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Detailed discussion on the “hour of response” on Friday and the ruling on making the last prostration lengthy for the purpose of supplication (du‘a’)

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Question

Every Friday, in the last hour before sunset, which is expected to be the hour of response, when Allah responds to supplications, I make sure to go to the mosque and pray two rak‘ahs to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, to greet the mosque, then in the last prostration of the two rak‘ahs, I remain in prostration until sunset, offering supplication in my prostration, until the adhan is given for Maghrib, because this is a time of opportunity, the last hour on Friday when a response to supplication is more likely, and I want to increase the likelihood of a response when I am prostrating. Sometimes, if there is no reason to pray and it is a time when prayer is not allowed, I deliberately recite a surah in which there is a prostration, then I prostrate for an hour, until the adhan is given for Maghrib on Friday. I used to offer supplication and prostrate for a long time, until someone came to me one day after I got up and made me doubt what I had been doing, and he hinted to me that it is an innovation (bid‘ah). Is it really an innovation? Even though my intention is to offer supplication during the time of response, which is the last hour of Friday. I pray when I am prostrating, combining two opportunities in which a response is likely, and this is basically my intention.

Every Friday, in the last hour before sunset, which is expected to be the hour of response, when Allah responds to supplications, I make sure to go to the mosque and pray two rak‘ahs to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, to greet the mosque, then in the last prostration of the two rak‘ahs, I remain in prostration until sunset, offering supplication in my prostration, until the adhan is given for Maghrib, because this is a time of opportunity, the last hour on Friday when a response to supplication is more likely, and I want to increase the likelihood of a response when I am prostrating. Sometimes, if there is no reason to pray and it is a time when prayer is not allowed, I deliberately recite a surah in which there is a prostration, then I prostrate for an hour, until the adhan is given for Maghrib on Friday. I used to offer supplication and prostrate for a long time, until someone came to me one day after I got up and made me doubt what I had been doing, and he hinted to me that it is an innovation (bid‘ah). Is it really an innovation? Even though my intention is to offer supplication during the time of response, which is the last hour of Friday. I pray when I am prostrating, combining two opportunities in which a response is likely, and this is basically my intention.

Praise be to Allah.

Firstly:

The scholars differed regarding the definition of the hour of response on Friday, and there are many views. The strongest of these views in terms of evidence are that it is the time between the adhan of Jumu‘ah and the end of Jumu‘ah prayer, and that it is the time after ‘Asr until the sun sets. There is evidence in the Sunnah for both of these times, and there are scholars who support each of them.

A. The evidence for the first view is the hadith of Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say – regarding the hour on Friday –: “It is the time between the moment when the imam sits down [on the minbar] until the [Jumu‘ah] prayer ends.” Narrated by Muslim (853).

The scholars who hold this view are many. Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The early generations differed as to which of the two views is more likely to be correct. Al-Bayhaqi narrated via Abu’l-Fadl Ahmad ibn Salamah an-Nisaburi that Muslim said: The hadith of Abu Musa is the best and most sound hadith regarding this matter. This was also the view of al-Bayhaqi, Ibn al-‘Arabi and a number of others. Al-Qurtubi said: This is a clear text regarding an issue concerning which the scholars differed, so no attention should be paid to anything else. An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It is the only sound view, and it is stated definitively in ar-Rawdah that it is the correct view. It is also deemed more likely to be correct because it is attributed directly to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and is clear, and is found in one of the two Sahihs.”(Fath al-Bari  2/421).

B. With regard to the evidence for the second view, it is the hadith of Jabir ibn ‘Abdillah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Friday is twelve hours, in which there is no Muslim who asks Allah for something but He will grant him it, so seek it in the last hour after ‘Asr.” Narrated by Abu Dawud (1048) and an-Nasa’i (1389). Classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih Abi Dawud and by an-Nawawi in al-Majmu‘ (4/471).

The scholars who hold this view are also many; foremost among them are the two Companions Abu Hurayrah and ‘Abdullah ibn Salam (may Allah be pleased with them both).

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajr (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Others are of the view that the report of ‘Abdullah ibn Salam is more likely to be correct. At-Tirmidhi narrated from Ahmad that he said: Most of the hadiths support that. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: It is the soundest view regarding this matter. Sa‘id ibn Mansur narrated with a sahih isnad going back to Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman that some of the Sahabah met and discussed the hour on Friday, then they parted and did not disagree on the view that it is the last hour on Friday. Many of the leading scholars also thought that this was most likely to be correct, such as Ahmad and Ishaq and, among the Malikis, at-Tartushi. Al-‘Ala’i narrated that his shaykh, Ibn az-Zamalkani – the shaykh of the Shafa‘is at that time – favoured this view, and narrated it based on a statement of ash-Shafa‘i.”(Fath al-Bari  2/421).

