Muslims gather for congregational worship during Friday midday prayer time. Prayer is followed by a sermon (khutbah) from an imam or prayer leader. Friday prayer is required only for men, but women may attend.
Friday is called Yawm al-Jum’ah in Arabic, meaning the Day of Assembly. Muslims gather for congregational worship during the Friday midday prayer.
Jum’ah is not a “sabbath” on which no work is done; rather, Muslims take just enough time off from work or school to attend a service at a neighborhood masjid.
The Friday prayer is commanded by God in the Qur’an: “O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (The Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew!” (Surah 62:9, King Fahd trans.)
The Friday prayer is exactly like the ritual prayers, or salat, performed during the rest of the week, except that on Friday the imam or prayer leader delivers a two-part sermon known as the khutbah, with a pause between the two parts of the sermon to allow for a time of personal prayer, or du’a.
Whoever the community considers the most learned person in matters of religion can serve as the imam, since there exists no official “clergy” in Islam.
The imam usually reads and explains Qur’anic verses relevant to community concerns and encourages the congregation to remember their obligations to God and to each other, offering guidance and advice on how to live as a true Muslim in daily life.