How To Attend a Muslim Friday Prayer Service (Jum’ah)

For Muslims, Friday’s the big day when believers gather to hear a sermon and participate in ritual prayer. Attendance is religiously mandated for healthy adult Muslim males, encouraged for Muslim women, and usually open to curious non-Muslims.

You will need

  • A free hour around lunchtime on Friday
  • Information on the time and location of the prayer
  • Clean
  • modest dress
  • Right intention
  • Internet connection (optional)
  • A shower or bath (optional)
  • hole-free socks (optional)
  • Money for donation (optional)

Step 1 Find a Friday prayer service Use Muslim acquaintances or a Website to find a Friday prayer service near you. Most are held around lunchtime.

Step 2 Purify your intention As with all acts in Islam, take a quiet moment to purify your intention, affirming that you plan to attend Friday prayers for God’s sake alone.

Step 3 Take a shower or bath If you are able and you have time, take a shower or bath on Friday morning, as this practice was recommended by the Prophet Muhammad, who advised his followers to keep clean.

Step 4 Dress in clean, modest clothes Dress in clean, modest clothes. For men, this means no shorts. For women, this means covering the arms and legs, avoiding tight or revealing clothing, and bringing along a headscarf.

Step 5 Remove your shoes When entering the mosque or prayer area, remove your shoes. This is the moment of truth for your socks!

Step 6 Enter prayer area with right foot first Enter the prayer area with your right foot first. If the mosque is segregated according to gender, women should enter the women’s area, and men should enter the men’s area.

Step 7 Offer voluntary prayer If you are Muslim, offer two cycles of voluntary prayer, known as tahyatul masjid salah, which means literally, ‘the prayer to greet the mosque.’

Step 8 Sit next to other congregants on the floor Sit next to other congregants on the floor. Choose the available space closest to the front of the room. In other words, the front rows should be filled first, particularly because the back rows should be left open for latecomers.

Step 9 Listen to adhan Listen as a fellow congregant gives the adhan, or call to prayer. This means the Friday prayer service has begun; refrain from talking at this point.

Step 10 Sit quietly & listen to imam Sit quietly and listen while the imam, or prayer leader, offers a sermon, or khutbah. The first half the khutbah is the longest, followed by a brief period when the imam will sit down and offer silent prayers. Then he will stand again to deliver the shorter final section of the sermon.

Step 11 Listen to iqaamah After the sermon, a man will stand to give the iqaamah, a shortened version of the call to prayer, which indicates the prayer itself is about to commence.

Step 12 Line up shoulder to shoulder Stand up and move so you are standing shoulder to shoulder with the people on your left and right, forming a straight line that faces the qibla, or direction pointing to Mecca. Your shoulders, arms or feet can be lightly touching other people’s.

Step 13 Perform salat Perform two cycles of the ritual prayer, or salat, following along with the imam.

Step 14 Greet other people When the prayer is over, be sure to greet the people praying on either side of you when they are finished, either by shaking their hands and saying, ‘May Allah accept your prayers,’ or by simply smiling.

Step 15 Make a charitable contribution If you wish, make a charitable contribution as you leave. Boxes for contributions are generally available near the exit.

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