Leading prisoners in Friday prayer - Praying Friday prayer twice
Fatwa No: 317770

  • Fatwa Date:10-3-2016 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 1, 1437
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I am appointed as an imam for prisoners for the Friday prayers. This is usually on all fridays. Praying the Friday prayer in the mosque is more rewarding, so will I get the same rewards although we do the Friday prayer in a classroom or a yard? The atmosphere is not the same. As an Imam, what are the rewards for conducting the Friday prayers. Sometimes we had to conduct the Friday prayer twice in the prison, but at different locations, when the other imam is absent or not available. What should the intention for the second Friday prayer be; obligatory or sunnah? Please explain. Thank you.


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 

The scholars differed in opinion in regard to holding the Friday prayer in a prison if the conditions for the Friday prayer are met by the prisoners and they could perform it. A group of scholars are of the view that this is valid, and another group of scholars are of the view that this is not valid and that they should perform the Thuhr prayer.

The view that we adopt here at Islamweb is that it is valid; in this regard, please refer to fatwa 139720 about the validity of leading prisoners in the Friday prayer and that the imaam will be rewarded for this act and for the prayer, Allaah willing.

We hope that you will be rewarded for leading the Friday prayer and the sermon, and you are upon much goodness, Allaah willing.

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong in repeating the Friday prayer when necessary, such as when there is no person to deliver the sermon and lead the prayer with another congregation. Some jurists stated that it is permissible to repeat the Friday prayer when necessary. Nihaayat Al-Muhtaaj authored by Ar-Ramli from the Shaafi’i School of jurisprudence reads:

It is desirable to repeat the Friday prayer when it is permissible to repeat it, such as when one delivers the Friday prayer at a place and leads its people in prayer and then goes to another place where its people have not yet prayed, so he delivers the Friday sermon and leads them in prayer, even if he is the fortieth person [i.e. the 40th person, as the number required to establish the Friday prayer is 40 people, so if there are only 39 people, and he is the 40th one, then it is permissible for him to deliver the sermon and lead the prayer].

The repetition of the prayer should be with the intention of the obligatory prayer as well, like the prayer that is repeated even though in reality it is considered as a supererogatory prayer and not an obligatory prayer.

Al-Muqaddimah al-Hadhramiyyah, a Shaafi'i book, reads, “It is permissible to repeat the obligatory prayer with the intention of performing the obligatory prayer with another single person or with a congregation even though he had prayed the same prayer in congregation, and his obligatory prayer is the first.

Its commentary reads, "To repeat the obligatory prayer’ means the prescribed obligatory prayer, even if it is the Friday prayer; ‘with the intention of the obligatory prayer’ means in its apparent form otherwise … it is in reality a supererogatory prayer...” 

On the other hand, if there is an imaam other than the imaam who had prayed the Friday prayer, then the latter should not pray the Friday prayer twice because repeating the obligatory prayer without a sound reason is not permissible. The obligatory prayer is only performed once; Ahmad, An-Nasaa’i and Abu Daawood - and the wording is that of Abu Daawood - narrated that Sulaymaan ibn Yasaar, the servant of Maymoonah, said, “I came to Ibn ‘Umar while he was sitting in al-Balaat (a place near Prophet's Mosque at Medeenah) while the people were praying, and I asked him, 'Why are you not praying with them?' He replied, 'I have already prayed. I heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) say, 'Do not pray the same prayer twice in one day.''” The wording of An-Nasaa’i reads, “A prayer is not repeated twice in one day.

Allaah knows best.

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