In the Name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful All Praise is due to Allah Lord and Sustainer of the Worlds Blessings and Peace be upon the Mercy to the Worlds our Master the Messenger of Allah Muhammad and upon his family, companions and true followers until the Day of Judgment.
Occasionally Eid occurs on the day of Jummah and two khutbahs are recited on the same day. Ever since the days of the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) both Jummah and Eid Salah have been read in the Jamia Masjids and Khutbahs read for both prayers. However recently people have on these occasions abandoned the Jummah prayers even going so far as to claim that the practice of praying Jummah prayer on the Day of Eid is Bid’ah- a condemned innovation that directly contradicts the religion as the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) taught it and warning others of performing this ‘sin.’ We need to be very careful in where we take our legal rulings from, reading some verses of the Qur’an or hadith books does not make someone an expert in the religion.
The Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) said: “Indeed the Ulema are the inheritors of the Prophets,” (Sahih Bukhari) In other words the religion is passed down from a qualified teacher to his students who then examines them and certifies them when they themselves are qualified to teach others, just like an inheritance is passed from generation to generation between people who are closely related as a trust. In fact in our times religious rulings have become for us a case of Chinese whispers where someone heard something from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from Shaykh so-and-so. We boast of the isnad system whereby every hadith narrator’s trustworthiness, intelligence and strength of memory were checked so as to find out the authenticity of the narration and yet we take our religious rulings from here, there and everywhere without checking whether the rule we are taking comes from someone qualified to give Shariah rulings. Can we truly claim to be people of taqwa- God consciousness when we take His rulings so casually. The tragedy of this particular ruling is that there is no saying of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) which forbids people to pray Jummah when it coincides with Eid, nor even a saying which indicates that it is disliked, there are three authentic sayings on the subject as detailed below:
1. Sayyidina Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan (May Allah be pleased with him) asked Sayyidina Zayd Ibn Arqam (May Allah be pleased with him): “Did you witness with the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon him) two ‘Eids coinciding on one day (meaning the ‘Eid of Jumu’ah with either ‘Eid-ul-Fitr or ‘Eid-ul-Adhaa)?” Sayyidina Zayd Ibn Arqam replied: “Yes.” So Sayyidina Mu’awiyah (May Allah be pleased with him) asked, “How did he perform it?” Sayyidina Zayd replied: “He prayed the ‘Eid, and then he made the Jumu’ah optional and said, ‘Whoever desires to pray, then let him pray.’”
(Narrated by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmed)
2. Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be and Blessings be upon him) said: “Indeed, two ‘Eids have been combined on this day of yours, so whoever desires then he is free from the obligation of Jumu’ah, although we are gathering.”
(Narrated by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Al-Bayhaqi)
3. Sayyidina ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that two ‘Eids happened to coincide on the same day during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon him), so he prayed (the ‘Eid prayer) with the people, and then said: “Whoever desires to attend the Jumu’ah (prayer) then let him attend; and whoever desires to stay behind (meaning not attend), then let him stay behind.”
(Narrated by Ibn Majah)
As we can see none of these hadith prohibits praying the Jummah Prayer on the same day as Eid. Rather an option is given to read Jummah or to leave it, but to whom? The majority of the scholars following the opinions of the three Imams Abu Hanifah, Malik and Ash-Shafi (May Allah have mercy on them) said that the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) was not addressing the people of Madinah but rather he was addressing the people of the villages and outlying districts. This was because the ruling concerning Jummah and Eid is that originally these prayers are only to be prayed in the cities and people from the villages should come to the cities to pray these prayers. As detaining the villagers after Eid until Jummah would make it harder for them to enjoy the day and celebrate, the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing be upon him) gave them permission to return to their villages after Eid and leave the Jummah prayer. This is supported by the fact that in the second hadith quoted above, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said “We are gathering.” In other words he (peace and blessings be upon him) and the people of Madinah were going to pray the Jummah prayer.
So according to the majority of the Ulema, Jummah remained obligatory for the city dwellers and was only optional for those who had travelled into the city for Eid and even then it was better for them to stay and get the reward of the Jummah prayer. Some scholars following the opinion of Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him) including those scholars who in modern times give themselves the title “Salafi” interpreted the above hadiths generally and said that the Jummah prayer was optional yet recommended for all- city dwellers and villagers. However there are neither hadith to support the notion that praying Jummah on Eid day is something the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) did not perform nor any that show that he forbade people from doing so. Neither has any scholar ever passed such a legal ruling.
If people missed the Jummah prayer this time, then let them take comfort from the interpretation of Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him) that the prayer was optional, but let them be aware they are missing the reward of a recommended action and according to the majority an obligation which if missed will incur sin. Let all be clear that this is not a Bid’ah and that if we have passed on erroneous information we correct those we misled as well as correcting ourselves and repenting for our errors. And success lies with Allah Almighty. We end with Praise to Allah Lord of the Worlds and Peace upon the Messengers.
Shaykh Ismaeel De Silva