Before reading this article I recommend people to read this: What is My Methodology? Several people have asked about the time at which the first jumuah prayer is held at ICOI during this time of the year. The prayer sermon starts at 12:30pm and zuhr doesn't come in until around 12:50 so how is permissible to do this? And now during Ramadan, you are praying three jumuahs with one at 12?
Surely this question is asked as an evidence of one's faith and their keenness to follow the teachings of Islam. It is praiseworthy for people to take personal responsibility for their deeds and to seek answers to basic questions in their faith. It is also appreciated that most people who have spoken to me about this issue have done so with beautiful character and manners.
Although the Quran and the Sunnah are undoubtedly and without dispute the primary sources of guidance for Muslims, we rely on the works of erudite scholars throughout history in order to understand these sources. That being said, our foundation in holding the service before zuhr is in the Hanbali school of jurisprudence. It is there that we find the opinion of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal that it is permissible to perform the jumuah prayer in the time of the Eid prayer (i.e. from duha time all the way through zuhr to asr).
Many scholars and fiqh councils have addressed this question. Among them are the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of American (AMJA) which stated in the decisions related to its Sixth Conference:
- If the necessity or need demands that the Jumu'ah prayer or the sermon is moved forward to before the Zawaal (i.e. Dhuhr time), it is permissible to do so, acting upon the madhhab of Imam Ahmad, rahimahullaah.
It was also considered acceptable, while not optimal, by Shaykh Ibn Baaz (ra) as mentioned in this article which discusses the question in much detail.
Dr. Hatem al-Haj was also asked this question and answered that prayer is acceptable in the time shortly before zuhr based on the Hanbali school and he mentions briefly one of the evidences of the school as well. That answer can be found here.
We ask Allah to accept from all of us and forgive us for our shortcomings. For anyone who still does not feel comfortable with the timing of the first prayer they are more than welcome to attend the second.