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Why are the most important services in Islam held on Fridays?

Islam is a true Ibrahimic religion just like Christianity. But in Christianity the holy day is considered Sunday, and in Judaism it is Saturday, but in Islam it is Friday? How can such an major change be?

Where does the origin of holy Friday come from in Islam? My question is really, was this a pagan holiday in Pre-Islamic time and Islam kept it as it is Or Islam changed it from Saturday and Sunday to Friday at one point?

  • @Abdullah my question is why it is different from christianity while Islam and Christinity are essentially by the same divine God. + I am asking for its historic change. When was the change made in Islam.
    – muslim1
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 21:37
  • 1
    Removing the Christian references leaves this question a duplicate as @Abdullah pointed out. While I understand that it's an interesting point that Christianity changed their holy day from Saturday to Sunday, I don't think it helps this question. Which was the first day of the week? Answer this and you'll know the correct day to reserve.
    – user206
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 1:32

3 Answers 3


The direct answer is that Friday is the original holy day chosen by Allah. Quoting Sahih Muslim, Chapter 152: Excellence of Friday, Book 004:

  • Hadith Number 1861:

    حدثنا أبو هريرة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: ‏ نَحْنُ الآخِرُونَ السَّابِقُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بَيْدَ أَنَّهُمْ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا وَأُوتِينَاهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ وَهَذَا يَوْمُهُمُ الَّذِي فُرِضَ عَلَيْهِمْ فَاخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ فَهَدَانَا اللَّهُ لَهُ فَهُمْ لَنَا فِيهِ تَبَعٌ فَالْيَهُودُ غَدًا وَالنَّصَارَى بَعْدَ غَدٍ ‏

    Abu Huraira reported Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), as saying: We who are the last would be the first on the Day of Resurrection but they (other Ummahs) were given the Book before us and we were given after them, and this was the day that was prescribed for them but they disagreed on it. And Allah guided us to it. and they came after us with regard to it, the Jews observing the next day and the Christians the day following that.

  • Hadith Number 1862:

    عن أبي هريرة قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْجُمُعَةِ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَنَا فَكَانَ لِلْيَهُودِ يَوْمُ السَّبْتِ وَكَانَ لِلنَّصَارَى يَوْمُ الأَحَدِ فَجَاءَ اللَّهُ بِنَا فَهَدَانَا اللَّهُ لِيَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَجَعَلَ الْجُمُعَةَ وَالسَّبْتَ وَالأَحَدَ وَكَذَلِكَ هُمْ تَبَعٌ لَنَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ نَحْنُ الآخِرُونَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الدُّنْيَا وَالأَوَّلُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ الْمَقْضِيُّ لَهُمْ قَبْلَ الْخَلاَئِقِ

    It is narrated by Abu Huraira and Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: It was Friday from which Allah diverted those who were before us. For the Jews (the day set aside for prayer) was Sabt (Saturday), and for the Christians it was Sunday. And Allah turned towards us and guided us to Friday (as the day of prayer) for us. In fact, He (Allah) made Friday, Saturday and Sunday (as days of prayer). In this order would they (Jews and Christians) come after us on the Day of Resurrection. We are the last of (the Ummahs) among the people in this world and the first among the created to be judged on the Day of Resurrection. In one narration it is: ', to be judged among them".

The reasons for the holyness of this day are described in other Hadiths, like Hadith Number 1857:

عن أبي هريرة أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: خَيْرُ يَوْمٍ طَلَعَتْ عَلَيْهِ الشَّمْسُ يَوْمُ الْجُمُعَةِ. فِيهِ خُلِقَ آدَمُ، وَفِيهِ أُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ، وَفِيهِ أُخْرِجَ مِنْهَا، وَلاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ .إِلاَّ فِي يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ

Abu Huraira reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying: The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday; on it Adam was created. on it he was made to enter Paradise, on it he was expelled from it. And the last hour will take place on no day other than Friday.

  • @goldPseudo Thanks for the edit. I just noticed that my Ctrl button was faulty, causing the text not to be copied. And thanks for the links too.
    – Hosam Aly
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 4:31

Original Holy Day is Saturday

Firstly, a small correction, holy day of the week for Judaism is Saturday known as Sabaath. Even in the general usage of Arabic and Hebrew BOTH, Saturday is called as sabaath (as-sabath and yom sabaath respectively).

Even the Quran acknowledges the establishment of as-sabaath as the holy day for the Jews.

And We raised over them the mount for [refusal of] their covenant; and We said to them, "Enter the gate bowing humbly", and We said to them, "Do not transgress on the sabbath", and We took from them a solemn covenant. (Quran 4:154)

Why was it changed to Sunday in Christianity?

Why Christianity changed it to Sunday is something that is covered by the experts on Christianity.SE.

Why was it changed to Friday in Islam?

Friday is called as "Juma" in arabic. There is a chapter al-Juma(#62) in the Quran that is dedicated to Friday. The verse actually does not necessitate resting like Jews were required to rest on Sabaath (Saturday).

O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew. (Quran 62:9)

The above verse does not require us to be resting on Friday, rather be involved in trade and leave it only at the time of the Friday prayers.

As Muslims we know that Allah has not forgotten sign from the Quran in comparison to the signs in the Torah, Psalms & Gospel. Rather replaced it with something similar or better.

We do not abrogate a ayah or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent? (Quran 2:106)

Does Friday have pagan origins?

The issue with pagan rituals are that they are inconsistent and have multiple gods. The number gods are so large that any given day or month is associated with a god.

In Jewish tradition the presiding pagan race was Mesopotamian and they associated Saturday with NINURTA an eagle god of war and irrigation. BUT the sabaath comes from resting and has NOTHING to do with that pagan practices associated with ninurta.

In Islamic tradition, the very word "Jumah" means gathering, even though there might have been some god associated in pre-Islamic arabia to Friday. It has nothing to do with those pagan practices.

  • can you please shed some light on "was friday a holiday in pegan arab ", if no when was it changed. I am asking a bit of Islamic history. Thanks
    – muslim1
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 20:32
  • The claim that the "original" holy day is Saturday does not hold against the multitude of Hadithes in Bukhari and Muslim that say otherwise. Please check my answer for a quotation of some of them.
    – Hosam Aly
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 3:59
  • See here for the reason why the Christians go to the church every Sunday. This is a post Jesus tradition, not ordered by Allah and his prophet, peace be upon him.
    – owari
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 6:01
  • @islam101, the abborgated verse would apply here if the holiday was changed from Saturday to Friday. If it was not changed, then where does it apply? The basis of Islam is remember peganism (I am not saying this in a bad way but that was the standard then. For example killing of little girls were abandoned in Islam. That was a change to paganism).
    – muslim1
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 12:24

User islam101 has given a detailed answer. I would like to quote the exact verse from Surah Jumu`ah, where the Juma[Friday] has come into light

O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.[62:9]

  • Please understand my question. The question is not why friday is important in Islam. The question is, when Friday become imiportant. Does it has pegan origin? why it is different that jews and christians holiday.
    – muslim1
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 17:50

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