How many rak’ahs does Friday prayer consist of? Is it necessary to perform the Prayer of Zuhr al-Akhir after the last Sunnah of the Friday prayer?

Details of the Question

I want to learn how Friday prayer is performed according to Hanafis. Some imams say it is enough to perform four rak’ahs after the fard of the prayer because they say the noon prayer is completed. However, other imams say it is necessary to perform four rak’ahs as the Sunnah of the Friday prayer after the fard prayer, four rak’ahs as the fard of the noon prayer and two rak’ahs as the last Sunnah. Which one is true?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Those questions were asked previously and we explained our views about them. It is understood that different interpretations are made about the four-rak’ah prayer performed as zuhr al-akhir and the two-rak’ah prayer performed as qada of the morning prayer; and those interpretations cause some confusions.

In order to prevent this, it is necessary to have a look at the Friday prayer. I think a short description will enlighten the issue and it will be understood that there is no need to be confused about the extra prayers performed after the fard of the Friday prayer. First, let us have a look at the Friday prayer from beginning to the end.

- We first perform a four-rak’ah sunnah prayer at the beginning of the Friday prayer. We call this the first sunnah of the Friday prayer.

- After that, the imam ascends the pulpit and delivers a sermon; then, he descends and goes to the mihrab; he leads the fard of the Friday prayer. We call this the two-rak’ah fard of the Friday prayer.

- After that, we perform a four-rak’ah sunnah. We call this the last sunnah of the Friday prayer. What have we done so far?

- First, we perform the four-rak’ah first Sunnah ofthe Friday prayer, followed bythe two-rak’ah fard of the Friday prayer; then, we performthe last sunnah of the Friday prayer as four rak’ahs. Thus, we perform the Friday prayer with its sunnah prayers; we feel the peace of performing the prayer of the time with its sunnahs.

After that, those who wish can leave. And those who wish can remain in the mosque and perform a missed (qada) noon prayer (zuhr al-akhir) and a missed morning prayer.

Let us have a look with what kind of intentions people perform those prayers:

People may express their intentions differently but the intentions are generally as follows:

- I intend to perform the last fard of the zuhr prayer I missed as qada. If a person intends to perform a two-rak’ah fard of the morning prayer as qada, he intends as follows:

- I intend to perform the last fard of the morning prayer I missed as qada. Thus, they feel the peace of performing two qada prayers.

However, those who say that those additional prayers performed after the Friday prayers cause confusion state the following:

- At the beginning, there were no additional prayers.. Then, there must not be now either. Those extra prayers performed after the Friday prayer bring about a doubt whether the Friday prayer is valid or not. In addition, it gives the impression that the Friday prayer is very long, causing some people not perform the Friday prayer at all.

Those who think this view is appropriate leave after performing the Friday prayer. Nobody says to them, “Why are you leaving without performing zuhr al-akhir and two-rak’ah missed morning prayer?” Nobody has the right to say so.On the other hand, they should not say to the other group, “Why do you perform additional missed prayers?” For, it is not an achievement to make a person abandon a prayer but it is an achievement to make a person perform a prayer.

A concern that can come to mind here is whether our Lord will ask us, "Why did you perform extra prayers after the Friday prayer?" It is possible to face being asked that question. However, it is not easy to risk being asked the following question: "Why did you come to my presence with unperformed noon and morning prayers?"

I want to say something again: I do not want to be a person who confuses the minds of people. A person who wishes can leave after the Friday prayer and a person who wishes can remain in the mosque and perform qada prayers.

Besides, Shafiis pay attention to performing the prayers; Among Hanafis, those who wish perform the prayers. Therefore, there is no problem with the practices in our life of worship.

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