Several Jumu`ahs in One City?

Figure 1A: An example of a Jami` Masjid in Nablus.

Figure 1A: An example of a Jami` Masjid in Nablus.

Several Jumu`ahs Due to Lack of Space at the Masjid


The following enquiry was made by the marja` of Kuwait, Imam `Abdullah ibn Khalaf ibn Dahyan, to another marja`:

There is a recorded statement by Imam Mansur al-Buhuti[1] in his Cliff Notes on the Uttermost Boundary[2] regarding the Jumu`ah prayer. The discussion centred around a Central Masjid being overcrowded and whether another jumu`ah was to be done.

Is the statement regarding having several jumua`ahs in one city due to overcrowding general, i.e. in that it refers those people present or even those who would not be present? Or is there another ruling? What is the ruling in this regard?[3]

The answer given by the marja`, Imam `Abdul Qadir ibn Badran ad-Dumi (d. 1346 AH), may Allah have mercy on him, is as follows below:

The explicit understanding held by the scholars of the school is that it is not permissible to establish the Jumu`ah prayer in two places or more in a city without need. This was explicitly mentioned by Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah[4] in his text, The Sufficer[5] as well as his other books.[6]

If the Jumu`ah is established in two places or more without need then the Jumu`ah of the grand Imam[7] is valid while if they were equal in number, then the second is invalid. If both Jumu`ah prayers occur at the same time and the grand Imam is ignorant of the second,[8] then both Jumu`ahs are invalid from the two parties. [9]

The difference of opinion is on the question of what to do when there is a jumu`ah that occurs in two places due to some need. There are two narrations that have been given by Imam Al-Majd ibn Taymiyyah[10] in The Authoritative Statement in Fiqh:[11]

“So is it permissible to have jumu`ah prayers in two places or more when there is a need? There are two narrations in this regard. If we say that it is not permissible – meaning if there is no need for it – then the second jumu`ah prayer will be invalid unless specific permission to conduct it has been sought from the grand Imam. Once permission is sought, then it will be valid.

It has also been stated that the first jumu`ah is valid without restriction; but if a second jumu`ah happened without the knowledge of the Imam and his congregation, then the first jumu`ah of the grand Imam and his congregation will be invalid and they must pray Zuhr after this jumu`ah.

In the event that the grand Imam in the first jumu`ah and the second jumu`ah begin the prayer at the same time, then both prayers are invalid.

If he did not know about them and both jumu`ahs started the prayer at the same time, or even two different times, then what is to be done? Are they to pray Zuhr after it? Do they pray the Jumu`ah at all? There are two narrations about this matter.”[12]

The latter day scholars have shown preference to the position that it is valid to have a number of jumu`ahs in different places, provided that there is a valid need as discussed in texts such as The Sufficer, The Rectifier,[13] The Uttermost Boundary[14] and others.

They considered “need” to cover things such as overcrowding in the central masjid of the area due to people. This was explicitly mentioned by the Shaikh, Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah[15] in Digest of Egyptian Legal Rulings[16] and this ruling was followed by the two great commentators on the Uttermost Boundary, namely Imams Al-Futuhi[17] and Al-Buhuti.

The vast majority of our scholars hold that the word, “the people” on its’ outward form without any investigation of whether they are present or not in the gathering. This was the case for the early scholars.[18]

The latter day scholars[19] did differ about the meaning of the expression due to three possible understandings of the expression:

1. The intent of the “the people of the land or area” means that those mentioned are required to attend Jumu`ah whether they are present in the congregation or not.

2. The intent of those people mentioned is anyone who his presence validates the Jumu`ah prayer in the most general sense.

3. The intent regarding “the people of the land or area” means whoever is present for the Jumu`ah prayer.

The second of the three mentioned positions is held by Imam Al-Buhuti in his Cliff Notes on the Uttermost Boundary.[20]

Imam Al-Futuhi stated in commentary to his own work, The Uttermost, “Like the overcrowding of the masjid of the area due to its’ people.”

In his Cliff Notes, Imam Al-Buhuti said the following, “I hold that expression to be absolute and general for everyone who his presence validates the Jumu`ah prayer.

