Jumu'ah (Arabic: جمعة)(also known as jum'ah, Friday prayer, etc.) is a congregational prayer (salat) that Muslims hold every Friday, just after noon in lieu of dhuhr. It is mentioned in the Qur'an as:
O you who believe! when the call is made for prayer on Friday, then hasten to the remembrance of God and leave off business; that is better for you, if you know. (Qur'an 62:9)
And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah's bounty, and remember Allah much, that ye may be successful. (Qur'an 62:10)
The jumu'ah prayer is half the dhuhr prayer, for convenience, preceded by a khutba (a sermon as a technical replacement of the two reduced raka'ahs of the ordinary dhuhr prayer), and followed by a communal prayer, led by the imam. In most cases the khaṭīb also serves as the imam. Attendance is strictly incumbent upon all adult males who are legal residents of the locality, females are also permitted to go to the Mosque to perform the Friday prayers.
The muezzin makes the call to prayer, called the adhan, usually 15-20 minutes prior to the start of Jum'ah. When the khaṭīb takes his place on the minbar, a second adhan is made. The khaṭīb is supposed to deliver two speeches, stopping and sitting briefly between them. In practice, the first speech is longer and contains most of the content. The second speech is very brief and concludes with a du'a, after which the muezzin calls the iqama. This signals the start of the main two rak'at prayer of Jumu'ah.
Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Dispenser of Grace
Memorial Hospital of South Bend - Friday 22nd February 2013
Compassion for the Elderly
Dr. A. Rashied Omar
My topic for my khutbah today has been prompted by a number of factors that have affected me very deeply during the past year.
First, as many of you may be aware I lost my father almost exactly one year ago in March 2012.
My family and I were blessed since my father had reached the ripe old-age of 84 years.
During the last year of his life my father’s health began to fail and we were privileged to serve and take care of him for a brief period.
During my moments of grief I take great solace from the times we were able to serve him and I sometimes wish I could have one more opportunity to care for him.
May Allah grant him and all of our parent’s salvation in hereafter, insha-Allah.
Allahummagh fir lahum war ham hum wa sakkinhum fil jannat
O Allah pardon them, have mercy of their souls and grant them a place in paradise.
The second motivation for my topic for today’s khutbah, is that as you know I am from South Africa and one of our country’s great leaders is Nelson Mandela.
He spent 27 years of his life in an apartheid prison and became the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994.
Mandela is one of the world’s greatest leaders and embodies the best virtues, such as selflessness, social justice and magnanimity.
Mandela will celebrate his 95th birthday on 18 July 2013, but his has become frail, physically weak and rarely makes public appearances these days.
It is heart-warming to see how the Mandela family is caring for him.
Unfortunately, many of our elders are not as lucky as Mandela and are often left feeling lonely and abandoned.
The third motivation for the topic of today’s khutbah, is that during the past few weeks since I have been back at Notre Dame, I have been greatly inspired by how my Catholic colleagues at Notre Dame have been caring for one of the university’s greatest presidents, Father Theodore Hesburgh.
Fr. Hesburgh is 95 years old, is in relatively good health but has lost much of his eyesight.
The care and compassion bestowed upon him by the university is awe-inspiring.
Compassion one of Hallmarks of Islam
The central message of my khutbah today, is to urge each one of us to make a special effort to show compassion and tenderness to the elders in our midst.
For one of the great hallmarks of Islam is Rahma - which can be translated as compassion, mercy and tenderness.
This is underscored by the fact that al-Rahman, or the Compassionate One, is the most pre-eminent attribute of God in Islam.
Compassion is so central to God's existence that it embraces all that exists in the universe (Qur’an: 40:7).
Allah, the Sublime, declares in Al-An`am, Chapter 6, verse 12:
Kataba `ala nafsihi ‘r-Rahma
God has ordained Compassion on Himself
`Abdullah bin `Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s everlasting peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Ar-Rahimina yarhamuhuma ‘r-rahimuna:
irhamu man fi’l ardi yarhamukum man fi ‘s-sama’i
“People who display compassion to others will be shown compassion by the Most Compassionate. Be compassionate to those on earth,
and He who is in heaven will be compassionate to you”
(This prophetic tradition (hadith) is transmitted in the collection of Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi who classified it as authentic (sahih))
The Glorious Qur’an describes the raison d’etre of Prophet Muhammad’s mission as rahmatan lil 'alamin, a source of compassion and mercy to the world (21:107).
Islamic Teachings on Caring for the Elderly
In bearing witness to the Islamic message of compassion the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have exhorted us to show mercy, compassion and tenderness towards the elderly:
He is not one of us who does not show mercy, compassion and tenderness towards the elderly. (Tirmidhi)
In order to encourage us to make a special effort to display acts of compassion and tenderness towards the elders in our midst, I would like to remind us about some of the physical limitations which accompany the human condition we call old age.
