Surah al-Jumah was revealed in Madinah and it has 11 Ayahs. This surah basically revolves around “The Unity” of Allah and the importance of the Jumah Congregation in Islam. If we look at a different angle, this surah addresses the other aspects e.g. the prayers of all and every creatures of Allah, the purpose of the prophet hood of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.s.) to educate and enhance the morals of humanity, warnings to the Muslims not to be distracted from the principles of Islam as the Jews were distracted from their original Message, the general laws of the death being the window towards the permanent abode, strict directives about the attendance in the Jumah Congregation and suspension of all other activities during the Jumah prayer and the sermon by the imam of prayers.
According to a tradition of the Messenger of Islam (s.a.w.a.s.), who said: “Whoever recites Surah al-Jumah, Allah will grant him the virtues equal to ten times the number of the Muslims who attended the Jumah congregations and even those who did not attend the congregation.”
In yet another tradition it is stated that if a person recites this surah daily, he will be safe from every dangerous and frightening thing.
The reason of the advent of the Messenger of Islam is elaborated in Ayah 2 which says: “He it is Who sent amongst the unlettered ones a Messenger from among themselves to recite unto them His Ayahs, to foster them and absolved them of polytheism and discord, and teach them the Heavenly Book and Wisdom. And indeed, they had been formerly in manifest error.”
As for the Blessings of Allah, as referred in Ayah 4, there is tradition that once the not so wealthy Muslims approached the Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) and complained that unlike the wealthy people who can perform Hajj, they did not have resources to go for Hajj, unlike the wealthy, who can pay to liberate the slaves, they cannot do that. The Messenger said: “a person who recites “Allah-o-Akbar” 100 times is more blessed than the one who gets the release of a slave, one who recites “SubhanAllah” 100 times is more blessed than the one who arranges for 100 horses for Jihad, and the one who recites “La Ilaha Illallah” 100 times is more blessed than the virtuous deeds of all the people on that day.”
Referring to the Jews, Allah says that their carrying Torah but not practicing it is like burdening books on a donkey. And if Jews thought that they were the friends of Allah, and then should wish for death but because of the deeds they had sent to Allah, they will not wish for death.
The call for Jumah prayer is expressly mentioned in Ayah 9 to 11: “O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the Friday prayer, hasten toward the remembrance of Allah and leave off the business. That is better for you if you did know. Then when the prayer is ended, you are free to disperse through the land and seek Allah’s Bounties and remember Allah much that you may be saved. And when they see some merchandise or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it and leave you standing (while reciting your sermon). Say, that which Allah has (of Bounties and Blessings) is better than any amusement or merchandise! And Allah is the best of the providers.”
Prayer in congregation gives the Muslims both worldly and spiritual benefits as stated below:
1. Islamic Unity: In the congregation, rich and poor, high and low, all stand shoulder to shoulder. This destroys the haughtiness of the rich and creates self-respect in the poor.
2. Unity: In the congregation prayer, all have one niyyah (intention), one language and identical actions.
3. Love and Co-operation: People meet one another in the congregation prayers. They know the hardships and worries of each other and try to help. New things are known, mutual love develops and circle of friendship is widened resulting in an opportunity to learn from other’s experience and mould their lives accordingly.
4. Discipline: We stand in rows follow the imam of jama’ah and practice obedience to commands.
5. Prestige of Islam: Our mosques thrive due to the congregation of prayers. It enhances the prestige of Islam and the unity of Muslims affects greatly the enemies of Islam.
6. Limitless Reward: The Messenger of Islam (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “If there are only 2 people in a congregation, every rak’at gets the reward of 150 prayers. The reward is increased by the increase in the number of people praying. Thus in a jama’ah prayer of 3 persons, every rak’at gets the reward of 600 prayers. With each increase of the number of people, the reward doubles. Hence, if there are 10 persons, every rak’at gets the reward of 72, 800 prayers. If there are more than 10 people, then nobody can estimate its reward, except Allah.
Sources used: Fawaid-e-Qur’an by Sayyid Mustafa Musawi,
Elements of Islamic Studies by Allama Saeed Akhtar Rizvi
Enlightening Commentary of Light in Qur’an