Abu Musa al- Ash’ari said that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say, regarding the hour on Friday: “It is between the time, the Imam sits down until the time the prayer is over.” [Sahih Muslim (853)] This hadith tells us that there is an "hour" on Friday where our supplications will be answered. It places this hour within the time frame of the Jurnu ' ah prayer. There are other hadith which place the hour at other times on Friday.
The most authentic of these is where Jabir relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Friday is comprised of twelve hours. There is one in which a Muslim who asks Allah for something will have it granted to him. Seek it in the last hour after 'Asr." [Sunan Abi Dawood (1048), Sunan al-Nasa'I (1389) and Mustadrak al-Hakim( 1032)]
Al-Hakirn says about it: "This hadith is authentic on the condition of Muslim, but he did not narrate it." Its line of transmission is also authenticated by al-Nawawi in al- Majmu' (4/471).
A similar hadith was related by Anas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Seek the anticipated hour of Friday after 'Asr until sunset" [Sunan al-Tirmidh'i' (489)]
At-Tirmidhi comments: This hadith is strange in this narration, though this hadith is narrated from Anas in other ways. One of its narrators is Muhammad b. Abi Humayd who is weak. It said that he is Abu Ibrahirn al-Ansari, whose hadith are false."
Some people of knowledge from among the Prophet's Companions and others consider the anticipated hour to be from after 'Asr until sunset. This is also the saying of Ahmad and lshaq. Ahmad said:
"Most of the hadith about the hour in which we anticipate that our supplications will be answered place this hour after the 'Asr prayer ... " [Sunan al-Tirrnidhi (2/260)]
This is the opinion preferred by Ahmad and many others. They regard the time between the 'Asr and Maghrib prayers to be the broader timeframe in which we should seek out the special hour by invoking Allah in supplication. An-Nawawi, in his commentary on Sahih Muslim (6/140-141), endorses the opinion supported by the first hadith, the one related by Abu Musa al-Ash ' ari that the special time takes place during the Jurnu ' ah prayer. He does so in consideration of the fact that the hadith which establishes this has the strongest chain of transmission.
He quotes Muslim as saying about this hadith "It is the best and the most authentic of all the hadith which discuss the preferred hour on Friday." Other scholars see that there is no contradiction between the two hadith. They are of the opinion that the preferred hour for supplication on Friday is found within both these periods of time.
Ibn al-Qayyim expresses this opinion in Zad al-Ma' ad (1/394), saying: All the hadith agree on this and the Prophet (peace be upon him) had encouraged his people to offer supplications and make solicitations to Allah within these two hours." This is also the opinion of Sheikh' Abd al- ' Aziz b. Baz, as expressed in his book Majmu' al-Fatawa wal-Rasa'il '(12/40 1-402).
It is worth pointing out that the time in which supplications are more likely to be answered is not the entire interval of time mentioned in these hadith, but the hour of response is some shorter duration of time within this larger time period. This point has been discussed by al-Qadi 'Iyad and reiterated by an-Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim (6/140).
This is supported by the hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) made a motion with his hand to indicate a shorter period of time for this hour. [Sahih al-Bukhari (893) and Sahih Muslim (852)]
In another narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"It is a brief hour. " [Sahih Muslim (852)]
Therefore, this hour cannot be determined to be fifty minutes or some lesser defined period. It should be sought within the whole interval of time mentioned by the Prophet (peace be upon him). This is the same as what we are advised to in seeking Laylat al-Qadr in Ramadan, which is to be sought within the last ten days of Ramadan.
A person must persevere and hope that his supplication will coincide with this special hour in which Allah answers all supplications. Imam an-Nawawi refers to this when he said: "The hour might be transferable. On some Fridays it might be at one time and on other Fridays at other times. This is just like the strongest opinion regarding Laylat al-Qadr;" [al-Majmu' (4/471)] And Allah knows best.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited