Sūrah al-Jumuʿah and Sūrah al-Munāfiqūn
Observations of relationships between Sūrah al-Jumuʿah and Sūrah al-Munāfiqūn
Sūrah al-Jumuʿah (The Congregation) and Sūrah al-Munāfiqūn (The Hypocrites) are two short suwar that occur sequentially in the Quran and used to be recited together by the Messenger ﷺ during some Friday prayers.
Before looking at the relationship between the two suwar, we’d like to observe a parallel that occurs in the very beginning of Sūrah al-Jumuʿah. It appears that the four descriptions of Allah ﷻ in the first āyah match with the four duties of the Messenger ﷺ in the next āyah.
The first of these divine titles is “the King” (al-Malik). One task of a king is that, when he wishes to convey a message, he will dispatch a messenger to his desired audience with the job of delivering that message. The audience, in turn, will recognize the status of the messenger because he will bear emblems or signs (āyāt) of the king, such as on his uniform. This corresponds with the first part of the second āyah, “He is the One Who raised for the illiterate people a messenger from among themselves - reciting to them His signs (āyāt).”
The second divine name is “the Most Holy” or “the Sacred” (al-Quddūs). This word in Arabic also has the connotation of “the Pure.” This corresponds to the second task of the Messenger ﷺ, that he purifies them (yuzakkī-him).
The third divine name requires some explanation, because it is difficult to capture in translation. Thus, al-ʿAzīz (frequently translated as “the Mighty”) signifies not only one who is powerful, but one who has authority that is respected. The word “Book” (kitāb) in Classical Arabic and in the Quran has the connotation of “Law.” Even in English, when a judge is said to “throw the book at someone,” it indicates that he is going to hold him fully accountable to the law. A law is, naturally, only effective if it comes from a respected authority. The Messenger’s task of teaching “the Book” is therefore closely tied with Allah’s authority to issue laws and commands.
The Messenger’s task of teaching “wisdom” (al-ḥikmah, usually understood as the Messenger’s divinely-inspired teaching and example that supplements the Quran) is tied to Allah’s attributes of being “the Wise” (al-Ḥakīm).
al-Jumuʿah and al-Munāfiqūn
Both suwar begin with mention of Allah ﷻ and His affirmation of Muhammad’s role as His messenger.
Both suwar center on two different groups of people who had revelation from Allah ﷻ, took on the title of the believers, but failed to implement the laws as they were intended. In Sūrah al-Jumuʿah it was the Jews who were criticized for having full knowledge of the Torah, but foolishly disregarded rules as they saw fit. In a similar vein, Sūrah al-Munāfiqūn speaks of the hypocrites who claimed to be Muslims, but were actually hiding their disbelief behind a veil of deceit. They spoke like believers but their hearts betrayed those words’ true meaning.
Both suwar conclude with an important lesson about how we should not allow our money and provisions distract us from our worship of Allah ﷻ. Sūrah al-Jumuʿah mentions the story of when the believers “dispersed” (infaḍḍū) from the Friday congregational prayer because a caravan had come into town. Using a word from the same Arabic origin, Sūrah al-Munāfiqūn mentions an incident wherein the hypocrites advocated for not giving monetary aid to the Muslims so that they’d be forced to “disperse” (yanfaḍḍū).
On a similar note, the believers who left the Friday prayer did so in pursuit of what Allah ﷻ called a “diversion” (lahwā). Appropriately, Allah ﷻ warns the believers in the next sūrah to not let their wealth and children “divert” (tulhi) them.
In both of the aforementioned cases of “diversion”, the believers were being reprimanded for allowing their worldly desires distract them from “the remembrance of Allah” (dhikr Allah).
Finally, in Sūrah al-Jumuʿah Allah ﷻ tells the believers that when they’re called to the Friday prayer that they should rush to the remembrance of Allah and leave off making sales until it’s over. Why? Because “that is better for you all if you only knew (in kun-tum taʿlamūn). This is echoed in the next sūrah when Allah ﷻ says that honor and authority belong to Him, the Messenger, and the believers but “the hypocrites don’t know (lā yaʿlamūn),” drawing a possible parallel between hypocrisy and being absent from the Friday prayer in pursuit of worldly provisions.
والله أعلم - And Allah knows best
Parallels in beginning of Sūrah al-Jumuʿah are from: Ali Khan, Nouman and Sharif Randhawa. Divine Speech: Exploring the Quran as Literature. Bayyinah Institute, 2016.
Parallels between Sūrah al-Jumuʿah and Sūrah al-Munāfiqūn are from personal research and reflections