THE QUR’AN ON THIS ISSUE“So when the Qur’an is recited, listen to it and remain silent, that you may receivemercy” (al-Qur’an 7:204).As we discussed earlier in chapter 3, “Reciting Behind the Imam,” this verse wasrevealed concerning salat (and, according to some opinions, concerning thesermon too). Now, since the sermon has been likened to prayer and since theverses of the Qur’an are recited in it, the command of this verse shall apply to thesermon as well; which means that a person would have to observe silence duringthe sermon and listen attentively to what is being said. This also means that theperson should not occupy himself in prayer during the sermon.It is related from ‘Umar that the two sermons on Friday are equal to tworak‘ats of prayer. This is probably why the rak’ats of Friday prayer are only two,whereas the rak’ats of Zuhr are four. He states:The sermon is equivalent to two rak‘ats; therefore, whoever misses the sermonshould perform four rak’ats [of Zuhr] instead (Musannaf lbn Abi Shayba 2:128,Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq).It should be remembered that this was his personal view, and the ruling of themajority of scholars is that a person should still join the two rak’ats Fridaycongregation with the imam even if he happened to miss the sermon.Since the sermon is similar to the prayer, it could be concluded from this that oneshould also remain silent and listen carefully while the sermon is in progress, justas one would while in prayer. The wisdom behind disallowing all forms of prayer,remembrance [dhikr], supplication [du’], and even enjoining the right andforbidding the wrong [amr bi‘l-ma’ruf and nahy‘an al-munkar] —which ispermissible on all other occasions—is due to the fact that if a person engages intahi)’yat al-masjidor any other activity while the sermon is in progress, he will notbe able to listen attentively to the imam’s sermon.