And this is the case even if he did not pray the Jumu`ah prayer and even if the Jumu`ah prayer was not compulsory for him at that time. Based on this, the number of jumu`ahs in an urban area for the need of the people is valid.” [21]

If we stop at this point, we can say that the inquiry has been answered; but there is still another issue within the question that needs to be answered.

Now let the questioner pause at the words of the two commentators, Al-Futuhi and Al-Buhuti, “So the overcrowding of the masjid of the area due to its’ people,” and let him ask if this is general or not.

The answer to the question is that Imam Al-Buhuti considered the pronoun, “its” in the expression “its’ people” to be referring to the land or area and not the masjid.

If he had declared the pronoun as belonging to the masjid, then the ruling would have specifically been for the people of the masjid and that would have been in a metaphorical sense and those referred to would have been those present for the prayer.

When you look at the text and see that he declared the pronoun “its” belongs to the “land or area,” this is therefore general for the people of the area. It is not hidden on your mind that the people of the land is a more general term than those who are required to prayer Jumu`ah when it has become compulsory for them and those who it has not become compulsory for them.

The expression, “the people,” is more general in scope than “those who are present for the Jumu`ah” and “those who are not present for it.” The reason for this is that the expression “people” is general and its’ understanding does not hinder from the expression being shared in its’ meaning.

The word “people” is the name of a group and not one of them. This can be seen in words like “mankind,” “animals,” “water” and “dirt.” Mankind does not refer to one man but all of them collectively.

The word “animals” does not refer to one animal but all of them as a collective. The same can be said of the fact that water does not refer to one drop or dirt to one speck, but to all of it. The evidence that the word, “people” is general is when you use qualified statements like, “The people of the land honoured everyone except the young among them.”

If this expression, “people” was not general, then it would not have been valid to use a qualified statement as in the case just mentioned.

The indicator of an expression being general is the validity of using a qualified statement with it although the number exempted is not mentioned.

Likewise, this same principle exists in the science of Foundational Laws.[22] So when the Imams al-Buhuti and Al-Futuhi – in their respective commentaries – state, “The overcrowding of the masjid of the area due to its’ people,” and take the phrase in its’ general form without qualification, this is correct.

Returning to the three statements of the latter day scholars above, the first two groups regard the understanding of Imam al-Buhuti in a general sense. If someone were to consider carefully and adopt the ruling of Imam Al-Buhuti, then such an individual has not missed the mark at all.

If one were to adopt the third position mentioned above, this is far from the intent of the text as the one not present for the Jumu`ah prayer could include firstly the one who delayed due to some excuse or secondly the one who abandoned it due to laziness or taking it lightly.  Adoption of this third ruling is restricting a general statement without another qualifying phrase.

If you say that the individual not present for the Jumu`ah did so out of laziness or taking it lightly, then we would establish no reward for him and there would be no ruling attached to him.

If on the other hand, the individual not present for the Jumu`ah had an excuse for his absence, then it would cause hardship by requiring him to be present for Jumu`ah and this is a valid principle in the judgements of Revealed Law.[23]

The reason for this is that most excuses that occur are accidental and not always occurring. If we intended to hold to this ruling, there would have been no need to investigate deeply and affirm matters.

It may be that the time for the Jumu`ah elapses and the ruling would not fit such an individual. Yes, such a thing was stated by Ibn Hajar al-Haitami from the Shafi`ii scholars. He mentioned in his commentary entitled Satisfying the Need [24]in explanation of Imam an-Nawawi in the original primer entitled The Clear Instruction[25]:

(Nawawi): “So the third of the conditions of the Jumu`ah is that it has not been preceded by a jumu`ah and there is no jumu`ah being commenced at the same time in the same area except in the case of overcrowding or the difficulty of the people being gathered in one place.”

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami then commented, “So the context here would appear to indicate that the pronoun in the expression “gathered in one place,” is in general for the people of the area – both the one who Jumu`ah is required of, the who it is not and the one who his presence validates the Jumu`ah – and not anyone else.

However to understand the statement in this way is far from the mark indeed; but that which is indicated is the one who is present for the Jumu`ah as is normally understood.”

