Friday was chosen by Muhammad as the special day for Muslims, apparently in opposition and distinction to Jews and Christians:
It is narrated by Abu Huraira and Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: It was Friday from which Allah diverted those who were before us. For the Jews (the day set aside for prayer) was Sabt (Saturday), and for the Christians it was Sunday. And Allah turned towards us and guided us to Friday (as the day of prayer) for us. In fact, He (Allah) made Friday, Saturday and Sunday (as days of prayer). In this order would they (Jews and Christians) come after us on the Day of Resurrection. We are the last of (the Ummahs) among the people in this world and the first among the created to be judged on the Day of Resurrection. In one narration it is: "to be judged among them." (Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1862; see also Numbers 1858-1861, 1863)
For more on the ambivalent relationship of Muhammad to Christians, see the article The Quranic View of Christians — Fellow Believers or Unbelieving Polytheists?
Speaking of the greatness of the day of Jum'ah (Friday), Muhammad said in a hadith: "On that day [i.e. Jum'ah], Allah created Adam." Hence Muslims emphasized Friday because Allah created Adam on that day."
Narrated Abu Huraira I heard Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) saying, "We (Muslims) are the last (to come) but (will be) the foremost on the Day of Resurrection though the former nations were given the Holy Scriptures before us. And this was their day (Friday) the celebration of which was made compulsory for them but they differed about it. So Allah gave us the guidance for it (Friday) and all the other people are behind us in this respect: the Jews' (holy day is) tomorrow (i.e. Saturday) and the Christians' (is) the day after tomorrow (i.e. Sunday)." (Sahih Bukhari 2.1, Sahih Bukhari 2.21)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "When it is a Friday, the angels stand at the gate of the mosque and keep on writing the names of the persons coming to the mosque in succession according to their arrivals. The example of the one who enters the mosque in the earliest hour is that of one offering a camel (in sacrifice). The one coming next is like one offering a cow and then a ram and then a chicken and then an egg respectively. When the Imam comes out (for Jumua prayer) they (i.e. angels) fold their papers and listen to the Khutba." (Sahih Bukhari 2.51)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle talked about Friday and said, "There is an hour (opportune time) on Friday and if a Muslim gets it while praying and asks something from Allah, then Allah will definitely meet his demand." And he (the Prophet) pointed out the shortness of that time with his hands. (Sahih Bukhari 2.57)
Believing that the above traditions are not trustworthy, S.D. Goitein presents an entirely different motivation that may have led to the choice of Friday as the day of Muslim assembly: The Origin and Nature of the Muslim Friday Worship.
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