There is the hope that each of these two hours is a time when supplications are answered.

Imam Ahmad said: Most of the hadiths about the hour [on Friday] during which there is the hope that supplications will be answered say that it is after ‘Asr prayer, and it is to be sought starting from after the sun has passed the meridian. This was narrated from him by at-Tirmidhi.

Sunan at-Tirmidhi (2/360).

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

In my view, the hour of the [Jumu‘ah] prayer is also an hour in which there is the hope that supplications will be answered. Both of them are times when there is the hope of response, even though the specific hour in that regard is the last hour after ‘Asr, because it is a specific hour of the day and cannot be brought forward or put back. As for the hour of the prayer, it is connected to the prayer, whether the prayer is brought forward or delayed, because the gathering of the Muslims, their prayer, and their beseeching and supplicating Allah, may He be exalted, all have an impact in bringing a response, so the hour of their gathering is an hour in which there is the hope that their supplications will be answered.

All the hadiths are agreed on that, and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) urged his ummah to offer supplication and beseech Allah, may He be exalted, at these two times.”(Zad al-Ma‘ad  1/394).

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

In some of the reports narrated by Muslim it says that it is “when the imam sits down on the minbar on Friday, until the prayer ends.” This is how it is narrated in Sahih Muslim from Abu Musa in a marfu‘ hadith (directly attributed to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)). Some of the scholars critiqued this report by saying that these are the words of Abu Burdah ibn Abi Musa and they are not to be attributed to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). However, the correct view is that they are proven to be the Prophet’s words. It is also mentioned in the hadiths narrated from Jabir ibn ‘Abdillah and ‘Abdullah ibn Salam that it is between ‘Asr prayer and sunset. It says in some hadiths that it is the last hour of Friday. All of these reports are sound and there is no contradiction between them. What is most likely, and what gives the greatest hope of a response, is that it is from when the imam sits down on the minbar until the end of the prayer, and from after ‘Asr prayer until sunset. These are the times that are most likely to be the hour of response, and regarding the other times on Friday, there is hope that all of them may be a time when supplications are answered, but the most likely times are from when the imam sits down on the minbar until the end of the prayer, and from after ‘Asr prayer until sunset. These are the times that are most likely to be the hour of response, and regarding the other times on Friday, there is hope that all of them may be a time when supplications are answered, because of the general meaning of some of the hadiths which speak of that. So the Muslim should offer a great deal of supplication on Friday, in the hope that it will coincide with this blessed hour, but he should pay more attention to the three times mentioned above, because the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) stated that that is the hour of response.”(Fatawa ash-Shaykh Ibn Baz  12/401, 402).

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The hour on Friday in which there is the greatest hope of a response to supplication is the time of the prayer, for several reasons:

1. Because that is mentioned in Sahih Muslim, in the hadith of Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari (may Allah be pleased with him).

2. Because this gathering of the Muslims to perform one act of worship behind one leader, namely one imam, is the gathering in which a response to supplication is most likely. Hence on the day of ‘Arafah when the Muslims gather in the plain of ‘Arafah, Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, descends to the lowest heaven; He boasts of them to the angels and answers their supplications. Hence you should be keen to offer supplication at this time, which is the time of Jumu‘ah prayer. But when does this hour begin and when does it end? It begins when the imam enters the mosque and lasts until prayer ends. So now let us look at when we should offer supplication. The imam enters the mosque and greets the people with salaam, after which comes the adhan. There is no supplication during the adhan, because one should respond to the mu’adhdhin [by repeating what he says]. After the adhan there is supplication, and between the adhan and the khutbah there is supplication. You should say after the adhan: “Allahumma Rabba hadhihi’d-da‘wat it-tammah wa’s-salat il-qa’imah, ati Muhammadan il-wasilata wa’l-fadilah, wab‘athhu Allahumma maqaman mahmudan illadhi wa‘adtah innaka la tukhlif ul-mi‘ad (O Allah, Lord of this perfect call and the prayer to be offered, grant Muhammad the privilege (of intercession) and also the eminence, and resurrect him, O Allah, to the praised position that You have promised, for You do not break Your promise).” Then you may offer whatever supplication you wish, so long as the khatib has not started the khutbah; you have an opportunity, so call upon Allah and ask for whatever you wish. Similarly, between the two khutbahs, you may offer whatever supplication you wish, asking Allah for the best of this world and the hereafter. And you may do the same during the prayer, when prostrating, because “The closest a person is to his Lord is when he is prostrating,” as it was soundly narrated from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that the closest you can be to the Lord is when you are prostrating.

