Which prayer is the subject of 62.9:
The prayer spoken of in 62.9-10 is given special importance as it is a collective prayer, and an analysis of the content of these verses confirms that it is not an additional prayer, but the Middle (wusta) prayer on Friday. If it were an additional salat, apart from the three Salat authorised in the Quran (Fajr-Wusta-Isha), God would have given it a name just like God gave names for all the authorised salat. Here we must remember God’s confirmation that the Quran has all the details (6.114) and that nothing has been left out of the book (6.38).
To analyse this matter we look at the words in 62.9:
(62.9) O you who believe, when the call for the Salat has been announced on the day of Jummah (Friday), you shall hasten to the commemoration of God
A key observation in the above words is that God did not say when the call is announced for the “Friday prayer”. God only said the “call for prayer” on Friday, this is a deliberate choice of words which tells us that it is not an additional salat to the other three, but one of those three. If God had said “the Friday prayer” then this would mean there is an additional salat called the “Friday prayer” (additional to the other 3 salat).
So which of the three salat is the subject of 62.9?
The words in 62.9 and 62.10 confirm that the salat spoken of is the the Wusta salat (on Friday) and not the other two (Fajr or Isha). The full words in these 2 verses say:
(62.9) O you who believe, when the call for the Salat has been announced on the day of Jummah (Friday), you shall hasten to the commemoration of God, and drop all business. This is better for you, if you only knew.(62.10) Once the Salat is completed, spread out through the land and seek God’s bounties, and remember God frequently, so that you may succeed.
The words ‘drop all business‘ and also the words ‘once the Salat is completed, spread out through the land and seek God’s bounties‘ indicate that this prayer is in the day hours. The reasoning is as follows:
– Since no one is likely to be engaged in their business to have to drop it in the early hours before sunrise, this indicates that this prayer is not the Fajr prayer.
– Similarly it cannot be the Isha (Night) prayer since God says that after the prayer the believers may continue with their business. The Isha prayer ends when all light has disappeared from the sky. This is normally the time when people have ended their daily work and are ending their day at home, so this would not be a time when people would be resuming work.
It follows that if this Salat is not the Fajr prayer nor the Esha prayer, it can only be the Salat Al-Wusta.
Does the Quran state that it is a collective prayer?
It has also been inquired if this prayer should be observed collectively? Some have rightly indicated that the word “collectively” is not found in these verses. This may be true, howeverwe have three indications in 62.9 which all confirm that the salat spoken of must be observed collectively.
Before we look at these, let us fist read 62.9:
(62.9) O you who believe, when the call for the Salat has been announced on the day of Jummah (Friday), you shall hasten to the commemoration of God, and drop all business. This is better for you, if you only knew.
1- The Arabic word “Jummah” literally means congregation. The day of Friday, which was given this name, means the day of congregation..
2- We also read in this verse about a call for the prayer on that day. A public call is naturally addressed to all people. This, together with the first three words in the verse which address “O you who believe“, also confirm that the call is for a collective prayer..
3- We also read in 62.10 the following words:
(62.10) Once the Salat is completed, intashiru (spread out) through the land and seek God’s bounties, and remember God frequently, so that you may succeed.
The key word here is “intashiru” which means spread out or disperse.
It is not possible to spread out if the starting point is each person on his/her own. The concept of spreading out can only make sense if the starting point is a group. This again confirms that the salat must be observed collectively.