The Invalidity of Jumu’ah Salaat in Prison

[Majlisul Ulama]

Jumu’ah Salaat is not valid in a prison according to all four Math-habs.

The validity of Jumu’ah Salaat is  dependant on a variety of  conditions (Shuroot). Since the  condition of Ithnul Aam (General  Consent) is lacking in prison, Jumu’ah Salaat will not be valid according the Hanafi Math-hab.

In prison the following two  conditions are lacking according  to the Shaafi Mathhab:

1. Daarul Iqaamat.
2. Forty resident males to be  present in the Jamaat.

Thus, according to the Shaafi  Math-hab, Jumu’ah Salaat is not  valid in prison.

In terms of the Maaliki Math-hab  the following essential  conditions for the validity of Jumu’ah Salaat are lacking in a prison:

1. Isteetaan (Permanent residency).
2. Jaami’ Musjid.

Thus, according to the Maaliki  Math-hab, Jumu’ah Salaat is not  valid in prison.

According to the Hambali Math-hab, Jumu’ah Salaat in a prison is not valid because the condition of  forty adult males who are  permanent residents, is lacking. Prison is not the place of permanent residency.

Some argue that Jumu’ah in prison is valid because the prison authorities give their consent. This argument is utterly baseless. It is absolutely devoid of Shar’i substance. The validity of Jumu’ah does not require the consent of the kuffaar  prison authorities.  The  requisites of its validity are  the Shuroot prescribed by the Shariah.

The restricted consent of the  prison authorities (i.e. their  permitting the prisoners to  perform Jumu’ah Salaat in prison)  is NOT the Ithnul Aam stated in  the Hanafi Math-hab. The Ithnul  Aam prescribed by the Hanafi Math-hab refers to the General  Consent extended to the Muslim  public at large – that those  outside the prison enjoy the  unfettered freedom to enter the place where Jumu’ah Salaat is being performed.

The Fuqahaa have ruled in the  very inceptional stage of Islam  that Jumu’ah Salaat is not valid in  even a Muslim prison in Daarul  Islam in view of the lack of the condition of Ithnul Aam.


The following are the rulings of  the Shariah stated in the  authentic Books of Fiqh.

The term ‘Makrooh’ in the  context of this article means  Makrooh Tahrimi which refers to a  reprehensible act which is not  permissible. Its commission is sinful. It is a punishable offence.

(1) “It is Makrooh for the sick to  perform Zuhr with Jamaat on the  Day of Jumu’ah, and similarly is it  for the inmates of the prison.” (Qudoori, Kanzud Daqaaiq,  Sharhul Wiqaayah, Sagheeri, Hidaayah, etc.)

(2) “Verily, performance of Zuhr  with Jamaat is Makrooh on  Fridays without restriction (i.e.  for all those who are unable to  attend a valid Jumuah Salaat)…..  Verily, they should perform Zuhr  in the city without Athaan,  without Iqaamah and without  Jamaat.

Walwaalji stated that they should  not perform (Zuhr) on Fridays in a city with Jamaat; neither should  they give Athaan nor Iqaamah in prison and elsewhere (where  Jumu’ah is not valid). It is  preferable for the sick person to  delay (Zuhr) Salaat until the Imaam has completed Jumu’ah  Salaat. If he does not delay it, it  is Makrooh. This is the authentic  view.” (Bahrur Raa-iq)

(3) “It is Makrooh for the sick and  the prisoners to perform Zuhr  with Jamaat in the city (on  Fridays). This is narrated from  Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu)” (Tabyeenul Haqaa-iq)

(4) “It is Makrooh for the sick and  the prisoners to perform Zuhr  with Jamaat in the city on Friday  whether it be before the Jumu’ah  has completed or after it” (Ghunyatul Mutamalli fi Sharhi Munyatil Musalli)

(5) “It is Makrooh Tahreemi for  the sick, the prisoners and the traveller to perform Zuhr with  Jamaat in a city before and after  Jumu’ah…” (Ad-Durrul Mukhtaar)

(6) “It is said in Al-Waaljiyyah: On  Friday Jamaat of Zuhr Salaat should not be performed in  prison in a city nor should Athaan  be given nor Iqaamah.” (Raddul Mukhtaar)

(7) “It is preferred for the sick, the musaafir and the inmates of the prison to delay Zuhr until the  Imaam (in the city) has completed the Jumu’ah Salaat. If they do not  delay, then it will be Makrooh in  the authentic view. So does it  appear in Al-Wajeez  of  Al-Kardawi.” (Alamghiri)  

(8) “In the city Zuhr with Jamaat  is Makrooh for the sick and  others such as prisoners and travellers, whether before the  completion of the Imaam (in the  city) or after it. And, Zuhr Jamaat  of city inhabitants is Makrooh  (on Fridays) if they do not perform Jumu’ah because of  some obstacle.”    (Alamghiri)

(9) “Salaatuz Zuhr is Makrooh on the Day of Jumu’ah with Jamaat in the city in a prison or other than a prison. In this way has it been narrated from Hadhrat Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu), and in this manner has the practice been constant (down the ages)…..”      (Al-Badaaius Sanaa-i and Al-Mabsootus Sarakhsi)

(10) “Performance of Zuhr with  Jamaat in the city on Fridays is Makrooh for those who are  incapacitated such as the sick,  slaves, travellers and prisoners.  This has been narrated from  Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu).  This is so whether it is before  Jumu’ah Salaat (of the city) or after it.” (Haashiyah Tahtaawi)

The Ruling of the Hanafi Math-hab on this question should thus  be clearer than daylight for those who have any doubts in this regard.

