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Importance of Friday

The name Friday comes from the Old English frīġedæġ, meaning the "day of Frig", a result of an old convention associating the Germanic goddess Frigg with the Roman goddess Venus, with whom the day is associated in many different cultures. The same holds for Frīatag in Old High German, Freitag in Modern German, and vrijdag in Dutch.

The word for Friday in most Romance languages is derived from Latin dies Veneris or "day of Venus" (a translation of Greek Aphrodites hemera), such as vendredi in French, venres in Galician, divendres in Catalan, vennari in Corsican, venerdì in Italian, vineri in Romanian, and viernes in Spanish and influencing the Filipino biyernes or byernes, and the Chamorro betnes. This is also reflected in the p-Celtic Welsh language as Gwener.

An exception is Portuguese, also a Romance language, which uses the word sexta-feira, meaning "sixth day of liturgical celebration", derived from the Latin feria sexta used in religious texts where it was not allowed to consecrate days to pagan gods. Another exception among the Romance languages is also Sardinian, in which the word chenàpura is derived from Latin cena pura. This name had been given by the Jewish community exiled to the island in order to designate the food specifically prepared for Shabbat eve.

In Modern Greek, four of the words for the week-days are derived from ordinals. However, the Greek word for Friday is Paraskevi and is derived from a word meaning "to prepare". Like Saturday (Savvato) and Sunday (Kyriaki), Friday is named for its liturgical significance as the day of preparation before Sabbath, which was inherited by Greek Christian Orthodox culture from Jewish practices.

Friday was formerly a Christian fast day; this is the origin of the Irish Dé hAoine, Scottish Gaelic Di-Haoine, Manx Jeheiney and Icelandic föstudagur, all meaning "fast day". In Christianity, Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. As such, adherents of many Christian denominations including the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Methodist and Anglican traditions, observe the Friday Fast, which traditionally includes abstinence from meat, lacticinia, and alcohol on Fridays of the year.
In most Indian languages, Friday is Shukravāra, named for Shukra, the planet Venus. In Bengali Shukrobar is the 6th day in the Bengali week of Bengali Calendar and is the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh. In Tamil, the word for Friday is velli, also a name for Venus; and in Malayalam it is velliyalca.

The day is named after the Shukracharya, son of Bhrigu and Kavyamata (Usana). In Hinduism, special observances are practiced for mother goddesses on Friday. Fridays are important for married ladies. They worship Goddesses on that day.
In Japanese, kinyobi is formed from the words kinsei, meaning Venus (lit. gold + planet) and yobi, meaning day (of the week).
Jewish Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday and lasts until nightfall on Saturday. There is a Jewish custom to fast on the Friday of the week of Chukat.

In Arabic, Friday is الجمعة al-jumʿah, from a root meaning congregation or gathering. In languages of Islamic countries outside the Arab world, the word for Friday is commonly a derivation of this: (Malay Jumaat (Malaysia) or Jumat (Indonesian), Turkish cuma, Persian/Urdu جمعه , jumʿa.

The Arabic word for Friday is Yaum al-Jumu‘ah, which literally means the ‘day of gathering or assembly.’ Prior to Islam, the Arabs used to call this day al-Arubah, which has the connotations of it being a nice day. It was Ka‘b ibn Lu’ayy, the seventh grandfather of the Prophet, who changed the name to al-Jumu‘ah, as he used to gather the Quraish, the tribe of the Prophet on a Friday, after the sun reached its zenith. Ka’b ibn Lu’ayy was firm on the religion of the Prophet Ibrahim, having absolute conviction in the coming of the Prophet Muhammad.

The 62nd Sura of the Koran is Sura Jumu’ah. In its 9th verse, God says, “O’ Believers! When the call is sounded for prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of God and put away your business. This is better for you if you know.” (62:9)
In Islam, Friday (from sun-down Thursday to sun-down Friday, simpler than midnight to midnight in a pre-clock age) is the day of communion, of praying together, often mistaken as the holy day of Muslims corresponding to Sunday in Christianity and Sabbath (Friday evening to Saturday evening) in Judaism and Sabbatarian Christianity; yet the seventh day is the holy day of contemplation and rest also for Muslims. Friday observance includes attendance at a mosque for congregation prayer or Salat Al-Jumu'ah. It is considered a day of peace and mercy well as a day of rest.


There are two words for a day in Koran, Nahar and Yaum. The word nahar means the hour from morning to evening or a daytime used 57 times in the Koran. The word Yaum denotes a period of 24 hours used 365 times in the Koran.

In the Koran, the word yaum is used: “O’ Believers! When the call is sounded for prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of God and put away your business. This is better for you if you know.” (62:9).
It clearly suggests that the Friday prayer can be offered at any time during 24 hours. This is the main reason that the Ismailis offer their Salat (dua) on Friday evening.

