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Friday or Jumuʿa (Arabic: جُمُعَة) is the seventh day of Islamic week which is of high importance in the Islamic culture with respect to worships, for Islamic jurisprudence and in social respects. In religious sources, there are special practices, such as ritual bath (ghusl) and Friday prayer on this day of week. According to some hadiths, many important events have occurred or are going to occur on Friday.

In the Islamic culture, Friday is specially honored. Though it is not a weekend or a day off in some Islamic countries, daily activities on this day in those countries are only half-active. In fact, unlike the day-off of Saturday for Jews, that of Friday for Muslims does not mean that they stop all the activities; it is only that it counts as a day for worships.

Friday is honored not only by the religious culture, but also by the common culture, and it sometimes counts as a good or bad omen of many activities.

Terminology and Appellation

The word "Jumu'a" in Arabic is from the root "J-M-'A" (ج-م-ع) which means gathering and collecting. There are three pronunciations of the word in Arabic: Jumu'a, Jum'a, and Juma'a.

In the Qur'an

There is only one verse of the Qur'an in which the word appears and most reciters of the Qur'an have pronounced it as Jumu'a. The Arabs during the period of Jahiliyya called it "Yawm al-'Aruba".

The Origin of the Appellation

It has been said that one of the ancestors of the Prophet (s), Ka'b b. Luway, or according to some other accounts, Qusay b. Kilab, used to gather people on this day and deliver sermons. Thus some people think that it was Ka'b who changed the name of this day from Yawm al-'Aruba to Jumu'a. Others attribute the appellation to the Ansar of Medina, since according to some hadiths, before the immigration of the Prophet (s) to Medina, As'ad b. Zurara gathered people on this day, saying prayers with them, and then calling it the day of Jumu'a (that is, the day of gathering).

Other origins have also been mentioned for its appellation in some hadiths; for instance, the gathering of Adam (a)'s clay on this day, the ending of the creation of heavens and the Earth on this day, the gathering of people on this day for prayers, the gathering of all creatures on this day and their testimony for God's Lordship, the Prophet (s)'s prophecy and Imam 'Ali (a)'s wilaya on this day.

Other Titles of the day of jumu'a

  • Sayyid al-ayyām (Arabic: سَیِّد الأیّام, the master of all days)
  • Afḍal al-ayyām (Arabic: أفضَل الأیّام, the best of all days)
  • The day of 'eid (celebration)
  • Al-yawm al-azhar (Arabic: الیَوم الأزهَر, the more shining day)
  • The day of shāhid (witness)
  • Al-yawm al-'atīq (Arabic: الیَوم العَتیق, the day of emancipation from the hell)
  • The day of God
  • The day of Hujja (that is, Imam al-Mahdi (a))
  • The day of the birth (because of the Prophet's birth on Friday)
  • The day of worship

Features and Virtues of Friday

  • If someone dies on Friday, he will be protected against the punishment of the grave.
  • On Fridays, people in Barzakh will not be punished.
  • There will be more blessing for residents of the Heaven on Fridays.
  • The spirits of the believers visit their living friends and relatives
  • The angels renew the pledges to the Prophet (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a).
  • The divine awards for good deeds will be doubled.

Historical Events on Friday


The following are the most important worships on Friday:

Friday Prayer

Friday prayer is a congregational prayer with two units said on Friday noon instead of zuhr prayer, preceded by two sermons. Most Shiite jurists take it to be disjunctive obligation (al-wajib al-takhyiri). The importance of this prayer is emphasized in the Qur'an, and according to some hadiths, Friday prayer is the hajj of the poor by which the sins are forgiven by God, and the failure to practice this prayer leads, according to hadiths, to hypocrisy and distress in life. Friday prayer counts as a symbol of solidarity of Muslims and it should be practiced in congregation.

Friday Ghusl

Friday ghusl (ritual bath on jumu'a) is a supererogatory (mustahab) ghusl in Islam practiced on Fridays. According to a hadith from the Prophet (s): "Never abandon Friday ghusl, even though you would have to be more parsimonious in your foods, spending instead on the ghusl, since it is one of the greatest supererogatory acts". This ghusl should be practiced from morning calls to prayers through noon on Fridays. Its qada' (practice after the prescribed time) can be performed on Friday afternoons or Saturdays. According to the Fatwas of many Shiite jurists, one cannot say his prayers with this ghusl; for saying prayers, it is obligatory to have wudu as well.

