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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Jumuah - The Hebrew Congregational Prayer Restored

The Jumuah is the Friday afternoon prayer in Islam. The Jumuah is mentioned in Surah 62.

The equivalent in Hebrew is the afternoon prayer called the "minhah". The Jews had abandoned the practise of going to the Synagogue for afternoon prayers on Fridays. The real reason was "financial" as the Prophet Muhammed alludes. For financial reasons the afternoon prayer was delayed to just before "sunset". This was because Talmudic laws did not allow much business activity after the "minhah" or "afternoon" prayer. This was contrary to the spirit of God's law which allowed business activities after the "minhah" prayer.

Muhammed restores the “minhah” prayer or afternoon prayer on Fridays making it a requirement to attend the "synagogue" or "mosque". He also allows business transactions up until the beginning of the “biblical Sabbath” despite “Rabbinical” injunctions.

m. Taanith 4.3

The men of the [Israelite] Ma`amad fasted on four days of that week, from Monday to Thursday; they did not fast on Friday out of respect for the Sabbath nor on Sunday in order not to change over [without a break] from the rest and delight [of the Sabbath] to weariness and fasting and so [perhaps] die.

On Sunday [they read], in the beginning, and, let there be a firmament; on Monday, let there be a firmament, and, let the waters be gathered together; on Tuesday, let the waters be gathered together, and, let there be lights; on Wednesday, let there be lights, and, let the waters swarm; on Thursday, let the waters swarm, and, let the earth bring forth; on Friday, let the earth bring forth, and, and the heavens [and the earth] were finished.

Two persons read between them a long section and one a short section. At shaharith, Musaf, and Minhah they assembled and read [the requisite] section by heart, in the same way as people recite the Shema. they did not assemble at Minhah on Friday out of respect for the Sabbath.

"The law is, however, in accordance with the opinion that the Minḥah may be recited until sunset, which is calculated to occur at the conclusion of the 12th hour of the day (Ber. 4:1; Ber. 26b–27a). As a precaution lest people forget to pray the afternoon prayer, the rabbis ruled that it is forbidden to commence a large business transaction or sit down to a banquet once the time has begun for the Minḥah Gedolah, without having previously recited the prayer.

During daily worship, the Minḥah prayer in the synagogue is usually delayed until near sunset in order that the congregation may assemble to pray Ma'ariv shortly after the Minḥah service is completed (see Magen Avraham to Sh. Ar., OḤ 233:1).


Minhah prayers are offered in the afternoon; to facilitate attendance at the synagogue, the afternoon service is often scheduled so that the evening prayers (maarib; Hebrew: maʿariv) can follow as soon as night has fallen. The morning period of daily prayer is known as shaharith (Hebrew: shaḥarit).


As we can see the Jews postponed the "minhah" prayers to the late afternoon or early evening to coincide with the Sunset prayers. On Fridays the Mishnah claims the Jews did not attend the "synagogue" during the "minhah" prayers. Muhammed was castigating the Jews for failing to turn up to the afternoon prayer or "minhah, jumuah" prayer.

The Jumuah is not a Sabbath but the "afternoon" prayer of the Jews.

Four Prayers

There are four prayers in the Holy Quran. Islamic tradition holds out that there are "five" prayers. These are carried out during the journey of the Sun around the earth. They include "dawn", "noon", "sunset", and "night (possibly midnight or before bed time). The morning prayer in Hebrew is called "Shacharit" which means "dawn". The prayer then is a dawn "prayer" rather than one commencing at "sunrise".

The prayers correspond to the four elements of the earth (fire, water, air and earth), the cardinal points of East, West, South and North. The sun's direction marks the time for prayer (not the time of the offering or Temple sacrifice as Jews may believe). (see Surah 17:78; Surah 30:17; Surah 50:39-40).

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