These are the words of Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami. Now you can see here that the judgement is attached to the one who is present of the jumu`ah as is customarily known. Even if he had inclined towards the implausible position being the correct one, he would have found that the foundational laws of his madhhab would not have agreed with this understanding.[26]

The first ruling that was mentioned some time ago is held by most the scholars of the school as they attach the rulings of the Jumu`ah being that the one who has been required it being more general than the one being from the people who are present or not.

This has been stated by Imam Safi ud-Din `Abdul Mu’min[27] in his commentary on The Authoritative when he remarked, “The one who is from the people of Jumu`ah, it is not permissible for him to travel after the sun has risen until he prays the Jumu`ah prayer.”

So you can see that this Imam holds that the people of jumu`ah are absolutely those who are required to pray it. His understanding is that whoever is not required to make the Jumu`ah prayer is therefore permitted to travel.

You should look at the statement of Majd ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah, the author of the original text of The Authoritative, “Whoever Jumu`ah has become compulsory for, it is not permissible for him to travel in the day until he has prayed the Jumu`ah.”

Whereas the intent of the one who is required to pray Jumu`ah are the people who fit the ruling, Safi ud-Din changed the expression of The Authoritative to the words, “Whoever is from the people of the Jumu`ah,” in order to clarify the meaning of the statement. This is the explanation of why there are the three rulings mentioned previously.

As for my ruling, the chosen position of Imam Al-Buhuti in his notes on the text is the most preferred position; namely that he permits that the expression holds those who can go even if it is not required for him to be there such as in the case of the one who is young and would benefit from hearing the khutbah and being in the gathering of the people of goodness and religion.

It is also important specifically in these latter days when we need to have a large amount of Muslims present and to have an increase in the ranks of those praying.[28]


I will also give another word from the Shaikh, Mar`ii Al-Karmi in The Uttermost and the commentary of the Shaikh of our Shaikhs, Shaikh Mustafa as-Suyuti[29] on this text.

Shaikh Mustafa as-Suyuti says in commentary,

“A group of our scholars held the position that several jumu`ahs will be valid whether there is a need for it or not.

This is the case as according to a narration from Imam al-Marwazi, Imam Ahmad was asked about jumu`ahs being prayed in two different masjids. He responded to the query by saying, ‘Let him pray it.’ ”[30]

This narration is the one chosen and I have mentioned that this is my chosen ruling in an answer that I gave previously to a question addressed to me from the city of Beirut regarding the matter. The gist of the answer that I gave was that stopping more than one Jumu`ah has no depended upon evidence for it when it is required.

The only issue that remains is when we hold it to be permitted to have a number of jumu`ahs for a need, is it then the case that there can be two, three or are the third and fourth jumu`ahs impermissible?

The answer bears two rulings. One is that it is impermissible to have the third jumu`ah if there is enough room to have two in two places and this is what has been mentioned in The Uttermost and explicitly stated in The Sufficer[31] and also Commentary on the Uttermost.

The second point to be made is that when it is permissible to have a number of jumu`ahs, there can be no limitation on its’ number according to a need. What this means is that when it is permissible to have a number of jumu`ahs due to a justified reason, then one cannot limit it to two three or four.

This position has been advocated by some of the Shafi`ii scholars and the great scholar, Ghannam an-Najdi[32] followed them in this matter in his Cliff Notes on the Uttermost Boundary  according to what he believed to be correct.

Al-`Allamah an-Najdi stated,

“This understanding is necessary and it is judged that it is not required to pray the Zuhr prayer after the Jumu`ah. This has been mentioned in my notes on The Cliff Notes of Imam Al-Buhuti. So this statement is not far from the statement mentioned by the Imam, Al-Buhuti in the commentary.”

Taken from Al-`Uqud ul-Yaqutiyyatu fi Jayyid il-As’ilat il-Kuwaitiyyah, pp. 159-162

[1] d. 1051 AH. He is Mansur ibn Yunus ibn Salah ud-Din ibn Idris al-Buhuti al-Masri. The great marja` of Egypt, he was also a mathematician, barber, cobbler and wrote numerous books on different topics, including fiqh, philosophy, calculus and so forth. Imam Al-Buhuti, along with Imam Al-Karmi, is the foremost latter day sage in theology, fiqh and all temporal and spiritual matters.