But there is a another time for offering supplication during the prayer, which is after the tashahhud, as is mentioned in the hadith of Ibn Mas‘ud, in which the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) mentioned the tashahhud, then said: “Then let him choose whatever supplication he wishes.” According to the scholars of usul, the phrase “whatever he wishes” is general in meaning.

Now we have a time when supplications are answered, which is the time of Jumu‘ah prayer, so make the most of this opportunity by offering supplication during Jumu‘ah prayer, in the hope that it will coincide with the “hour of response.”

There is also another time, on the same day, when there is the hope that supplications will be answered. It is from after ‘Asr until the sun sets, but some of the scholars had some reservations about this view, noting that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “and he stands and prays,” but after ‘Asr there is no prayer. Other scholars responded by saying that the one who is waiting for the prayer is like one who is praying, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him said: “[A person] is in a state of prayer so long as he is waiting for the prayer.””(Durus wa Fatawa al-Haram al-Madani, 1416 AH).

Regarding the Prophet’s words, “and he stands and prays” when the time after ‘Asr is not a time for prayer, there are two possible meanings for these words of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) “and he stands and prays”:

a. It may be that what is meant is sitting and waiting for the prayer, which according to Islamic teachings is regarded as being in a state of prayer.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said to him– i.e., to ‘Abdullah ibn Salam – Tell me about it. ‘Abdullah ibn Salam said: It is the last hour on Friday. I said: How can it be the last hour of Friday when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No Muslim happens to pray at that time,” but there is no prayer at that time. ‘Abdullah ibn Salam said: Didn’t the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever sits waiting for the prayer is in a state of prayer until he prays”? I said: Yes. He said: Then that is the answer.

Narrated by at-Tirmidhi (491), Abu Dawud (1046) and an-Nasa’i (1430); classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih Abu Dawud.

b. Or it may be that what is meant is offering supplication, because salah (prayer) in Arabic may also refer to du‘a’ (supplication).

Badr ad-Din al-‘Ayni (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

This indicates that what is meant by prayer (salah) is supplication (du ‘a’), and what is meant by standing is persisting, not actually standing upright.”(‘Umdat al-Qari Sharh al-Bukhari  6/242).

So what is meant by “and he stands and prays” is when he is persisting in offering supplication.

So for the one who wants to seek the time when supplications are answered after ‘Asr on Friday, there are several ways of doing that, including the following:

1. Remaining in the mosque after ‘Asr prayer and not leaving it, and offering supplication. That is especially important in the last hour after ‘Asr, and this is the highest in status.

When Sa‘id ibn Jubayr had prayed ‘Asr, he would not speak to anyone until the sun set.

2. Going to the mosque some time before Maghrib, then praying two rak‘ahs to greet the mosque (tahiyyat al-masjid) and offering supplication until the last hour of ‘Asr time. This is medium in status.

3. Sitting in some place – in his house or elsewhere – calling upon his Lord, may He be exalted, during the last hour of ‘Asr time. This is the lowest in status.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked:

If someone wants to catch up with the last hour of Friday to offer supplication and ask of Allah, does he have to remain in the place in which he prayed ‘Asr, or could he be at home or in another mosque?

He replied:

What appears to be the case is that the hadiths are general in meaning, and that if someone offers supplication during the “time of response”, there is the hope that his supplication will be answered in the last hour of Friday. There is the hope that his supplication will be answered, but if he is waiting for the prayer in the mosque in which he intends to pray Maghrib, the hope is greater, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “and he stands and prays” – narrated by al-Bukhari – and the one who is waiting for the prayer is like one who is praying. If he is in a state of prayer, there is greater hope of receiving a response, because the one who is waiting for the prayer is like one who is praying. But if he is sick and he does that in his house, there is nothing wrong with that, or if a woman is in her house and she sits waiting to pray Maghrib in her prayer place, or the sick person sits in his prayer place and offer supplication in the afternoon of Friday, there is the hope of a response. This is what is prescribed, if someone wants to offer supplication, he may go early to the mosque in which he intends to pray Maghrib and sit, waiting for the prayer and offering supplication.”(Fatawa Ibn Baz  30/270, 271).

Based on that, what you are doing is wrong on two counts:

a. Your thinking that the prayer referred to in the hadith is prayer (salah) with bowing and prostrating. Rather what is meant is waiting for the prayer or persisting in offering supplication, as noted above.

b. Making the second prostration in the two rak‘ahs to greet the mosque lengthy is contrary to the practice of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) in his prayer. His practice when praying was to make the actions of the prayer almost equal in length. In the answer to question no. 111889, we explained that making the last prostration in the prayer lengthy for the purpose of offering supplication is contrary to the practice of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).

And Allah knows best.

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