Abu Huraira reported the Prophet as saying, “The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday; on it, Adam was created. on it he was made to enter Paradise, on it he was expelled from it. And the last hour will take place on no day other than Friday.” (Sahih Muslim, 7: 27)
The Prophet said, “Indeed this (day of Friday) is a day of Eid (festival), which God has made for the Muslims. So whoever comes to the Friday (prayer), let him take a bath, and if he has perfume then let him put some on.” (Ibn Majah)

Abu Hurairah further narrated that the Prophet was once asked, “For what reason was the day called Jumu‘ah?” He said, “Because on that day, the clay was shaped from which your father, Adam was made, and on that day will be the trumpet blast (on the Day of Judgement), the Resurrection and the great seizure (of the disbelievers). And in its last three hours, there is an hour when whoever supplicates God in it, it will be responded to”. (Masnad)

While in the hadiths, the Friday is termed as yaum al-mawlid (day of the birth of the Prophet), yaum al-fazl (day of gracing), yaum al-baraka (day of benediction), yaum al-rahma (day of mercy), yaum al-ijabut (day of the acceptance of prayer), yaum al-eid (day of festival), yaum al ithq (day of piety), yaum al-ghuzwa (day of struggle), yaum al-karamat (day of honour), yaum al-mazid (day of abundance) or eid al-mu’amin (festival of the believers) etc.
Abu Huraira reports that the Prophet said, “There is a certain blessed moment in the course of a Friday that when any prayer is offered, it is accepted.” (Bukhari). It must be known that the Islamic calander also began on Friday, the 16th July, 622.
The word Thavar is used in the ginan for Friday:-
Ya’ra tith satai ma rohan nakh’tra, sanj thavar thindo shah’jo viyya’n
“O’ Friend! On seventh day of the month during the star of rohanni nakh’tra (fourth lunar mansion), and Friday evening, the marriage of the Lord will take place (with the virgin world).”

The 54th Koranic chapter is al-Qamar (moon) with 55 verses revealed in Mecca, and the 62nd chapter is al-Jumah having 11 verses, revealed in Medina. The moon is a symbol of peace and the Friday as grace. When peace and grace join together (Crescent and Friday), the day becomes very sacramental and full of significance, and on that day the Ismailis keep fasting, known as beej. This is a fast for purification of heart, for peace of mind, for spiritual happiness and Divine grace.

It is related that a terrible famine broke out in Kutchh by the end of 1870. It greatly shocked Imam Hasan Ali Shah, who sent corns and clothes from Bombay for the Ismailis in Kutchh. In 1872, the Imam visited Bhuj, Kutchh with a caravan of young workers laden with large supplies on camels. Looking the destitute followers utterly in worst condition, the Imam’s eyes welled up with tears. On this occasion, the Imam advised them, “The young farmers among you must go to Africa for better prospect.”

Soon after Imam’s departure, a group comprised of 153 young persons resolved to go to Africa. They sailed from Mandavi port and landed at Bombay with a view to earn Imam’s blessings. They contacted Kamadia Nazar Ali Haji in Wadi, Bombay and were given chance to see the Imam next day. The Imam gave them audience and became much happy and blessed. Then, the Imam took a paper and wrote four tasbihs on it and delivered to their head, Allino Jafar and said, “When you reach Africa, you spread in different directions. When set up, you select one among you as Mukhi and open a small Jamatkhana and recite these tasbih. You must attend daily especially on Friday. Don’t organize any other majalis.”

These 153 young Ismailis migrated boldly towards East Africa and spread in different countries. They were our most devoted and honorable ancestors, who labored hard in the tea and coffee gardens and remitted their earnings in Kutchh to sustain their poor families. It is also reliably known that some of them ate less and remained hungry to make savings for their destitute and resourceless families. They were faithful and obeyed Imam’s guidance and attended Jamatkhana regularly and never missed assembly of the Friday. We are today prosperous because of the untiring efforts, sacrifice and exertion of our forefathers, which must not be forgiven.

Imam Aga Ali Shah said, “Don’t miss Friday provided you wish to have plentitude and growth in your families.” (Bombay, 1878)
In the second week of July, 1945, Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah visited Jamatkhana in Dar-es-Salam. It was Friday evening, the Imam stopped car in a bustling street of a market, where he saw few Ismaili shop-keepers rendering homage to the Imam. The Imam said them, “Close your shops just now and go to the Jamatkhana and sip nectar (abe’ shafa or gatpat), otherwise there will be no abundance in your business.” The Ismailis immediately closed their shops and attended the Jamatkhana.

The Chand Ra’t comes once a month, and simultaneously we should also equally advance importance of the Friday which comes four times in a month. We must attend Jamatkhana to refresh our faith and sip holy water. It is normally observed that the people largely congregates during the Chand Ra’t which is a best practice, but their weak attendance during Friday is not sensible. Whatever may be our circumstances, the importance of the Friday should not be ignored. It must be noted and followed by our present generation.

Karachi: November, 2022

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