Is there a Sunnah prayer before Jumua‘ah?
There is no proven report from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he prescribed a regular Sunnah (Sunnah raatibah) prayer to be offered before it, and there is no proven report from any of the Companions of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that they prayed any regular Sunnah prayer before Jumu‘ah like the regular Sunnah prayer of Zuhr or any other prayer.
It is not valid to pray the regular Sunnah prayer of Zuhr on Friday, because Jumu‘ah is not Zuhr; rather it is a prayer with its own rulings. So it is not Zuhr and it is not valid either to compare it to Zuhr in that regard.
See the answer to question no. 114765
With regard to the report which says that Ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) used to pray four rak‘ahs before Jumu‘ah and four afterwards, it was narrated by at-Tirmidhi in a mu‘allaqan which he narrated in a way that indicates that it is weak; it is also mawqoof, with a isnaad that ends with Ibn Mas‘ood. The commentator on at-Tirmidhi narrated from al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) that ‘Abd ar-Razzaaq and at-Tabaraani narrated it in a marfoo‘ report, but its isnaad has some weakness and interruptions, and a report that is like this cannot be quoted as evidence.
See: Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, 8/261
Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: (It is) munkar, as it says in as-Silsilah ad-Da‘eefah, 3/83
It is mustahabb for the one who comes to Jumu‘ah to offer voluntary prayers beforehand, whatever he is able to do, from when he enters the mosque until the imam comes out to the people, without that being limited to a specific number. So he may pray two or four rak‘ahs, or whatever Allah wills that he should pray.
Al-Bukhaari (883) and Muslim (657) narrated that Salmaan al-Faarisi said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does ghusl on Friday, purifies himself as much as he can, uses (hair) oil or perfumes himself with the perfume of his house, then goes out (for the Jumu‘ah prayer) and does not separate between two (persons sitting together in the mosque), then prays as much as is decreed for him, then remains silent whilst the imam is speaking, his sins between the present and the last Friday will be forgiven for him.”
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said, discussing matters that are specific to Friday:
It is not makrooh to pray on Friday at the time of the zenith, according to ash-Shaafa‘i (may Allah have mercy on him) and those who agreed with him. This is the view favoured by our shaykh, Abu’l-‘Abbaas ibn Taymiyah, and he did not base his view on the hadeeth of Layth from Mujaahid from Abu’l-Khaleel from Abu Qataadah from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), which states that it is makrooh to pray at midday except on Friday, and he said: “Hell flares up (at noon) except on Friday”. Rather he based his view on a report which states that whoever comes to Jumu‘ah, it is mustahabb for him to pray until the imam comes out.
He quoted the hadeeth of Salmaan mentioned above, then he said: The report recommends praying as much as is decreed for one, and not stopping until the time when the imam comes out.
Hence more than one of the salaf, including ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him), who was followed in that by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, said that the appearance of the imam prevents prayer and his khutbah prevents speaking. They said that the factor which prevents prayer is the appearance of the imam, not the mid-point of the day (noon).
Moreover, if the people are inside the mosque, beneath the roof, and they cannot tell when the zenith occurs, and a man is focusing on his prayer, he does not know when the zenith occurs and he cannot go out, stepping over people’s necks to look at the sun and come back, and it is not prescribed for him to do that. End quote from Zaad al-Ma‘aad, 1/365
Ash-Shawkaani also regarded this view as being more correct and he noted that the hadeeth of Salmaan mentioned above makes an exception to the general meaning of the hadeeths that forbid praying at the time of the zenith. See Nayl al-Awtaar, 3/313
This view was also favoured by Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allah preserve him) and he quoted as evidence for it something similar to what was narrated from Ibn al-Qayyim.
See: Minah al-‘Allaam Sharh Buloogh al-Muraam, 1/162
See also: al-Ajwibah an-Naafi‘ah by Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him), 59-70
Imam Abu Shaamah discussed these two issues: that there is no regular Sunnah prayer before Jumu‘ah and that it is prescribed to offer voluntary prayers before Jumu‘ah prayer until the imam comes out.
