Security patrols and Jumu`ah Salah

Q: As soldiers, our job necessitates us to patrol districts and markets. Sometimes, we go on patrols when Salah (Prayer) is due and the Adhan (call to Prayer) is proclaimed. What is your opinion; should we offer Salah in congregation or wait until those offering Salah leave the Masjid (mosque) and then offer Salah after they go back to their markets and work? Actually, we fear that thieves, subversives or the like, practice their activities during Salah time.

A: You should offer Jumu`ah (Friday) Prayer in the nearest Masjid after the last Adhan marking the entrance of the Khatib (preacher) is proclaimed. If there is a danger that might negatively affect the task you are entrusted with, i.e. maintaining order, there will be nothing wrong with not offering the Jumu`ah Prayer and the congregational Salah. Instead, you may offer Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer in place of Jumu`ah and together offer Salah in congregation after people finish the first congregation. Actually, this is meant to protect public interest and to ward off public danger.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.