On a recent visit to Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marakesh I observed very few people pray during Jumu'ah and Asr, despite being in the proximity of Koutoubia Mosque.

Being rather uneducated about Islam, I thought that it requires prayer during Salah and most (if not all) Sunni Muslims, which constitutes the majority of Morrocan residents, follow this.

Is this not the case?

  • I don't really get what you mean? Are you meaning to say while a prayer is held in a mosque many people still follow wordily matters? Please clarify!
    – Sassir
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 21:34
  • Pretty much. I thought that all Muslims were required to join in with the prayer, either alone or if possible in congregation. However, most people carried on their daily business, seemingly oblivious to Salah Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 21:46
  • @BartPlatak There is a timeframe within which a Salah can offered (prayed). The prayer need not be performed immediately after the Azan(the Call for Prayer) although it is more rewarding do it sooner and in congregation. Jumu'ah Salah(The Friday Afternoon prayer) on the other hand is obligatory for every Muslim male for whom prayer has become obligatory to attend and pray in the congregation unless a valid excuse is there for being unable to.
    – Crimson
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 10:24

2 Answers 2


Prayer is obligatory in Islam. However, understand that Muslims do not always follow Islam completely, especially nowadays.

My personal observation is that quite a few Muslims are negligent of prayers and do not pray some prayers out of laziness. However not praying Jummah is rather uncommon and my observation is that even people who do not pray the whole week are very stringent about Jummah, and I see whole markets, businesses and offices shutting down for it.

The people could also have some excuse for not praying at that mosque and maybe they pray later somewhere else? Like maybe they have reservations about the Imam etc. Only they could give you an answer. I would assume that it is most likely that they are too lazy.


First you should know that the Muslim prayer can be performed within specific time frames. So after the call for prayer (azhan) which initiates the beginning of the time frame a Muslim has -based on the views of the schools of jurisprudence (so called madhhabs)- a more or less long time period in which he may perform his prayer.

Praying in a mosque is highly recommended. There are a few madhhabs which go so far saying that not praying in congregation is a sin, but the maliki's which are the leading school in Morocco are not among these madhhabs. Nevertheless it is sinful to hear the call of the prayer and not answering it by going to the mosque.

Also note that going to the mosque is much more a due for men than for women, you may even find some Muslim countries where finding a woman in a mosque may appear strange (as far as I've been told in Yemen it is rather not common to expect women entering a mosque).

As to the Jumu'ah (Friday) prayer it is a due on men who are able to pray according to specific conditions, for example for a traveling person it wouldn't be considered as obligatory, but recommended. And it must be performed in congregation (in a mosque).

So based on all of this any men who is able to pray should have followed the call for prayer or in worst case took his time to pray the fard (obligatory) prayer in a mosque or for example his shop etc. or prepare himself and go to pray the Jumu'ah in a close big mosque in which this prayer is held, as jumu'ah prayer doesn't make sense without a gathering so it must be done in congregation.

But what you've observed might be typical sinners which you may find in any religion.

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