Other Worships on Friday

According to hadiths, Friday is the day of worships, and this is why it counts as the most auspicious day of week. According to hadiths, the Prophet (s), Sahaba (his companions) and Imams (a) prepared themselves for the worships of Friday from Thursday.

Some most important worships on Friday are as follows:

According to hadiths, there is a particular time on Friday at which God listens to one's duas. There are special practices for some Fridays, such as those of Rajab and Ramadan months.


  • Wearing fragrant perfumes and aromas.
  • Brushing the teeth, washing one's body, and wearing the best clothes.
  • Supplying the requirements of the family.
  • Visiting graves, especially those of one's parents.
  • Attending funerals.
  • Visiting patients.
  • Charity for people in need.

Makruh (reprehensible) Practices

  • Hijama (cupping);
  • Travelling before performing the Friday prayer;
  • Fasting without any specific reason;
  • Getting engaged in business and mundane affairs;
  • Hunting and slaughtering animals;
  • Reciting poems.

Eve of Friday

According to hadiths, the eve of Friday (Thursday night) counts as equivalent to the Friday; it is, according to these hadiths, the night when angels come to the Earth, people's deeds are presented to the Prophet (s) or the spirits of their recently passed-away relatives, as well as the night of delight for Imams (a). There are practices for this night, including repentance, worship, duas, saying supererogatory (mustahab) prayers, reciting the Qur'an, especially some specific Suras thereof, reciting salawat to the Prophet (s) and his progeny, and reciting some orisons such as Supplication of Kumayl.

A Day-Off on Friday

Regardless of what the Qur'an or hadiths have said about Friday, in the Islamic culture, the most salient characteristic and function of Friday is its role in the division of a month's days into seven-day units, since it counts as the weekend or the last day of the week which is off. Since the early formation of the Islamic community in Medina, Friday was associated with its non-religious (political, broadcasting, and economic) in addition to its religious and social characteristics, such as worships.

Contrary to Saturdays (sabt or Shabbat) for Jews, Friday has never been a completely inactive day or day of complete rest following the divine rest after the creation of the world (in accordance with the old Testament).

Why are Fridays Off in Islam?

Fridays were off in the Islamic tradition in order to provide an opportunity for worships (especially Friday Prayer and its addenda), reinforcing the emerging religious identity of the early Islamic community in virtue of repetition. The day-off on Fridays led to other sorts of gathering, such as celebrations, recreations, and recovery, again helping reinforce the notion of the Islamic community.

Thus Fridays were off in Islam in order for people to have more time for Friday Prayers that took rather much time. Fridays were, nonetheless, still as active and alive as the other days of the week.

The History of Friday as a Day-Off

Friday was off from almost the beginning of Islam. Unlike what was common in the Jewish culture, however, there was no much stricture or pressure to inforce Friday as a day off, though it was sometimes generalized to some sects branched off from Islam, such as Yazidis or even non-Muslims such as Zoroastrians. In some periods, some other day than Friday was off by some sects that opposed caliphate, and in the late period of the Abbasid caliphate, apparently through a Jewish influence, Saturdays were off by Muslims, and on Fridays they opened their market. However, Abu Shuja' Rudharawari (d. 488/1095) ordered his inspector of weights and measures, Ibn Khiraqi, to punish shop owners, especially mercers, who closed their shops on Saturdays.

However, it was very common among Muslims to open their shops and market on Fridays, after the Friday Prayers so that people could do their weekly shopping; for example, butchers slaughtered animals and prepared them for sale on Fridays, and women spent Fridays baking bread for the weekly needs of the family. In general, Fridays were days of receiving wages for workmen, days of worship for religious scholars and pious people, and days when schools were off.

In Islamic Countries

In many Islamic countries, Fridays are still off, but in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran there is more emphasis on the religious identity of Fridays. In some Islamic countries where Sundays are officially off, Fridays are half inactive, and count as religious holidays. The Turkish government officially abolished Fridays as days off since 1935, announcing Sundays as off instead.

Political and Governmental Function of Fridays

The Friday prayer, especially because of its sermons, provided an opportunity for Islamic governments to communicate with people. In the Islamic communities, the following actions were usually done before or at the time of the sermons:

  • The announcement of a Caliph's successor or lower-ranking governors.
  • The announcement of a Caliph's surrogate.
  • Pledging allegiance to the Caliph.
  • The announcement of a riot or independence.
  • Dismissal or appointment of senior agents of the government.
  • The announcement of new governmental orders
  • Minting new coins
  • Cursing the opponents
  • Introducing new instructors and teachers for major schools, and the like.

