Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam
Question: What should one do if he misses three jumu’ah prayers in a row due to lunch time meetings at work? Has he lost his shahadah? He is not chronically negligent of jumuah but it just so happened that he did miss three in a row out this once.
Answer : Friday prayer is personally obligatory (Fard Ayn) upon every Muslim. It has been established from the Qur’an, Sunnah and the consensus of the Ummah. It is one of the most important features of Islam. The one who rejects it is a Kafir and the one who misses it without a valid excuse is a Fasiq.
Allah Almighty says:
“O, you who believe! When the call for Friday prayer is made, hasten towards the remembrance of Allah (Prayer and Khutba) and leave all transactions. This is best for you if you know.” (Surah al-Jumu’ah, V.9)
Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar and Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with them both) narrate that they heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) say on the planks of his pulpit: “People must cease from abandoning the Friday prayers or Allah will seal their hearts and then they will be among the negligent.” (Sahih Muslim, no. 865)
Abu Ja’d al-Dhamri (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Whosoever misses three Jumu’ah prayers by taking the matter lightly, Allah will seal his heart.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan Tirmidhi, Sunan Nasa’i, Sunan Ibn Majah and al-Darami)
The importance of the Friday prayer is evident from the abovementioned. A Muslim should, therefore, never attempt to miss it. To miss even one Jumu’ah prayer without a legally valid excuse is highly sinful, and to miss three is totally unacceptable, with Allah Most High sealing the heart of the transgressor due to which no good enters his heart.
However, missing the Jumu’ah prayer does not entail one leaving Islam, as is the case with all unlawful and sinful acts. According to the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, a sin does not take one out of the fold of Islam, rather one becomes sinful.
Thus, leaving three Jumu’ahs will not be considered disbelief (kufr), in that one will not have to repeat the Shahadah and renew one’s Iman. However, if one rejects the obligation of the Friday prayer (Mustaheel) or takes the matter lightly in a mocking way (istikhfaf), then one will come out of the fold of Islam. (See the major books on Islamic Creed and the commentaries of the major Hadith collections)
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK