Friday: Praying sunnas upon entering after the khutba starts
Answered by Shaykh Sohail Hanif

May the peace and blessings of Allah be on our master Muhammad, his folk and companions and all who step in his blessed footsteps until the last day.

Both the Hanbali and Shafi’i schools state that it is recommended for a latecomer to the Friday prayer to pray the 2 rakats for greeting the mosque even if the Imam is giving the khutba (Friday sermon). The Hanafi and Maliki schools however consider this to be an impermissible act.

The former two schools take as a basis for this ruling the hadith of Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah found in Sahih Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said ‘When of you comes on Friday and the imam has come out [to give the khutba] then let him pray two rakats’. In addition there is the hadith also related by Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah that is found in sahih al-Bukhari that ‘A man came whilst the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was delivering the khutba on Friday so he said “Have you prayed O so-and-so?”. The man replied “No”. The Prophet said “Stand and pray two rakats”.

Despite the seemingly clear indication of the two aforementioned rigorously authenticated hadiths, the Hanafis and Malikis deemed it impermissible to pray during the khutba. They based this ruling on a number of considerations some of which are mentioned below. The followed discussion is largely taken from the two great commentaries on Sahih al-Bukhari; Faid al-Bari by Imam al-Kashmiri [2:238, Maktaba Haqqania] and ‘Umdat al-Qari by Imam al-‘Ayni [6:230, Bulaq].

Despite the above two hadiths, it is transmitted from the majority of the early Muslims from the Sahaba, including Umar, Uthman and Ali, and the Tabi’in that they did not deem it permissible to pray during the khutba. [Read more]