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Crusade for Friday Holiday

13 CRUSADE FOR FRIDAY HOLIDAY (A. M. Chaudhary) When God’s plan for this planet reached the point of perfection He revealed His directives in detail to His choicest Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). Friday was chosen as a special day for Muslims as was Saturday for the Jews. According to Divine declaration in the Holy Quran the Jews were cursed for not giving due importance to the observance of Saturday. In early times Muslims performed Friday prayers with all sincerity and fervour. The spacious mosques built in later centuries by Muslim emperors also tell the tale of the faithful attendance of the congregational Friday service. However, when Islam touched the extreme boundaries of deterioration and intense spiritual darkness enveloped the world, the offering of the five daily prayers suffered a serious set-back in general and people forgot, in particular, the significance attached to the Friday service. The gradual disappeara- nce of Muslim rulers from the scene of the political arena and the dominance of the followers of other faiths over the larger part of this planet set up barriers in the way of Muslims to discharge their religious duties even if they wished, although very few orthodox adherents were left. God, however, came to their rescue. He fulfilled His prophecy about the advent of the Promised Messiah for the revival of the lost values of Islam. The Promised Messiah completed his mission and passed away in 1908 leaving the continuance of the gigantic task of the renaissance of Islam to be persued by elected caliphs who are in a position to provide Providential panacea for every pr-oblem. The present Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, has alerted the members of the Jamaat (community) about the relaxed attitude towards the observance of Friday prayers and exhorted them to do everything possible to bring back the lost spiritual singnificance attached to this day in the Holy Quran. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih devoted the whole of his Friday sermon delivered on 1st January. to have Friday recognized as a holiday in the whole of the Muslim world. The translation of the Quranic verses recited by him is: 14 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS ” 0 ye who believe! When the call is made for Prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off all business. That is better for you, if you only knew. And when the prayer is finished then disperse in the land, and seek of Allah’s grace, and remember Allah much, that you may prosper. But when they see some merchandise or some amusement they break up for it, and leave thee standing. Say ‘That which is with Allah is better than amusement and merchandise, and Allah is the Best Provider.” (62: 10-12) (1) In light of the above Diviine advice Hazrat Khalifatul MaSlh said that it applies to the dormant spiritual state of affairs to be experienced in the latter days – the days of the advent of the Promised Messiah. We are seeing with our own eyes the indifferent attitude of Muslims towards the attendance of Friday service. (2) Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah who came to rectify the beliefs and practices of many other creeds besides Islam felt this problem very strongly. On 1st January, 1896, he peacefully petitioned the British Government to give the due right ofleave for Muslims to attend Friday prayers. His way of approach was very courteous and attractive. He pointed out that while the British and Hindus were having their holiday on Sunday, so the Government should be gracious and generous enough to grant partial leave to Muslims on Friday to enable them to attend Jumah service. This would win it their good will and prayers. This demand was renewed in 1911 by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih, the first successor of the Promised Messiah. After a two year struggle the Government accepted the justification of the demand and granted partial leave to the Muslims in general to attend Friday prayers. (3) In his sermon delivered on Friday, 1st January, 1988, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV said that it was a strange coincidence that today God has guided a humble khalifa of the Promised Messiah to raise the same voice to start a crusade for the revival of a Friday holiday or partial holiday to enable Muslims to attend Friday service. He said there would be a two pronged programme involving the operation of a universal campaign by approaching the mass media through letters to the newspapers and by sending deputations to government officials and educational authorities to grant Muslims their religious right to attend Friday service in the mosques. CRUSADE FOR FRIDAY HOLIDAY 15 (4) In the light of the Quranic injunctions it would seem more appropriate that leave should be granted in good time to make preparation for the service. Permission has been granted to carry on with one’s business after the service is over. All efforts, therefore, should revolve around this point. This right has been granted to Muslims in America. There is no reason why it should not succeed also in other parts of the world. Patience, perserverence, determination and sincerity of purpose are required. (5) If the results of the campaign are not satisfactory thc:n sacrifice will have to be undergone. Hazrat Khalifatul MaSlh said that, if necessary, time off would have to be taken without pay in order to attend Friday prayers. Children should not be sent to school on Fridays and members should press this pious point in every possible manner to the authorities. This procedure will bring lots of blessings in its trail for members and their families. In addition to personal progress, this step will be an obligation on the whole Muslim world. Prayer and practical planning should go side by side. (6) Hazrat Khalifatul MaSlh emphasized that before embarking upon any action in this respect everyone must be completely convinced about the sacredness of Friday. Ifwe are careless and negligent then our campaign will bear no fruit because hollow words produce no reaction. He then related some of the relevent traditions of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) giving a glimpse of God’s wrath on those who neglect Friday prayers. (7) The literal meaning of Jumah is ‘Day of Union’, The Holy Prophet (peace be on him) warned in clear words that God will set a seal on the mind of that Muslim who absents himselffrom three consequtive Friday prayers without a genuine reason and that he will become quite insensitive of its sacredness and will lose its blessings. God has prescri bed F rida y service on every M uslim till the Day 0 fJ udgement. The Holy Prophet went to the extent of expressing his view that if an Imam for a community was available, then whatever might be his calibre. just or unjust, good or bad, a person should not stay back from attending the service on Friday otherwise God may never bring together his business or unite the dispersed members. Thefe would be no blessings in any of his undertakings. Such a person would have no reward for his daily prayers zakatcontributionorfor his pilgrimage. Even his fasts would also go waste unless he repents. What a terrible punishment for non-attendance of Friday prayers! Any further comment is not needed after such a strongly worded warmng. 16 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS In conclusion, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih urged members of the Ahmadiyya Community to cherish real respect for Friday and particularly devote this year, 1988, for carrying out an energetic crusade forthe re-establishment of reverence for Jumah – the Friday service. The Promised Messiah was the Imam of the faithful and he took up this challenge by raising his voice in this connection. We must not rest on our oars until we have impressed upon the world our view point by dint of determination and prayers. May God be our Helper! IMPORTANCE OF FRIDAY PRAYER Of all the obligations of a Muslim. the most important is prayer. and of all the prayers. none is so essential to be recited in congregation as the Juma (Friday) service prayer. The Juma is in fact the greatest Muslim festival. The Holy Quran regards it as a holiday. A whole chapter of the holy book entitled the Juma has been devoted to it. In that chapier Almighty God commands Muslims to quit all their worldly affairs when they are summoned to prayer of Friday. to assemble in mosques and to say the Juma prayers with due observance of all the requirements of the Law. The person who does not act in obedience to these injunctions is regarded by the Holy Quran as guilty of a deadly sin and almost outside the circle of Islam. Far more stress has been laid upon attendance at the Juma sermon and prayers than upon Eid. It is on account of this importance of the Juma in the Muslim faith that Friday has universally been observed as a holiday among the Muslims from the very earliest time that Islam took its rise. (The Promised Messiah)