[By Mufti Ibrahim Desai]
Allah Taala commands us in the Holy Qur’aan:
“When the Qur’aan is read, listen to it with attention and hold your peace: that ye may receive mercy.” [Verse 204, Surah Al-A’araaf]
Many commentators like of Mujaahid, Ibn Juraij and Saeed ibnul Musayib are of the opinion that the above verse also refers to the period of the Jumu’ah Khutba and Salaat. [Tafseer Ibn Kathir – vol 2]
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has also mentioned: “When one of you enters the masjid whilst the imaam is on the pulpit (delivering the khutba) then he should not perform any salaat nor should he speak until the imaam completes (the sermon).” [Tabrani]
A hadith in Musnad Ahmad also suggests that when one enters the Musjid for Salaatul-Jumu’ah and the imam has already commenced the sermon, then one should sit down and listen attentively to the sermon and not perform any salaat. [Musnad Ahmad pg. 75, vol 5]
The above has been the practise of many eminent Sahabah and Tabi’een such as Hazrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu), ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu), Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu), Imam Malik, Laith, Abu-Hanifa,Thawri, Ibn Sireen (rahimahumullah). [Sharh Muslim -Pg 287, vol 1 / Musannaf ibn abi Shaybah Pg.20, vol 2]
However, Imaam Shafi’i and Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahumullah), are of the opinion that it is mustahab (preferable) for one who arrives after the khateeb has commenced his sermon to perform his Tahiyyatul-musjid. [Sharh Muslim- Nawawi, p.g 287]. They have based their view on the strength of an incident that occurred with Hazrat Sulaik Al-Ghatfani (radhiyallahu anhu).
Hazrat Jabir (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Sulaik Al-Ghatfani (radhiyallahu anhu) entered whilst Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayh wasallam) was delivering the Friday sermon and sat down. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) enquired of him if he had performed his salaat. When he replied in the negative, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then ordered him with the following:
a) to stand up
b) perform 2 rakaats (nafl-salaat)
c) keep the salaat brief. [Kitaabul-Jumuah – Sahih Muslim P.g 287, Vol-1]
The majority of the scholars who do not hold the same view as Imaam Shafi’i & Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahumullah), explain the above hadith to be a special case concerning Hazrat Sulaik (radhiyallahu anhu) only.
This line of reasoning has been supported by a narration of Hazrat Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had ordered him to offer his 2 rakaats of salaat. He (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) encouraged the sahaabah to be charitable towards him, upon seeing his down-trodden condition. [Kitaabul- Jumu’ah, Nasaai, Pg.208, vol 1]
Hence, the deduction of these scholars indicates that the reason for Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam’s) ordering him to perform his salaat was for the sahaabah to notice his pitiable, poor and downtrodden condition. In this way Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) encouraged charity towards him.
Notwithstanding the above incident, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) never commanded any other late-comer to stand up and perform his tahiyyatul-musjid, as he commanded Hazrat Sulaik (radhiyallahu anhu).
There are many incidents which substantiate this view, where a late-comer was not commanded by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to offer his salaat. To the contrary he was instructed to sit down and not cause any inconvenience to others. [Nasaai– p.g 207]
Some narrations also mention that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stopped his sermon, waited for Hazrat Sulaik (radhiyallahu anhu) and resumed his sermon after he had completed his salaat. [Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, pg.20, vol.2]
This clearly indicates that Hadhrat Sulaik (radhiyallahu anhu) did not perform his 2 rakaats during the sermon. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had also asked him to make his salaat brief (whilst he waited for him). This also emphasizes the importance of listening to the sermon.
In fact, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited any other activity during the sermon, so that one listens to the advices of the sermon. Even commanding someone with good during the sermon was prohibited, although it is normally wajib act. Hence, if a wajib act was not permitted, then how will a nafl act be given preference over it? [Al Bahr ur raa’iq, p.g 271, vol 2]
From the above, it can be concluded that it is advisable for the late-comer to sit down and listen to the Friday Sermon and not to engage in any nafl salaat. This viewpoint is strongly supported by the majority of the eminent and pious predecessors.
Even, great scholars like Imaam Shafi’i & Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal are of the opinion that at the most, it is sunnat (and not compulsory) for the late-comer to perform the tahiyyatul-musjid, during the sermon. [Al fiqhul Islaami wa adillatuhu – p.g 297, vol. 2]
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.