, and remember Allah much. Perhaps you may achieve success.
Verse 11 below was revealed after an incident while it was time for the Friday congregation and the Prophet of Allah was in the masjid delivering the Friday sermon. The time was very hard due to drought and non availability of food grain and other household essentials. And it so happened that a vendor came along and started calling people for the sale of his merchandise. Hearing his call, all but twelve Muslims left the masjid and ran to buy their needs. And the Prophet of Allah was left alone with a handful of his companions.
[11] And when they saw some merchandise and sport they broke off to it and left you standing. Say to them, "That which is with Allah is far better than sport and business, and Allah is the best of all providers."
Thus the verse 11 was revealed admonishing those who abandoned the Jumuah congregation. However, this sentence by itself shows what was the nature of the error committed by the Companions. God forbid, if it had been due to any weakness of the faith, or due to giving the world preference over the Hereafter, Allah's wrath and displeasure and reprimand would have been much severer. But since there was no such weakness, and whatever happened was only due to insufficient training, Allah first taught the people the coquette of the Friday Service, then, after pointing out the error, promised them that the reward they would get with Allah for listening to the Sermon and performing the Prayer would be much greater than worldly gains and amusements.  And that Allah has better rewards and provisions for those who have firm faith in Allah and His messenger, for Allah is the best of all providers. [2]

This incident clearly shows the importance of the Jumuah congregation and its attendance no matter what hurry a person may have to attend to his business or needs.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surah Al Jumuah with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

Photo | References:  |  1 | 2 | 3 |
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