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Why Don’t Muslims Observe the Sabbath? Can I?

Questioner

Sarah

Reply Date

Jul 14, 2017

Question

I am a convert to Islam, alhamdulillah, but there is something I really miss about my old life: the sabbath. My family and I used to observe the Sabbath, even though we were Christian, because it just makes sense to take a day off from work and school and life and technology and just enjoy rest and rejuvenation. I want to observe the Sabbath still, but I have been told it’s haraam because it copies the Jews. But, aren’t we all from father Abraham? What is wrong with observing the Sabbath? Can I? More importantly, why don’t Muslims feel like the Sabbath applies to them?

Consultant

Answer


Muslim sabbath

Salaam alaikum,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

I understand that you miss the Sabbath since it was a time for relaxation and rest in your family. There is a practice similar to the Sabbath in the Islamic tradition, but not really practiced the same way.

Christianity says that the Sabbath is on Sunday, while Jewish people say it is on Saturday. The Muslims, however, believe the best day of the week is Friday.

The Value of Friday

There is an authentic hadith from the narration of Abu Hurayra that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

The best day that the sun has risen upon is Friday. On it Adam was created, on it he entered Paradise, and on it he was expelled from it. And the Hour will not be established except on Friday. (Sahih Muslim and Jami`at-Tirmidhi)

Essentially, the Prophet is letting us know that the best day of the week is Friday.

The first man, Adam (AS), was created by Allah and put into Paradise on a Friday. Likewise, Adam (AS) was expelled from Paradise on a Friday. Lastly, the Day of Judgement (or “the Hour” as it is also named) will also fall on a Friday.

What Should Be Done on Friday

On Friday, Muslims should attend Jummah (Friday prayers) as it holds many blessings as well. We find in the Holy Quran that Allah said:

O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew. (Quran 62:9, Sahih International Translation)

So we see here that Allah is asking the Believers to stop whatever they’re doing and attend Jummah prayer. Remembrance of Allah is one of the best things a person can do. However, we also see in the next verse that Allah says:

And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed. (Quran 62:10, Sahih International Translation)

Understanding the Text

This is Allah clarifying that there is no piety in taking the entire day off for Jummah. It is not permissible to claim it is better religiously for us to take the day off.

He asked us to stop and take time for Jummah prayer and then afterward, go back to work, home, or whatever we were doing better. The pious choice of action lays in always remembering Allah and doing actions that may incur the blessings of Allah.

The day of the Sabbath, in Judeo-Christian traditions, also comes from the idea that on the last day God needed to rest after he made the Universe. This is problematic because Islam says that Allah never needs to rest since He is above all human-like attributes.

Ayat al-Kursi (Verse of the Throne)

In fact, there is a beautiful verse in the Quran that says,

Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. (Quran 2:255)

Allah also says in the Holy Quran,

And We did certainly create the heavens and earth and what is between them in six days, and there touched Us no weariness. (Quran 50:38)

The latter two aforementioned verses of the Quran tell the believers that He does not get tired or weary. He says in Surah al-Jummah that we must only stop everything we’re doing for Jummah and afterward return to work.

Therefore, it is understood that the Sabbath is not religiously mandated the same way it is in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Remember Allah Daily

It is encouraged to do dhikr (remembrance of Allah) every day of the week, and to avoid celebrating the Sabbath as the Christians and Jewish people do.

If you are looking for some God-themed relaxation techniques, consider taking a few moments out of every day and recite the following phrases to yourself. It also helps to take deep breaths.

“Allahu akbar” – God is the Greatest

“Alhamdullilah” – All Praises to Allah

Astaghfirullah – I seek the forgiveness of Allah

“La illah illa Allah” – I believe there is no God but Allah

“Subhanallah” – Praise Allah”

“La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah” – There is no power or might except by Allah.

Recite Ayat al-Kursi

 

If you have any more questions, please feel free to let us know.


Satisfy your curiosity and check out these other helpful links:

Was Islam Derived from Judaism?

 

10+ Hadiths about Friday

 

Friday Prayer – The Most Powerful Salah Of The Week

 

What To Do On Friday – Hadith Series

 

4 Keys for Healthy Spirituality

 




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