The invalidity of Jumuah Salaat in  prison according to the Hanafi Math-hab is based on the absence of the condition of  ITHNUL AAM. The other three Math-habs have their own basis  and arguments for the invalidity  of Jumu’ah in prison.  

Ithnul Aam means permission for  the public to attend the Jumu’ah. Jumuah Salaat according to the  Hanafi Math-hab is not valid in a  place where this condition is  lacking. If any Muslim is debarred  from the venue of Jumu’ah Salaat  or the doors locked on the public, Jumu’ah will not be valid in such a place.

This is not the occasion to  provide the evidence of the Hanafi Math-hab for this condition. Here it will suffice to  state that Ithnul Aam is a Waajib condition, imperative for the  validity of Jumu’ah Salaat. The  Kitaab, Mathaahibul Ar’ba-ah, sums it up as follows:

“The seventh condition for the  validity of Jumu’ah is Ithnul Aam. Therefore, Jumu’ah will not be  valid in a place from which some  Musallis are debarred. If the  Imaam of Jumu’ah (or the king/  Sultan, etc.) performs Jumu’ah in  his house with his officials and  servants, then it will be valid although Makrooh. But the  condition (for its validity) is that  he opens up the doors of the  house and permits the people  (i.e. the public) to enter. Similar is  the case of the fort. Locking the  fort for fear of the enemy (attacking suddenly) will not  affect the validity if the people  (the public) have been given permission to enter.”

It should, however, be understood that although Jumu’ah Salaat in the fort of the Sultan is valid if permission is granted to the general public to enter, performing Jumu’ah there is  sinful. Al-Mabsoot of Imaam  Sarakhsi states as follows:

“If the Ameer opens the doors of  the palace, orders the Muath-thin  to call the Athaan and the people  assemble in the palace, then this  will suffice (i.e. for the validity of  Jumu’ah). The meaning of    opening the doors of the palace  is Ithnul Aam (granting permission to the public to  enter)…  But in doing so, he (the  Ameer) is sinful because the  place prepared for the performance of Jumu’ah is the  Musjid. He has thus abandoned  this place…Therefore, his act of  doing this is in conflict with the  Salaf, hence he is sinful. And, if he  does not open up the door of his palace and does not permit the public entry, and he performs the Salaat with his officials and  servants, then this will not suffice  for them because one of the  conditions of Jumu’ah is Ithnul Aam and this is lacking here.”

The aforegoing discussion makes it clear that:

(1)  Even if the condition of  Ithnul Aam is fulfilled, it is not permissible for the Sultan to  have Jumu’ah Salaat performed in  his palace or in the fort.

(2)  If the condition of Ithnul Aam  (permission for the public at  large to enter) is lacking, the  Jumu’ah Salaat performed at this  place will not be valid.

Now when this is the position of Jumu’ah Salaat in Daarul Islam where the Imaam is the Sultan, then what does the intelligence say regarding a mock Jumu’ah  conducted in a kaafir prison where outsiders are NOT allowed  to participate in Jumu’ah — where  the condition of Ithnul Aam is not met — where inmates are assaulted and treated like dogs or worse than dogs? The Qur’aan Majeed says:

“And, only the people of intelligence take lesson.”

Some Ulama have attempted to  legalize Jumu’ah in prison by  citing the example of the Sultan  performing Jumu’ah in his palace  or in a fort with his soldiers, etc. Their thinking is indeed something to lament about.

1)  Firstly, even when Ithnul Aam  exists and the public is not at all debarred from entry into the  palace at the time of Jumu’ah  Salaat, then too it is Makrooh  and not permissible to have  Jumu’ah performed there notwithstanding its validity.

2) Secondly, if the condition of  Ithnul Aam is lacking, Jumu’ah  Salaat will simply not be valid in  the palace or locked fort. At least  the Sultan/Khalifah’s fort or  palace has greater dignity and  honour than the filthy, brutal and immoral prisons of the kuffaar.

3) To compare the kuffaar prisons  with the Sultan’s palace/fort is  the height of absurdity. This analogy is utterly ridiculous.

4) All the Fuqahaa of the Salf-e-Saaliheen era — all the Ulama-e- Mutaqaddimeen and Ulama-e-Muta`akhkhireen were fully aware of the argument of the Sultan’s  fort/palace. Inspite of their  awareness, they unanimously ruled that there is no Jumu’ah for  prisoners in the prison.

5) This ruling of the invalidity of  Jumu’ah in prison is as old as  Islam. It is not a Ruling which can  be abrogated by the baatil  analogy and baseless opinions of some Ulama of this liberal age. All those, including Ulama, who  claim that Jumu’ah is valid in prison have absolutely no proof and no basis for their claim other than their personal opinion  which is in conflict with the clear-cut and unambiguous Ruling of the Fuqahaa on this question.


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