If `Eid is on Friday, do We Pray the Friday Prayer?
Answered by Imam Mustafa `Umar
Scholars, past and present, have differed over whether the Friday Prayer remains an obligation on adult males or not. These are the three opinions and who held them:
Opinion 1: Whoever prays Eid must also pray the Friday prayer if it is normally binding on him.
Opinion 2: People living in isolated areas coming from out of town to attend the Eid prayer are exempted from the Friday Prayer. This is the opinion of: Abu Hanifa, Malik, and Shafi’i.
Opinion 3: Whoever performs Eid is exempted from the obligation of Friday prayer. This is the opinion of: Ahmad, Shu’ba, Nakh’i, Awza’i, Sayyid Sabiq, and Ibn Taymiyah.
Now we will present the evidence and reasoning for these opinions.
Reasoning behind Opinion #1
The verse in the Qur’an ordering people to pray the Friday Prayer is crystal clear:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِنْ يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ“O you who believe: When the Prayer is called for Friday hasten toward the remembrance of Allah and leave your business. That is better for you, if only you knew.” (62:9)
The commandment in this verse, and other statements of the Prophet about the necessity of Friday Prayer, are not to be overridden by any reports (ahadith) which indicate something different unless they are of rigorous authenticity. If there are any reports that the Prophet made an exception they should be confirmed by more than one Companion because this is not something that would only be heard by one person. Also, there should be no reason for one obligation to drop because of another.
Reasoning behind Opinion #2
There is an authentic report that indicates that the second Khalifah, Uthman, gave permission for some people to skip the Friday Prayer:
ثُمَّ شَهِدْتُ الْعِيدَ مَعَ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عَفَّانَ فَكَانَ ذَلِكَ يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ فَصَلَّى قَبْلَ الْخُطْبَةِ ثُمَّ خَطَبَ فَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ هَذَا يَوْمٌ قَدْ اجْتَمَعَ لَكُمْ فِيهِ عِيدَانِ
فَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يَنْتَظِرَ الْجُمُعَةَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْعَوَالِي فَلْيَنْتَظِرْ وَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يَرْجِعَ فَقَدْ أَذِنْتُ لَهُ (البخاري والموطأ واللفظ للبخاري“
…then I witnessed the Eid with Uthman ibn ‘Affan, and that was on Friday. He prayed before the sermon (khutbah) then gave a speech and said: ‘O people. This is a day where two Eids have fallen on the same day. So whoever from amongst the people of the outskirts of Madinah wants to wait for the Friday Prayer, they may; and whoever wants to return (home), I have given them permission.” (Bukhari, Muwatta’)
Uthman clearly only excused the people who lived outside of Madinah. Since the ruling did not apply to everyone, it must only be those people who live on the outskirts of the city and rural areas that are allowed the option of praying the Friday prayer.
Reasoning behind Opinion #3There is evidence which indicates that the Friday Prayer is optional when Eid falls on a Friday:
ثُمَّ شَهِدْتُ الْعِيدَ مَعَ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عَفَّانَ فَكَانَ ذَلِكَ يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ فَصَلَّى قَبْلَ الْخُطْبَةِ ثُمَّ خَطَبَ فَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ هَذَا يَوْمٌ قَدْ اجْتَمَعَ لَكُمْ فِيهِ عِيدَانِ فَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يَنْتَظِرَ الْجُمُعَةَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْعَوَالِي فَلْيَنْتَظِرْ وَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يَرْجِعَ فَقَدْ أَذِنْتُ لَهُ (البخاري والموطأ واللفظ)“Two Eids were on the same day during the time of Ibn az-Zubayr. He delayed people from coming out until the daylight had spread. Then he came out and gave a sermon, and made it long. Then he descended and prayed while the people did not pray the Friday Prayer on that day. This was then mentioned to Ibn ‘Abbas who said: ‘He has acted according to the Sunnah [the way of the Prophet]’” (an-Nasa’i)
Clearly, there is a legitimate difference of opinion over the issue. However, it should be kept in mind that it is a fact that the Messenger of Allah used to pray it, and obviously this implies that he had a group with him because you can’t pray the Friday Prayer alone:
بكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقْرَأُ فِي الْعِيدَيْنِ وَفِي الْجُمُعَةِ بِسَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى وَهَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْغَاشِيَةِ قَالَ وَإِذَا اجْتَمَعَ الْعِيدُ
وَالْجُمُعَةُ فِي يَوْمٍ وَاحِدٍ يَقْرَأُ بِهِمَا أَيْضًا فِي الصَّلَاتَيْنِ
“The Prophet used to read surah al-A’la and al-Ghashiyah in the two Eid Prayers and the Friday Prayer. When the day of Eid and Friday would come together on the same day he would still read both of them in both prayers.” (Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i)
Considering the fact that this Eid al-Adha not only falls on a Friday but on Thanksgiving weekend where most people are off from work, they should take some time out of their celebrations to celebrate the praise of Allah.
And Allah knows best.
 This opinion is attributed to him by his student Muhammad ash-Shaybani in his narration of al-Muwatta’.
 Nawawi, al-Majmu’.
 Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni.
 The word used is “al-‘awali” which refers to people living about one or two miles from the masjid in Madinah. Refer to Abdul Hayy al-Lacknawi’s commentary on al-Muwatta’ known as at-Ta’liq al-Mumajjad for more details.
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