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As Salamu Alaykum,

I am at sea for anything for 3 to 5 weeks as a fisherman, but I am also the only Muslim on the vessel. This has created a problem for me in that on Friday I am the only person present for Jumuah and as I understand it Jumuah requires at least 2 people in order to be valid.

I am also aware that someone who misses three or more Jumuah salat in a row is considered to have stepped outside the religion of Islam according to most scholars.

Due to the nature of my job, is the only solution that I should simply get a different job?

Fi'Aman Allah

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Walaykum salam wa-rahmutAllah wa-barakatuhu brother. Is I was in your position I would try to find an alternative, or consult a sheikh directly.

From this website:

Friday prayer is compulsory for all except a few. A very clear hadith on this matter is given below:

It was reported from Tariq bin Shihab from the Prophet (PBUH), that he said: “The Friday prayer in congregation is an obligation on every single Muslim, except for four: an owned slave, a woman, a child and a sick person.” (Hadith No. 1067, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).

From your description it sounds as though you do not fit any of those four types of people. There are exceptions however:

It is permissible for a person not to go to Masjid for congregational Friday prayers if it is raining. Refer to following hadith:

Narrated Muhammad bin Sirin: On a rainy day Ibn Abbas (RA) said to his Muadh-dhin, “After saying ‘Ash-hadu anna Muhammadun Rasool-Allah‘, do not say ‘Haiya alas-Salah (Come for Salat)’, but say: ‘Sallu fi Baytikum (Offer Salat in your houses).” The man did so, but the people disliked it. Ibn Abbas (RA) said, “It was done by one who was much better than I (i.e. Prophet, PBUH). No doubt, the Juma’a prayer is compulsory but I dislike putting you to task by bringing you out walking in mud & slush.” (Hadith No. 901, Book of Al-Juma’a, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).

And also if eid falls on this day, but the scholars are not in agreement whether that means you do not have to pray dhur either. One further hadith about the dangers if missing Friday prayer:

It was narrated from Abdullah bin Umar (RA) and Abu Hurairah (RA) that they heard Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) say, on the planks of his Minbar, “People must cease neglecting Juma’a (prayers), or else Allah will put a seal over their hearts and they will truly be among the negligent.” (Hadith No. 2002 (865), Book of Friday Prayer, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).

So you can see the danger. So, my conclusion, and may Allah forgive me if I am mistaken, is that it would be better to attend Juma'a prayer that continue in your fishing profession, unless you can find a route that takes you back to shore more regularly.

As for a traveller, the below quote from here says:

It is preferable for the traveller to attend Jumu’ah, because this is better, and is on the safe side (because some scholars think that Jumu’ah is obligatory for the traveller who is staying in a particular place, but not for the traveller who is on the road), as he comes under the general meaning of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the Salaah on the Day of Friday (Jumu’ah prayer), come to the remembrance of Allaah, and leave off business (and every other thing), that is better for you, if you did but know!” [al-Jumu’ah 62:9].

But as your are travelling for business, I would be wary of leaving it.

I'll leave you with this story from Yusha Evans, who quit his job to attend Juma'a and in the same day got a new job:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_U1ifMpgI0

  • Does anyone know how to embed videos? – Pureferret Mar 7 '15 at 12:38
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  • The first hadith from Abu Dawud doesn't mention anything about it being obligatory. Please check the Arabic الْجُمُعَةُ حَقٌّ وَاجِبٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ فِي جَمَاعَةٍ إِلاَّ أَرْبَعَةً عَبْدٌ مَمْلُوكٌ أَوِ امْرَأَةٌ أَوْ صَبِيٌّ أَوْ مَرِيضٌ The second hadith isn't from the Prophet. And the third hadith doesn't mention anything about congregation. Please be careful next time. – Sayyid Mar 8 '15 at 7:36
  • Abu Dawud himself said Tariq b. Shihab didn't hear from the Prophet. So it's unreliable. – Sayyid Mar 8 '15 at 7:43
  • @sayyid as a non-native Arabic speaker, I can't guarantee the transportation of the hadith. But from what I garner the other translation for the first hadith is 'duty' which to me had the same connotations. As for the second one, I was under the impression that the close companions of the prophet salalahu alayhi wa-salam were so close to him that they were able to give hadith add they would know what he, salalahu alayhi wa-salam, would say. And the third is a general warning. – Pureferret Mar 8 '15 at 11:47
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walaykum salam.

Praying Jumuah in congregation isn't obligatory unless you hear the call for it. Allah says :

O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah, come to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business, that is better for you if you did but know!

(Surah al-Jumuah 62:9)

Hence, if you hear the call to Jumuah prayer, i.e. adhan, then you go and answer the call and pray in congregation. And this also applies to all other prayers and their adhan.

Otherwise if you don't hear the adhan, then you can pray at home or anywhere. Prayer of Jumuah doesn't require more than one person. It's an individual obligation.

The idea of Jumuah being a congregation prayer that requires many people is simply a cultural view and not Islamic. It just happens that in majority Muslim countries, the adhan is always made, so the habit of answering it became part of peoples life.

But what if you don't hear the adhan? The verse from Surah al-Jumuah clearly tells us to answer a call and not just go to prayer without hearing it.

So what you can do is pray two rakat on the boat and that's your Jumuah prayer.

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    That interpretation does not explicitly say about not attending. It simply says about attending when you hear the call, it would be a logical fallacy to presume that by not hearing it you don't need to attend. – Pureferret Mar 7 '15 at 11:53
  • There's no evidence that it's fard to attend Jumuah prayer in congregation, to say otherwise is where the real fallacy lies. The ayah is clear in appointing the reason to attend it i.e. hearing the call. It doesn't say anything else. Hence, Jumuah prayer can be prayed anywhere and it's individual obligation, and if the call is hear, we answer it. Some mistakenly believe "Jumuah" is derived from the word "jamaah." That's one of their reasoning. But if you believe attending Jummuah is fard, then you must also say the same for all other prayers. If not, then you have a double standards. – Sayyid Mar 8 '15 at 7:28

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