Why does the MCA conduct the first service for the Jumu’ah congregation sometimes before the start of the time of Zuhur?
The answer, in short, is that we do this to accommodate as many people as possible for the Jum’ah service by taking advantage of a valid position in the Hanbali school of jurisprudence (Fiqh) which permits the Jumu’ah prayer before the start of the time of Zuhur.
The crowds of Jumu’ah prayer necessitated having two services – had we had one service we would have certainly made that one service after the start of the Zuhur.
This is the view of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Imam Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh. The basis of those who hold this view is a number of authentic hadeeths:
عن رضي الله عنه جابر بن عبد الله قال :كُنَّا نُصَلِّي مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ نَرْجِعُ فَنُرِيحُ نَوَاضِحَنَا. قَالَ حَسَنٌ : فَقُلْتُ لِجَعْفَرٍ : فِي أَيِّ سَاعَةٍ تِلْكَ ؟ قَالَ : زَوَالَ الشَّمْسِ . رواه مسلم (858(
Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah narrated: We used to pray with the Messenger of Allaah, then we would go back and let our camels used for carrying water rest. Hasan said: I said to Ja’far: At what time was that? He said: When the sun passed its zenith. [Muslim – 858]
وعن سهل رضي الله عنه قال : مَا كُنَّا نَقِيلُ وَلَا نَتَغَدَّى إِلَّا بَعْدَ الْجُمُعَةِ.
(رواه مسلم (859
Sahl said: We used not to take a nap or eat lunch until after Jumu‘ah. [Muslim – 859]
Imam Shawkaani said: In this hadeeth there is an evidence for those who take the view that it is permissible to pray the Jumu’ah congregation before the sun passes zenith…This is so because [the norm of] eating lunch and taking a nap were [then] done before the sun passed its zenith.
وعن سلمة بن الأكوع رضي الله عنه قال : ( كُنَّا نُصَلِّي مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْجُمُعَةَ فَنَرْجِعُ وَمَا نَجِدُ لِلْحِيطَانِ فَيْئًا نَسْتَظِلُّ بِهِ ) رواه البخاري (4168) ، ومسلم (860) واللفظ له
Salamah ibn al-Akwa‘ said: We used to pray Jumu’ah with the Messenger of Allaah, then we would go back and we could not find any wall offering shade. [Bukhaari – 4168; Muslim – 860]