Conducting more than one Jumuah in a single suburb

Question

Assalaamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu

Honorable Shaykh,

I make reference to our earlier telephone conversation and my commitment to sending you the full details of the mas’ala for which I am seeking your guidance.

I write to you seeking Fatwa on the issue of conducting more than one Jumu’a in a single town (or suburb as it is known by the common people in our area).  The current situation is as follows:

One Jumu’a is conducted in Eldoradopark at the Extension 1 Jumu’a musjid. The musjid caters for  men and women both of whom attend and enter through separate doors. This has been the standard at the musjid since its inception in the 70’s. In recent years the musjid has become too small to accommodate the increasing number of musalis attending the Jumu’a. A decision was taken in 2005 to erect a small ‘af dakkie ‘ on the right hand side of the musjid in front of the ladies entrance. This has since been used to accommodate the overflow.

I have personally noted the following challenges with this arrangement:

1.     The ladies entrance is no longer exclusive as the extended section for males is right in front of their entrance.

2.     Kids tend to go and sit in this area as soon as they arrive, even if the musjid is not full.

3.     The speaker system is extremely scratchy so more often than not, those sitting outside do not get to hear the khutba nor do they get the experience of seeing the khatib and immersing themselves in the address.

4.      Male adults and teenagers who are not interested in sitting in the musjid make this area their first preference.

5.     If the females were told to stay in their homes and not attend the Jumu’a , then this might alleviate the congestion in the interim, however;

6.     This will cause another fitna in the community due to historical issues on this very mas’ala.

Some facts:

The musjid no longer caters exclusively for the Muslim community of Eldoradopark. Muslims from the nearby informal settlement also attend the Jumu’a (The informal settlements are not classified as Eldoradopark proper and go by the names of Freedom Park {in recent years Freedom Park has developed into a fully fledged built up community} and Slovo Park);

Muslim traders who stay in factories in the nearby Industrial village called Nancefield also attend the Jumu’a.

It is in this regard that I believe the Eldoradopark Muslim Council seeks to host a second Jumu’a in the Extension 2 musjid. The Ext 2 musjid is situated about 2 km’s away from the Ext 1 musjid and is nearby Freedom Park which has no musjid and Muslims from there attend Jumu’a at the Ext 1 musjid.

Since this idea has been made public, the Eldoradopark Muslim Council endeavored to host Public Hearings on the issue. To date the large Majority of those attending these public hearings have been in support of the hosting of a second Jumu’a.

There is one more Public Hearing taking place on Sunday 4 March, I would like to submit Shaykh Abduraghmaan’s Fatwa on this matter to the Eldoradopark Muslim Council.

I hope Bi-idhniLLAH that Shaykh will oblige me with a response. Ameen

Wasalaamualykum wa rahmatuLLAHI wa barakatu

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Peace and Salutations upon our master, Muhammad, his family, companions and those who follow. Amin

The third condition for the validity of Jumuah states that the jumah of a specific village/area should not be preceded by another jumuah in that village. Accordingly, the default position is one not two jumuahs per village. In this instance where two jumuahs would take place, They considered the first to be valid and thus dhur salah became compulsory on the followers of the 2nd jumuah. This position gains support from the reality that during the Prophetic era and that of his rightly guided caliphs, no second jumuah in a single village/area was ever instituted. This would essentially be the reasoning of those imams/scholars who are apparently opposed to the institution of a second jumuah in the Eldorado Park area.

My intention in the following paragraphs is to highlight the pragmatism of fiqh by discussing those instances where the Shāfiī madhhab has actually permitted the performance of a second jumuah. Fa aqulu wa biLlahit Tawfiq.

With the expanding of the global Muslim community it was inevitable that a single Jami Masjid, despite its size, would become insufficient to cater for the ever increasing Muslim community. This happened as early as the 2nd century when Imam ash-Shāfī entered Bagdad and personally prayed jumuah in one of the two or perhaps three jumuahs which was then performed in Bagdad. He subsequently prayed no dhur salah thereafter. His non- performance of dhur denotes that he considered the multiple jumuahs to be valid. Accordingly, our scholars commented that when the situation is such that gathering at one masjid or venue for jumuah becomes difficult, a second jumuah at a different location may be instituted. When explaining what difficulty is, ibn Hajar al-Haytami states: “that which is considered difficult according to custom”.

قال في التحفة على النهاج ووافقه في النهاية والمغني:

(الثالث أن لا يسبقها ولا يقارنها جمعة في بلدتها) مثلا، وإن عظمت لها لم تفعل في زمنه صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا في زمن الخلفاء الراشدين إلا في موضع واحد وحكمته ظهور الاجتماع المقصود فيها (إلا إذا كبرت) ذكره إيضاحا على أن المدار إنما هو على قوله: “وعسر اجتماعهم” يقينا وسياقه يحتمل أن ضمير اجتماعهم لأهل البلد الشامل لمن تلزمه ومن لا ، وأنه لمن تنعقد به وكلاهما بعيد والذي يتجه اعتبار من يغلب فعلهم لها عادة وأن ضابط العسر أن يكون فيه مشقة لا تحتمل عادة (في مكان) واحد منها ، ولو غير مسجد فتجوز الزيادة بحسب الحاجة لا غير

Objection and response

Some have suggested that females be asked to read dhur salah at home to cater for males upon whom jumuah is compulsory, thereby solving the problem of “difficulty of gathering”. This objection will not stand based on ibn Hajar‟s preponderant view that difficulty of gathering refers to the gathering of those who normally attend jumuah which includes females, children and even slaves. This was clearly stated by Hifni and quoted by Shirwānī in his Hashiyah:

(قوله : اعتبار من يغلب إلخ) فيدخل الأرقاء والصبيان حفني أي الحاضرون غالبا

Conclusion

Your explanation of the current situation at the Eldorado Park Jumuah masjid is definitely one that warrants the introduction of a second jumuah into the area. That being said, please keep the following in mind:

1. If the Kareesberg Street Masjid could comfortably cater for the entire community, then a single jumuah should be performed in that masjid.

2. If the Heinkel Jumuah Masjid should ever be expanded, the issue of “difficulty of gathering” will have to be reviewed.

3. The gist of ml. Faizel‟s fatwa that explains that it will be recommended to perform dhur after the jumuah should be taken into consideration. My suggestion is that too much emphasis should not be placed on the performance of this dhur prayer after jumuah, since it has the tendency to become institutionalized and may create unnecessary confusion in the future. Such is the case in many of the local masjids in the Cape.

And Allah knows best

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan