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What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam What is This? A guide to a wide variety of general questions asked by those looking to learn more about Muslim culture and the Islamic world.

Faith >
Do Muslims have a weekly worship service?

Muslims gather at a mosque on Friday for the noon congregational prayer (juma). Together Muslims of different ages, ethnic groups, and social status stand side by side in straight rows facing the niche in the wall (mihrab) that indicates the direction (qibla) of the holy city of Mecca. Men and women worship in separate groups, women behind the men—for reasons of modesty, because prostrations are part of the prayer ritual. Traditionally only men were required to attend the Friday congregational prayer. Increasingly today, however, women attend the service in large numbers. An imam (leader) stands in front of the congregation to lead Friday prayers.

A special feature of the Friday prayer is a sermon (khutba), often delivered from a wooden pulpit (minbar) modeled on the platform used by Muhammad when he gave sermons to his community. The preacher begins by reciting a verse from the Quran and then gives a short talk addressing the affairs and problems of the community, often combining religious advice on social or political issues with commentary based on the Quran's message. Although in mosques with a permanent staff the imam will usually deliver the sermon, any member of the congregation can do so.

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