What is the day of congregation?

Anti Islamic missionaries allege that the Qur’an nowhere states that the Muslim holy day is Friday. They also allege that according to the Qur’an, Muslims are not commanded to pray even the five compulsory prayers, let alone Friday. Finally they conclude that according to the Qur’an, the Islamic holy day is Sabbath i.e. Saturday.

We will divide the article into three parts each part addressing each allegation.

1) What is the day of congregation?

The word used in the Qur’an for Friday is ‘yawm al jum’ah’ which literally means ‘the day of assembly or congregation’. The Arabic word jum’ah is also a day of the week i.e. Friday. The query is answered by this simple statement. Nevertheless let’s look at an example. Sunday literally means the day of the Sun or Monday literally means the day of the moon.

Please note that we all call the days by these names even if we don’t worship the sun or the moon.

Now if, for example, a brainwashed Islam hating missionary invites his fellow Islam hating missionary for lunch on  Sunday i.e. ‘the day of the sun’ and the other does not show up saying that the sky was cloudy and the sun was not visible and so he couldn’t come, what would such a person be called? A downright idiot wouldn’t be an overstatement. Similarly, if Muslims pray the Friday prayers on Friday, which also means, ‘the day of congregation, then there appears to be no problem except to the downright idiots, to say the least. If the anti Islamics can prove that the word ‘Jum’ah’ is only used by Muslims and its meaning is only limited to the Muslims, then we will accept that their allegation carries weight but this is not the case. Christian Arabs also use the word ‘Jum’ah’ for Friday and if they were reading the Qur’an in Arabic, they would know that the prayer mentioned on the day of congregation is the Friday prayer.

2) Where does the Qur’an command to pray Friday prayers or five daily prayers?

30:17 – So (give) glory to Allah, when ye reach eventide and when ye rise in the morning;

30:18 – [This Ayah clearly addresses the midday prayers Zuhr and Asr]
Yea, to Him be praise, in the heavens and on earth; and in the late afternoon and when the day begins to decline.

2:238 – [Ayah about the Asr prayer]
Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).

2:239 – If ye fear (an enemy), pray on foot, or riding, (as may be most convenient), but when ye are in security, celebrate Allah’s praises in the manner He has taught you, which ye knew not (before).

62:9 [Clearly there is a weekly day of congregation, and the prayer IS during the daytime, because it mentions leaving business, and as another Ayah (73:7) confirms that the day time is for business.]
O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer onFriday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew!

62:10 – [Again, a confirmation that the prayer takes place during broad daylight during business hours, obviously not before the sunrise (fajr), and not after dark (Isha).]
And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.

62:11 – But when they see some bargain or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it, and leave thee standing. Say: “The (blessing) from the Presence of Allah is better than any amusement or bargain! and Allah is the Best to provide (for all needs).”

73:6 – [This Ayah reveals why the waking up for Fajr (pre dawn) and Isha (night) prayers is very important and mentioned much throughout the Qur’an, but it does not mean that they are the only prescribed prayers].
Truly the rising by night is most potent for governing (the soul), and most suitable for (framing) the Word (of Prayer and Praise).

73:7 – True, there is for thee by day prolonged occupation with ordinary duties:

73:8 – But keep in remembrance the name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him whole-heartedly.

73:9 – (He is) Lord of the East and the West: there is no god but He: take Him therefore for (thy) Disposer of Affairs.

4:103 – When ye pass (Congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah’s praises, standing, sitting down, or lying down on your sides; but when ye are free from danger, set up Regular Prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.

3) Is Islamic holy day the day of Sabbath i.e. Saturday?

Anti Islamic missionaries quote a number of verses from the Qur’an highlighting the significance of Sabbath to the previous nations and claim that since this day was important, this is the day of congregation (Friday) of the Muslims mentioned in 62:9. Even though the first section refutes this silly claim, we shall discuss it a little further here. If we take the literal meaning of the words ‘yaum al jum’ah’ i.e. day of congregation and take it to mean Sabbath (Saturday), then we will be going against the Qur’an 62:9 which orders the believers to go and pray on the day of congregation. Sabbath was supposed to be a resting day, avoiding all work whereas according to the Qur’an, on the day of congregation, the believers are to leave their work and come to prayer and then go back to carry on with their works. Such a practice on Sabbath would have been considered blasphemous by the previously guided nation.

Please also note that the missionaries who claim that Muslims should change their holy day to Saturday haven’t proven that Sabbath falls on Saturday. If we use their twisted logic, Sabbath could even turn out to be Friday, you never know.

Indeed, Allah knows best.

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