Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
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Is Offering Friday Prayers Religiously Useful Now

Question:
Is offering the Friday prayer compulsory, even though the state does not organize it, it is not lead by the ruler and, in most cases, the sermon is full of sectarian content? What is the point of offering the Friday prayer if one only goes to the mosque just before or during the Arabic sermon?

Response:
I think you are right that the existing structure of the Friday prayer is not in conformity with the ideals of Islam. It has to be state-administered to make it meaningful and rightfully Islamic in spirit. The analogy normally drawn to justify the present form of Friday prayers is that of the symbolic wudu (tayammum). This Wudu is performed in the absence of water. It does not wash parts of the body but it retains and fosters the significance of wudu as a daily practice. The Friday Prayer can be seen in a similar light. We need to continue maintaining minimum contact with its distorted version, while believing in spirit, that ultimately the real Friday prayer will be revived. If we discard its present form, we risk forgetting the original completely and this would signify a tremendous loss to our faith. Therefore, the need of the hour is to perform, whatever degenerated form of the prayer remains, while hoping and striving for the real and authentic version to be put into practice, Inshallah. Besides, let’s also endeavor to ensure that, this less-than-ideal form of the Friday prayer, does not plummet to such an extent that it begins to corrupt the morals and religious tastes of the masses.

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