Friday in Islam

For Christians Sunday is an important day. We are obliged to go to Church and worship God. Christians should rest from unnecessary labour on Sunday. For Jews Saturday is an important day. On Saturdays Jews go to the synagogue to worship G-d. Jews do not work or conduct business on the Sabbath. It is my understanding that the most important day of the week for Muslims is Friday. I also understand that the main act of worship on Fridays is midday prayers. However, it seems that Muslims go about their normal business on Friday. Why does Islam not require Fridays to be a day when all unnecessary work is set aside?

Christians celebrate Sunday because it is the day Christ rose from the dead. Jews celebrate the Sabbath on Saturdays because it is the seventh day of the week, the day on which G-d rested after creating the universe. Why does Islam have Friday as its principal day for religious observance?

This may shed a little light on it…

In Islam, Friday corresponds to Sunday in Christianity and Saturday in Judaism, as a holy day. Friday observance includes attendance at a mosque for congregation prayer or Salat AlJumu’ah. As well as a day of rest it is considered a day of peace and mercy - even condemning a slave is forbidden on a Friday under Muslim law. (see Jumu’ah).

According to some Islamic traditions, the day is stated to be the original holy day ordained by God, but that now Jews and Christians recognize the days after. In some Islamic countries, the week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday, just like the Jewish week and the week in some Christian countries.** In most other Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Iran the week begins on Saturday and ends on Friday**. Friday is also the day of rest in the Bahá’í Faith.

Here’s an informative article concerning the significance of Friday in Islam. Quoting from the Koran and other Islamic sources about it.

At least in Saudi Arabia (and maybe in Afghanistan, Ghaza, and Taliban territories), the most important part is to attend the midday prayer, so all shopping activities should cease operations and close, after that prayer is finished, everyone is free to do business again.

Here it is quite similar. But for Muslims it’s upto them to take that prayer break.


Friday is not a day of rest and there is no “sabbath” or “holy day” of the week in Islam. In fact, that Qur’an, which calls us to set aside mid-day prayers on Friday as something special, also says that work is not forbidden on that day, “so that the people may prosper” (62:10). Once prayers are over, you are free to go about your business. Men ought to attend the mosque for the prayers. Women may attend, but it is also possible for them to fulfill the obligation wherever they are.

Nor is God mentioned as “resting” after creation, in the Qur’an, which is the rationale for a “sabbath”. Why would God need to rest? It is not as if God gets tired, after all. Or that the six days should be understood to apply to God, since God doesn’t exist in time to start with.

Certain countries do have a Thursday/Friday weekend. But this does not mean that Friday should be thought of as an Islamic day of rest. It is just a day off, which does conveniently make it easier to attend jummah.

Well said. I think most religions agree on this one. Some religions do give certain day for God, whereby that day is given exclusively for his worship. The consecration for that day varies. Some, like in Islam, would still allow for work, other would exhort their followers to stop working, others especially in Christianity, for Christians to rest (not that God is resting) and celebrate this day in memory of Jesus’ resurrection, but allows for work to be done if necessary.

Thank you very much, Hypatia! That fully answers my question. I am grateful.

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