Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
I was told that the four cycles before the Friday prayer are simply recommended and not an emphasized sunna.
Could clarify this for me?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
No, the four cycles (rak`ats) before the Friday Prayer (jumu`ah) are an emphasised sunna, and not simply recommended. (For the categorisation of legal rulings, please see: The Rulings of the Sacred Law)
This is what is transmitted in the primers (mutun) of the Hanafi School, and hence, is the relied upon (mu`tamad) position. A singular mention in another text isn’t, in and of itself, sufficient to establish a difference of opinion, let alone change the ruling entirely.
It is related from ‘A’isha’ (Allah be pleased with her) that, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not leave offering four cycles before the noon (zuhr) prayer.” [Bukhari]
As for the specific reference given, I didn’t come across it in my reading of the relevant section from the cited text. What he does relate, however, is that the sunna before the Friday Prayer is four cycles.
[Mawsili, al-Mukhtar li al-Fatwa (1.103); Kashghari, Munyat al-Musalli (216); Nasafi, Kanz al-Daqa’iq (176); Halabi, Multaqa al-Abhur (105); Mahbubi, al-Wiqaya (2.147); Sadr al-Shari`a, al-Nuqaya (1.327); Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.452)]
Please also see: The Status of Confirmed Sunna Prayers and:What Are the Confirmed Sunna and Non-Confirmed Sunna Prayers Associated With the Obligatory Prayers? and:The Sunnas Associated with the Obligatory Prayers
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.