First, it might be useful to briefly reflect on the depiction of the elderly within the most primary source of Islamic guidance – The Glorious Quran. In Surah Maryam, Chapter 19 ayah (verse) 4, Prophet Zakariya acknowledges his physical limitations in the following moving supplication:
He (Zakariya) prayed: O my Lord and Sustainer
Indeed! My bones have become weak and infirm,
And the hair upon my head doth glister with grey.
But never my Lord have I my prayers not been blessed by you.
The physical limitations of weak bones and grey hair are the more obvious signs of old age. But what we tend to forget and neglect in our society is that the elderly need as much care and attention sometimes as infants and young children. The same people who once were the primary caregivers and providers of their families, in old age they become in need of love and care themselves.
Not only do they become progressively frail, unable to move around easily, sometimes they become in need of assistance to be cleaned, to be fed and to be dressed. Taking care of the elderly in this way requires lots of compassionate love (rahma) and patience (sabr). And in a society where we are all consumed by the demands of our work and our children, it is not always easy to make the time to also pay attention to the needs of our elderly relatives and friends.
I would like to strongly urge you to read an interesting article that appeared in last Friday 13 July 2012 issue of the Guardian titled: ‘What it feels like to be old’ by Kate Connelly.
The article describes the innovative attempts by a German Geriatric’s specialist, Dr. Rahel Eckardt, to sensitise a new generation of doctors to the medical and social needs of senior citizens. As part of their medical school training, Dr. Eckhardt gets students to climb into a specially designed Age Man Suit - an industrial-style futuristic boiler suit which weighs 10kg. This experience allows medical students a rare opportunity of experiencing the disabilities that the elderly experience on a daily basis. The ear protectors, makes hearing difficult, the yellow visor, makes it difficult to distinguish colours, the padded gloves stiffens the joints making movement difficult and the headgear is heavy and causes dizziness. According to one student, a walk up the stairs leaves her breathless and tired, trying to remove tablets from a blister pack is a fumbling disaster and the heaviness coupled with the stifled hearing and blurry vision is distinctly disorienting. The brief experience in the Age Man Suit has taught her that old age involves a great variety of illnesses, not just arthritis and dementia, and so it has encouraged her to consider specializing in the relatively new field of Geriatrics.
Since there is a dire need for more doctors to specialize in the field of geriatrics all over the world it should be regarded as a fard kifya – social obligation that needs to be encouraged.
How does Islam ask us to honour and show compassion to the elderly?
I would like to provide a one practical example of how we could display compassion to our elders. Imam Muslim narrated from `Abdullah ibn `Umar that an old man from among the Bedouin tribes met him on the road to Makkah. `Abdullah greeted him with salam, made him ride on the donkey that he was riding, and gave him the turban that he had been wearing on his head. Ibn Dinar said: We said to him, “May Allah guide you, they are just Bedouin and they are content with something simple.” `Abdullah said, “The father of this man was a close friend of my father `Umar ibn Al-Khattab and I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say,
'The best way of honoring one’s parents is for the child to keep in touch with his parent’s friends.’”
This is one of the unique forms of elder care in Islam. When we visit the friends of our parents it helps to include the elderly in society and puts an end to the isolation they feel, which in turn reduces the impact of the social and psychological changes that the elderly go through. This can be extended to include the friends of your grand-parents, so that you keep the bonds of friendship and kinship alive.
In conclusion, I advise myself and advise you to try our best to do something special to honour and display compassion to our senior citizens.
If your parents or grand-parents are alive, do some extra-special acts of tenderness to serve and honor them.
If your parents have passed into the life of the hereafter honour their memories by visiting one of their friends or relatives.
Please join me in a special prayer for our elders:
Supplication for the Elderly
IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MOST COMPASSIONATE, THE MOST MERCIFUL
O Lord of Mercy and Compassion, shower us with your mercy and compassion.
Make us your instruments to deliver your divine mercy and compassion.
O God, Creator Death and of life, we thank you for the long and rich life of the elders in our midst.
We ask that you grant caregivers of the elderly compassion, patience and loving kindness as they care for them.
O Allah thou art the pardoner of our transgressions and shortcomings towards our parents and elders, for you are the Most Generous You love to Pardon.
O Lord of Compassion, if we forget you, do not forget us.
Our Lord! Pardon us and our parents and Be kind and bestow Thy mercy upon our parents as they cherished, nurtured and sustained us in childhood
Allahummagh fir lahum war Ham hum Wa Sakkinhum fil Jannat
Our Lord, Pardon them, Have Mercy on their souls And grant them salvation in the hereafter.