Just like the prayers of eids, Friday prayers were considered as opportunities to display the power and the glory of governments.

The Consideration of People's Problems

Sometimes the Islamic rulers held Friday prayers in the Jami' mosques (comprehensive mosques) of major cities in order to provide an opportunity for people to directly contact them about their problems and their questions about the Islamic shari'a. For example, the jurist or the judge of the city sat in mosques on Fridays, answering people's questions about the laws of sharia. In Ottoman territories, an office called the diwan of Friday (in Turkish, "Jum'a dīwānī" and "huḍūr murāfa'a sī"), chaired by the chancellor, was established to take care of religious matters and the ordinary problems of people. The chancellor directly heard people's complaints, referring the case to Kazasker (Qāḍī 'Askar) or other agents such as 'Asasbashi (night patrol), Subashi, and Chawushbashi, who were members of the diwan. It seems that orders and official documents were stamped on Fridays.

There are reports that in the period of the King Sikandar Lodi (ruling from 894/1488-9 ; 923/1517-8) in India, some allowance called "Jum'agi" (Friday allowance) was given to the poor on Fridays.


After Friday Prayer and its addenda, such as orisons, political slogans, and cursing the opponents, the rest of the day was spent for celebrations, since Muslims traditionally deemed Fridays as Eid—day of celebration—and had special foods, and they performed supererogatory (mustahab) actions in it.

The Customs of Laypeople

There were particular customs by some groups or at some special occasions on Fridays. Some Shiite Muslims, who believed that Imam al-Mahdi (a) is going to reappear on Friday from a cellar in the Jami' mosque of Samarra, took a black and white horse, with a golden saddle, to the mosque so that Imam (a) rides on it.

Women in Karbala gather in a shrine known as Maqām al-Mahdī (a) near Nahr al-Husayniyya (al-Husayniyya river) every Friday afternoon, distributing some foods or money they vowed (nadhr), lighting candles, writing their requests and wishes on a paper, wrapping it in a piece of clay and throwing it in the river. Men there recite Dua' al-Nudba on Friday mornings.

It is customary among Shiites to hold meeting for Rawda or elegies and praises of Shiite Imams on Friday or the night before Friday in mosques, Husayniyyas, Takyehs or in their houses (which is called "Jum'a khani" (Friday recitations) in Afghanistan).

Carpet Cleaning Ceremonies

Usually on the first Friday of Autumn, that is, one week before the carpet cleaning ceremonies in the holy shrine of Sultan 'Ali in Ardahal, there is a ceremony in order to announce the date when the carpet cleaning ceremony will be held in Fin and Kashan; this is called "Jum'a jār" (that is, Friday announcement). On the second Friday of Autumn, "Jum'a Qali" (Friday Carpet)—the main carpet cleaning ceremony is held, and in the third Friday of Autumn, called "Jum'a Nishalgiha", people of the village, Nishalg, hold mourning ceremonies for Shiite Imams (a).

Visiting Sacred Places

Some sacred shrines or places used to be open only on Friday or the night before Friday. There are ceremonies and rituals that only take place on Fridays: saying prayers inside Ka'ba, moving the Prophet (s)'s minbar near the wall of Ka'ba (between the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-'Iraqi) and some of its accompanying ceremonies, opening the doors of the Mosque of Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (a) in Basra, visiting the manuscript of the Qur'an that 'Uthman had sent to Syria and is held in the treasury of Damascus Mosque and the swearing of disputing parties to this Qur'anic manuscript, and visiting the sacred clothes of the Prophet (s) in the Ottoman.

Fridays for Sufis

Fridays have been very precious for Sufis. They believed that a Sufi can harvest the crops of what he did during the week on Fridays. Here are some Friday assemblies of Sufis that are usually called "ḥaḍrat":

Some worshippers, whether Sufi or not, stayed in their houses during the weekdays, away from people, and only went out on Fridays for Friday Prayers.

Books Concerning Friday

There are many books authored with regard to the virtues, traditions and practices of Friday, and some chapters or sections of some other books have been devoted to this. Below is a list of some of this work:

In Shiite and Sunni sources of hadiths, there are sections concerning Friday, its virtues and its practices.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from (جمعه (روز in Farsi WikiShia.