Is the Friday Prayer Valid If I Miss the Sermon?

Answered by Shaykh Fayez Awad


Is the Friday prayer valid if I miss the sermon?


Praise be to Allah Most High. May the blessings and peace of Allah Most High be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, and his companions.

It is well known that Allah Most High has enjoined upon the believers to hasten to the mosques on Fridays for the prayer, as He says, “O believers! When the call to prayer is made on Friday, then proceed ˹diligently˺ to the remembrance of Allah and leave off ˹your˺ business. That is best for you, if only you knew.” [Quran, 62:9]

The Sermon Is the Remembrance of Allah Most High

The remembrance of Allah Most High referred to in this verse is the sermon (Khutba), as most scholars of Tafsir (Quranic exegesis) have mentioned.

The sermon (khutba) is a condition for the validity of the Friday prayer, according to most scholars, including the Shafi‘i school. [Kasani, Badai‘ al-Sanai‘; Ibn Shaas, Aqd al-Jawahir al-Thamīna fi Madhhab ‘Ālim al-Madīna; Nawawi, al-Majmū‘]

The Friday sermon holds great significance in the sight of Allah Most High, as it is an act of remembering and mentioning Him, as described in the Quran. It is considered one of Islam’s religious rites and acts of worship.

The Angels Bear Witness to the Friday Sermon

It is narrated in a sound hadith that the angels bear witness to the Friday sermon. Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “When it is Friday, the angels stand at every gate of the mosques to write the names of those who come first when the Imam sits on the pulpit. The example of the one who enters the mosque in the earliest hour is that of one offering a camel in sacrifice.

The one who enters the mosque in the second hour is like one offering a cow for sacrifice. The one who enters the mosque in the third hour is like one offering a ram with horns. The one who enters in the fourth hour is like one offering a hen. The one who enters in the fifth hour is like one offering an egg. When the Imam comes out, they (i.e., the angels) close their registers and start listening to the khutba (sermon).” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Attending the Friday prayer, especially early, holds a greater reward. Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states that the majority of scholars, including the Shafi‘i school, Ibn Habib al-Maliki (Allah have mercy on him), and many other scholars, recommend arriving early for the Friday prayer, preferably at the start of the day or during the early hours. “Ruwah” is generally understood to mean the time around sunrise and sunset. [Nawawi, Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim]

One Must Make an Effort to Attend the Friday Sermon

It is obligatory for a Muslim to make an effort to attend the Friday prayer to benefit from the sermon and its lessons. If someone arrives during the sermon, at its end, or after the prayer has already started, or missed a portion of the Friday prayer, their prayer is still valid.

Listening to the sermon is not a condition for the validity of the prayer. This is based on the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him), where the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said: “Whoever catches one rak’a of the Friday prayer has indeed caught it.”

Intentionally missing both parts of the Friday sermon is sinful, even though Friday prayer is still valid. The evidence for the obligation to attend the Friday prayer is that it prohibits engaging in trade during that time, and if it were not obligatory, such prohibition would not be in place. [Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Quran]

Recommended actions do not prohibit permissible ones.

However, if the person misses the Friday prayer, the regular (Dhuhr) prayer would compensate, although the person would have missed many blessings.

It is the duty of every Muslim not to neglect this significant ritual among the acts of worship in Islam.

May Allah Most High guide us to fulfill it, as He has authority and power over everything.