[2] Ar. Al-Hashiyah: Irshad Uwl in-Nuha Li-Daqa’iq in-Muntaha.

[3] trans. note: The background to this question is very important and needs to be explained in a little bit of detail. In the Muslim heartlands, from where Islam spread, in the early generations the masjids were of different types. There was the masjid ul-bait (Eng. “house masjid,” this is a room set aside in someone’s home as a masjid, where a man and especially a woman would pray optional prayers and those coming before or after a prayer as these extra prayers were not performed in the masjid), the masjid ratib (Eng. “the weekly masjid,” where one would pray all five daily prayers every day. There is usually one of these in each Muslim neighbourhood) and then finally the masjid jami` (Eng. “the Central Masjid” of a city where the people pray jumu`ah prayer on Friday. The ratib masjids are left and the people pray jumu`ah at the jami` of their area).

The jami` in Kuwait (which at the time was the only one), began to fill up and become crowded, so this marja` asked the marja` of his time, Imam `Abdul Qadir ibn Badran ad-Dumi, whether it would be valid to have another jami` build for the purpose of carrying out another jumu`ah due to overcrowding. In the US, Canada and the UK, this ancient practice of the Sunnah is virtually non-existent and has a knock on effect for the validity of all the jumu`ahs. It is for this reason especially that the translator offers this ruling. The history and evidence of these different types of masjids can be found in the sources being quoted in the main body of the text and referenced in the footnotes.

[4] d. 620 AH. He is Muwaffaq ud-Din Abu Muhammad `Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi Al-Jamma`ili  an-Nabulsi. A scholar of fiqh, creed, inheritance, mathematics, astronomy and a decorated war hero during the Crusades Rebellion, he is the most authoritative voice in the school after Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, in the derivation of rulings and such. He is the preferred marja` over Imam Majd ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 653 AH).

[5] Al-Muqni` fi Fiqh il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal ash-Shaibani, Maktabat us-Sawad it-Tawzi,`  London (1421 AH), pp. 69-70.

[6] Please see the texts Al-Kafi fi Fiqh il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Dar ul-Fikr, Beirut (1412 AH), vol.1, pp. 255-256; Al-Mughni wash-Sharh ul-Kabir `ala Matn il-Muqni`, Dar ul-Fikr, Beirut (1401 AH) vol.2, pp. 181-192.

[7] The Grand Imam is either the senior marja` chosen by a group of maraji` or the khalifah that was appointed or chosen by one or several marja` people.

[8] What is meant by “ignorance” here is that the grand Imam and/or the marja` people have not given permission for more than one jumu`ah to be established in a locale.

[9] This is nearly a direct quotation from Al-Kafi fi Fiqh il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol.1, pp. 255-256.

[10] d. 653 AH. He is Abul Barakat Majd ud-Din `Abdus-Salam ibn `Abdullah ibn Abil Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Taymiyyah al-Harrani. The second highest voice in the school of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal after Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din ibn Qudamah, may Allah be pleased with him, his text Al-Muharrar is one of the foundational summation/commentary works of the latter day and is depended upon.

[11] Ar. Al-Muharrar fil-Fiqh

[12] Al-Muharrar fil-Fiqh, Dar ul-Kitab al-`Arabi, Beirut (1422 AH), vol.1, pp. 142-143.

[13] Ar. At-Tanqih. The author of this work is Imam `Ala’ ud-Din `Ali ibn Sulaiman ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Maqdisi al-Mardawi as-Sa`di (d. 885 AH). He was and lived in the age of the last of the mujtahidun al-murajjihun. He wrote books on intra-madhhab and exo-madhhab differences as well as foundational principles, theology and more.

[14] Ar. Al-Muntaha. The author of this work is Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf ibn Abu Bakr ibn Ahmad ibn Abu Bakr ibn Yusuf ibn Ahmad al-Karmi an-Nabulsi (d. 1033 AH). A marja` and avid writer on matters of theology, he is one of the two greatest voices in the latter days. His work, Al-Muntaha, is the foremost text in fiqh and all moral matters.