He (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Chapter on innovations of Jumu‘ah
People usually pray between the two adhaans on Friday, offering naafil prayers of two or four rak‘ahs, and so on, until the imam comes out. That is permissible and it is not a problem from the point of view of it being prayer. Rather the problem is what the common folk and most of those who think of themselves as knowledgeable believe, that it is a Sunnah prayer before Jumu‘ah, as they pray Sunnah before Zuhr, and they declare their intention that it is the Sunnah of Jumu‘ah, and offer their own reasoning for this view, based on the idea that if we say that Jumu‘ah is a shortened form of Zuhr, then it has the same as Zuhr (Sunnah prayers before and after, and so on).
None of that is based on a proper examination of the issue. There is no Sunnah before Jumu‘ah, like ‘Isha’ and Maghrib, and also like ‘Asr according to one opinion, which is the correct opinion according to some of them. It is a prayer that is like no other, with its own merits.
The evidence that there is no Sunnah before it is that what is meant when we describe a prayer as being “Sunnah” is that it is based on words or actions narrated from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). There is no report from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to indicate that the prayer before Jumu‘ah is Sunnah, and it is not possible to draw an analogy between prayers.
However, when it comes to praying after Jumu‘ah, it is narrated in as-Saheeh that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to pray two rak‘ahs after Jumu‘ah. [Narrated by al-Bukhaari (937) and Muslim (882) from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar] and that he said: “Whoever among you wants to pray after Jumu‘ah, let him pray four (rak‘ahs) Narrated by Muslim (881). Abu ‘Eesa at-Tirmidhi said: It was narrated from ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with him) that he instructed people to pray two rak‘ahs then four after Jumu‘ah. ‘Ata’ said: I saw Ibn ‘Umar praying two rak‘ahs after Jumu‘ah, then he prayed four after that.
If you say: at-Tirmidhi also narrated from Ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to pray four rak‘ahs before Jumu‘ah and four afterwards, and this was the view of an-Nawawi and Ibn al-Mubaarak, so this indicates that there is a Sunnah prayer before it of four rak‘ahs, as is also the case with Zuhr,
My response is: what is meant by ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood praying four rak‘ahs before Jumu‘ah is that he used to do that voluntarily until the imam came out, as we have mentioned above. How do you know that he believed that it was the Sunnah prayer of Jumu‘ah?
More than that was narrated from others among the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them). Abu Bakr ibn al-Mundhir said: We narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to pray twelve rak‘ahs before Jumu‘ah. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to pray eight rak‘ahs. This indicates that they did this as something voluntary on their own initiative, without any instructions from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), hence the variation in the numbers (of rak‘ahs) narrated from them. The matter of voluntary prayers is broad in scope. And perhaps they did that, or most of it, before the adhaan and the onset of the time for Jumu‘ah, because they used to come early and pray until the imam came out.
They used to do something similar in the case of Eid prayer, and it is definitively known that there is no Sunnah prayer connected to the Eid prayer. They used to pray after the sun had risen high, either in the musalla (prayer place) or in their houses, then they would offer the Eid prayer. That was narrated from a number of the Sahaabah and Taabi‘een, and al-Haafiz al-Bayhaqi devoted a chapter to that in his Sunan.
Moreover the evidence that this is correct is the fact that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to come out of his house on Friday and ascend his minbar, then the mu’adhdhin would give the call to prayer, and when he had finished the Prophet would start his khutbah. If there were any Sunnah prayer before Jumu‘ah, he would have told them to pray Sunnah after the adhaan and he would have done it himself. At the time of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), there was only this adhaan immediately before the khutbah, and that is the Maaliki madhhab until the present day.
If you were to say: perhaps he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) offered the Sunnah prayer in his house after the sun passed the zenith, then he came out? I would say: If he did that, his wives (may Allah be pleased with them) would have narrated it from him as they narrated all other prayer s that he did in his house by night and by day, and the way in which he prayed tahajjud and qiyaam al-layl. As no such thing as been narrated, the basic principle is that it did not happen and that it was not prescribed. End quote.
This issue was discussed further and at length by Imam al-Haafiz Abu Shaamah (may Allah have mercy on him). See: al-Baa‘ith ‘ala Inkaar al-Bida‘ wa’l-Hawaadith, p. 96 ff.
To sum up: There is no regular Sunnah prayer prescribed before Jumu‘ah; rather what is prescribed is to offer whatever voluntary prayers one wants, from the time one enters the mosque until the imam ascends the minbar.
And Allah knows best.