No Neighboring Muslims: How to Pray Jumu`ah?

Question and answer details
As-salamu `alaykum. What can one do if there is no masjid for jumu`ah (congregational Friday prayer) in my area? The Islamic Center is defunct and the closest masjid to my home is over 1:30 hours away from here. I do not have the means to attend jumu`ah at that distance. I have looked for other Muslims in my area to meet with for jumu`ah but being in the Bible belt, I have been unsuccessful. What should I do?
Ahmad Kutty

Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

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Dear brother, we sincerely commend your question that shows your great interest to perform prayers, the second pillar of Islam, in jama`ah (congregational prayer).

It should be clearly known that prying in jama`ah has much greater reward from Allah than praying individually. It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said, “Congregational prayer exceeds the individual one by twenty seven degrees.” (Al-Bukhari from Ibn `Umar)

As for jum`ah Prayer, it has even more importance, as there is a strong warning by the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) from neglecting it without a reasonable excuse.

So, we encourage you, and every Muslim, to do your best performing the Friday Prayer in jumu`ah so as to gain Allah’s best reward.

Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states,

If there are no Muslims in your area to form a jumu`ah (congregational Friday prayer), then jumu`ah (Friday Prayer) is not obligatory on you. So, it is enough for you to pray Zuhr.

However, having said this, I should also advise you to consider relocating to an area where there is a Muslim community. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) warned us against isolating ourselves from the community. He said, “Strive to be with the community of Muslims, for by isolating oneself, one may risk falling into the hell-fire as wolves tend to prey on stray sheep!” (Abu Dawuud and An-Nasa’i)

Allah Almighty knows best.