[15] 661-728 AH. He is Taqi ud-Din Ahmad ibn `Abdul Halim ibn `Abdus-Salam ibn Taymiyyah. A famous scholar of different disciplines, his father, cousins and grandparents on both sides were maraji` and were known for their piety. Although bearing a righteous standard in most issues, he had some eleven issues that required correction from contemporary and latter day maraji`.

[16] Al-Fatawa al-Masriyyah

[17] d. 972 AH. He is Taqi ud-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn `Abdul `Aziz ibn `Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Futuhi al-Masri. The famous Egyptian Judge and Marja`, the books of Al-Karmi and Al-Buhuti lean on his seminal work and commentary, Muntaha al-Iradat fi Jami` Ma` at-Tanqihi wa Ziyadat, and subsequent commentaries by the aforementioned cite him frequently. Known to friends as Ibn An-Najjar, many believe him to have been the greatest marja` from Egypt in centuries.

[18] Ar. Al-Mutaqaddimun. These are the scholars spanning the period 241-561 AH.

[19] Ar. Al-Muta’akh-khirun. These are the scholars from the time period 561-the current age. There is sometimes reference made to Al-Mutawassitun (the scholars of the middle age), but this is nothing more than a subset of the latter day scholars.

[20] Al-Hashiyah: Irshad Uwl in-Nuha Li-Daqa’iq in-Muntaha.

[21] Al-Hashiyah: Irshad Uwl in-Nuha Li-Daqa’iq in-Muntaha, Mu’assasat ur-Risalah, Damascus (1421 AH), vol.1, pp. 322-323.

[22] Ar. Al-Usul

[23] trans. note: meaning that if someone had a valid illness, i.e. flu, broken bones, absence from the city/county /town, requiring him to attend would cause hardship. In cases, such as this, someone could be excuse from Jumu`ah attendance.

[24] Ar. Tuhfat ul-Muhtaj

[25] Ar. Al-Minhaj

[26] What the marja` is saying is that even if Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami decided to rule that the wording is referring to the one required of Jumu`ah and not and the one whose presence validates the Jumu`ah, his own madhhab would have disagreed with him as the principles that they have do not support such a position. Imam `Abdul Qadir ibn Badran ad-Dumi is quoted this Imam, who is from another madhhab, as further evidence of the veracity of the ruling of Imam Mansur Al-Buhuti and agreement with it by other scholars. I would like to thank brother Mahdi Lock at for his assistance in presenting this passage from the Shafi`ii fiqh.

[27] d. 739 AH. He is `Abdul Mu’min ibn `Abdul Haqq ibn `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud Al-Qati`ii al-Baghdadi. Born in Baghdad to righteous parents, he studied hadith, comparative fiqh, usul ul-fiqh and numerous other sciences. The Imam wrote numerous works, such as Tahrir ul-Muqarrar fi Sharh il-Muharrar, the most authoritative text on the Muharrar by Imam Majd ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 653 AH). He is one of the great teachers of Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and a senior marja` of the latter day scholars.

[28] The Imam is referring to the end times in which the Muslims have to stay together and protect their ranks; one of the ways this can be done is by praying in congregation – which is compulsory for men – and also going to the gatherings to pious people. It is this point that the Imam is making.

[29] d. 1243 AH. He is Mustafa ibn Sa`d ibn `Abduh as-Suyuti ar-Ruhaibani. The marja` of his time and a direct student of the Shaikh of our Shaikhs, Hasan ash-Shatti (1274 AH), he became famous for his deep erudition and love of learning. If one looks at his commentary on the notes of Imam Al-Karmi’s Ghayat ul-Muntaha, his greatness can be realised.

[30] Matalib Uwl an-Nuha fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, Dar ul-Kitab il-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut (1430 AH), vol.2, pp. 52-53.

[31] Ar. Al-Iqna`.

[32] d. 1240 AH. He is Ghannam ibn Muhammad ibn Ghannam Az-Zubairi an-Najdi ad-Dimashqi. Born in Najd in Arabia but raised in Az-Zubair in Iraq, his main teacher was the great Imam, Marja` of his time, Muhammad ibn Fairuz al-Hanbali. After his learning and attending this teacher’s company for a number of years, he was declared marja` and began writing and giving rulings. He also opposed the wickedness of the movement of Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab, just like all of his teachers that had antedated him.

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