What is the Sunnah Qirā’ah for the Friday prayers?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

There are three combinations that have been transmitted from the practice of the Prophet ﷺ in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (877, 878) (also see al-Mugnī, 2: 230):

  1. Firstly, Sūrah 62 (Jumuʿah) and Sūrah 63 (Munāfiqūn).
  2. Secondly, Sūrah 87 (Aʿlā) and Sūrah 88 (Gāshiyah).
  3. Thirdly, Sūrah 62 (Jumuʿah) and Sūrah 88 (Gāshiyah).

Based on these combinations, it is Sunnah to recite a complete Sūrah in each Rakʿah and reciting it partially will not fulfil the Sunnah. The Ḥanbalī scholar Ḥāfiẓ Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 751/1350) writes in Zād al-Maʿād (1: 205) that the Prophet ﷺ never shortened any of the above Sūrah by reciting only the final parts and that this contradicts the Sunnah. He writes in another place (1: 369): “It is not recommended to recite a portion from each Sūrah or recite [only] one Sūrah [by splitting it] over two Rakʿāt as it is against the Sunnah, and the ignorant Imams persist on this.” Similarly, the Mālikī scholar Imām Ibn al-Ḥāj (d. 737/1336) suggests in al-Madkhal (2: 275) that the practice of the some of the Imams of his era who only recite the final Rukūʿ of Sūrah Jumuʿah and the final Rukūʿ of Sūrah Munāfiqūn is against the practice of the pious predecessors. This notwithstanding the fact that Ṣalāh will be valid. Similarly, the Shāfiʿī scholar Imam Nawawī (d. 676/1277) writes in al-Aḍkār (p. 48) in a similar context: “And he should abstain from sufficing on a portion of the Sūrah. If he wants ease [to reduce the time], he should increase the pace of his recitation without it being extremely fast”.

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shabbir

23 Shaʿbān 1427 / 16 September 2006