Jumu’ah prayer is one of the symbols of Islam and is one of the major obligations. There are stern warnings against abandoning it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever misses three Jumu’ahs out of neglect, Allaah will place a seal upon his heart.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1052; al-Nasaa’i, 1369; Ibn Maajah, 1126; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
Prayer in congregation is obligatory for every able-bodied man who hears the call. The fact that it is obligatory is indicated by a great deal of evidence, which you may see in the answer to question no. 120.
What is meant by hearing the call is that a person can hear the adhaan if it is given at a normal volume without loudspeakers, when the muezzin raises his voice, and the wind and other sounds etc that could affect hearing are silent. See question no. 21969 and 20655.
This has to do with the five daily prayers in congregation. As for Jumu’ah, this is another matter. The fuqaha’ say that everyone who is in the city or village in which Jumu’ah prayers are held is obliged to attend, whether they can hear the call or not. This is agreed upon, as we shall see below.
As for those who are outside the city or village where no Jumu’ah prayer is held, there is a difference of scholarly opinion concerning them.
Some of the fuqaha’ say that if they can hear the call – the call to Jumu’ah in the city or village – then they are obliged to pray Jumu’ah, but if they cannot hear it then they are not obliged to do so. This is the view of the Shaafa’is and is the opinion of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan. Fatwas to this effect have also been issued by the Hanafis.
Some of them say that if there is more than one farsakh (i.e., three miles) between them and the place of Jumu’ah, then they are not obliged to attend Jumu’ah, but if it is a farsakh or less then they must attend. This is the view of the Maalikis and Hanbalis.
Some of them say that the one who is able to go to Jumu’ah and then return to his family before nightfall is obliged to attend. This was narrated by Ibn al-Mundhir from Ibn ‘Umar, Anas, Abu Hurayrah, Mu’aawiyah, al-Hasan, Naafi’ the freed slave of Ibn ‘Umar, ‘Ikrimah, ‘Ata’, al-Hakam, al-Awzaa’i and Abu Thawr.
We have drawn attention to the ruling on those who are outside the city or village because some people think that this difference of opinion applies to those who are inside the city, but that is mistaken thinking.
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: al-Shaafa’i said to his companions: If there are forty or more mature people in the city, then Jumu’ah is obligatory for everyone who is in the city, even if the city is wider than many farsakh, whether they can hear the call or not. This is unanimously agreed upon.
End quote from al-Majmoo’, 4/353
Al-Mardaawi said in al-Insaaf: The difference of opinion concerning what is meant by a farsakh, or whether they are able to hear the call, or whether they can go and come back in one day, apply to those who live in a village where the numbers do not reach the level stipulated for Jumu’ah, or those who live in tents and the like, or those who are travelling a distance that is less than that at which it becomes permissible to shorten one's prayers. The dispute is concerning these and similar cases. As for the one who is living in a city where Jumu’ah prayers are held, he is obliged to attend even if there are many farsakhs between him and the place of Jumu’ah, whether he can hear the call or not, and whether his building is contiguous to the city or is separate, if it is called by the same name.
See: Majma’ al-Anhar, 1/169; Haashiyat al-‘Adawi ‘ala Sharh al-Risaalah, 1/376; Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’, 2/22.
Conclusion: The one who is living n a city is obliged to attend Jumu’ah, whether he can hear the call or not. This is a matter concerning which there is no difference of opinion among the scholars.
But there is a difference of opinion concerning what is meant by a “city” in cases where the houses are far apart and scattered, and there are farms and agricultural areas in between the residential quarters. Some of the scholars said: If they are separated, with farms in between, then each quarter is like a separate city.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, after quoting this opinion: But the correct view is that so long as they come under one name, then this is one city. If we assume that the city has spread and there are miles or farsakhs between one side and the other, it is still a single city and Jumu’ah is obligatory for those on its eastern edge just as for those on its western edge, and the same applies to the north and south, because it is one city. End quote from al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 5/17.