Employees whose work necessitates their presence at the time of Jumu`ah Prayer

(Part No. 8; Page No. 188)  Employees whose work necessitates their presence at the time of Jumu`ah Prayer Fatwa no. 1593 Praise be to Allah, Alone. May peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, his family, and his Companions.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' reviewed the question submitted to His Excellency the General President from His Eminence the President of Courts of `Asir region which was referred to the Committee from the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars under no. (2/443) dated, 24/3/1397 A.H.. Following is the wordings of the questioner: The General Manager of the southern region for telephones and telegraphs sent us a letter in which he said that the telephone and telegraph organization works the whole week including Fridays. Employees work on shifts as they cannot leave the telephone and wireless equipments for one minute as this might cause the communications to stop. Should those employees leave their work to attend Jumu`ah (Friday) Prayer?

The Committee's reply: The basic principle is that Jumu`ah Prayer is obligatory upon individuals for Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says, O you who believe (Muslims)! When the call is proclaimed for the Salât (prayer) on Friday (Jumu‘ah prayer), come to the remembrance of Allâh [Jumu‘ah religious talk (Khutbah) and Salât (prayer)] and leave off business (and every other thing). That is better for you if you did but know! (Part No. 8; Page No. 189) It is narrated by Ahmad and Muslim on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said concerning those who do not attend Jumu`ah, "I was about to order a man to lead people in Salah and I then burn those men who absent themselves from Jumu'ah (Friday) Prayer in their houses.” It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah and Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) that they heard the Messenger of Alalh (peace be upon him) saying while on his pulpit, "Some people will either give up leaving the Jumu`ah Prayers or Allah will seal their hearts and they will be among the heedless." Scholars unanimously agreed that Jumu`ah Prayer is obligatory. However, if a person for whom Jumu`ah is obligatory has a legitimate Shar`y (Islamically lawful) excuse – such as one who is directly responsible for a matter of national security and protecting the interests of the Ummah (nation), and he is required to do that job at the time of Jumu`ah, such as those who are in charge of security, traffic, wireless, and telephone communications, etc, those whose shift happens to be at the time of the second call of Jumu`ah prayers or the time of a prayer in congregation – then such people are excused for not praying Jumu`ah or prayers in congregation for Allah says, So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can The Messenger of Allah (Part No. 8; Page No. 190) (peace be upon him) said, “Whatever I forbid you to do, avoid it, and whatever I command you to do, do as much of it as you can.” Moreover, such a person has no less an excuse than one who is excused when he fears for his life or wealth etc., who - the scholars have said - is excused for not praying Jumu`ah or prayers in congregation as long as the reason is present. However, the obligation to pray Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer still stands, and he must pray it on time; whenever he can pray in congregation he is obliged to do that, as is the case with all the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.