The majority of Hanafi, Maaliki and Shaafai scholars are of the view that Jumuah prayer can only be offered after the sun has passed the meridian. The Hanbalis are of the view that it is permissible to offer this prayer before the meridian.
See: al-Umm, 1/223; al-Majmoo, 4/377-381; al-Insaaf, 2/375-376; al-Mawsooah al-Fiqhiyyah, 27/197-198
However, it is better to offer the prayer after the sun has passed the meridian. If the congregation has no choice but to offer the prayer approximately one hour before the sun passes the meridian, there is no blame on them.
The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked:
Is it permissible to pray Jumuah one hour before the sun passes the meridian - because of the necessity of going to work in France? Please note that if we do not offer the prayer before going to work, which is one hour before the sun passes the meridian, we will not be able to pray Jumuah. Does necessity make that permissible?
There is a difference of scholarly opinion concerning the beginning of the time for Jumuah prayer. The majority of fuqaha' are of the view that the beginning of the time for Jumuah is the same as the beginning of the time for Zuhr, which is when the sun passes the meridian, so it is not permissible to offer the prayer a long time before the sun passes the meridian or a short time before, and the prayer offered before that time is not valid, because Salamah ibn al-Akwa (may Allah be pleased with him) said: We used to pray Jumuah with the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) when the sun passed the meridian, then we would go back and seek shade. Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim. And because Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to pray Jumuah when the sun had passed the zenith. Narrated by al-Bukhaari. And a number of scholars said that it is not permissible before the sixth or fifth hour.
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and a number of other scholars were of the view that the beginning of the time for Jumuah prayer is the same as the beginning of the time for the Eid prayer; as for the sun passing the meridian, it is the start of the time when it becomes obligatory to set out for Jumuah prayer. They quoted as evidence for the permissibility of offering Jumuah prayer before the sun passes the meridian the hadeeth of Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to pray - i.e., Jumuah - then we would go to our camels and take them to the watering place when the sun had passed the meridian. Narrated by Muslim. And Salamah ibn al-Akwa (may Allah be pleased with him) said: We used to pray Jumuah with the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), then we would leave and the walls would not have any shadow (i.e., the sun was at the meridian). Narrated by Abu Dawood.
To reconcile between the hadeeths we may note that the Messenger of Allah (sa) used to pray Jumuah after the sun passed the meridian most of the time, and he prayed it shortly before the sun passed the meridian sometimes.
Based on that, it is preferable to pray Jumuah after the sun has passed the meridian, paying attention to what the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) usually did, and so as to avoid an area of scholarly differences of opinion. This is what indicates that this issue is a matter of ijtihaad and is broad in scope. So if someone prays Jumuah shortly before the meridian, his prayer is valid, in sha Allah, especially if there is an excuse, such as that mentioned by the questioner. End quote.
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa'imah, 8/216-217
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen was asked:
We are government-sponsored Saudi students in the United States. We pray Jumuah prayer one hour before its time begins, because the time for it begins at 1:15, but we pray at 12.15. That is because a number of the students have lectures at the same time, and they can only offer the prayer at this early time. If this is permissible for these students, there are still some students who do not have lectures but they also pray at the early time with them, because there is only one mosque. Is their prayer acceptable?
The shaykh (may Allah preserve him) replied:
Many of the scholars are of the view that the beginning of the time for Jumuah prayer is the same as the beginning of the time for the Eid prayer, i.e., after the end of the time during which it is not allowed to pray (following Fajr prayer), and it lasts until the time for Asr begins. But they regard it as mustahabb to pray Jumuah after the sun has passed the meridian, i.e., when the time for Zuhr has begun, because it is offered instead of Zuhr prayer, and this was the usual time for Jumuah from the time of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and the time of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. But there are some reports which indicate that some of the Sahaabah used to offer it earlier, before the meridian. As there is the excuse of being busy at the usual time for this prayer, we say that there is nothing wrong with offering it before the sun passes the meridian meridian, even if it is an hour or so before, because that is permissible according to many of the scholars and because there is justification for bringing it forward. Based on that, there is nothing wrong with them all praying at the time mentioned, even though the excuse applies only to some of them and not others. And Allah knows best.
End quote from the Shaykh's website.
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked:
There are some khateebs who enter the mosque on Friday and begin the khutbah before the time for the prayer; sometimes the prayer begins when the sun has not yet passed the meridian. Is this correct?
This issue - i.e., starting the khutbah and prayer on Friday before the sun has passed the meridian - is something concerning which there is a difference of opinion among the scholars. Some of them say that it is not permissible until the sun has passed the meridian. Others say that it is permissible. The correct view is that it is permissible an hour or half an hour or the like before the sun passes the meridian. End quote.
Liqa' al-Baab al-Maftooh, 16/19
From the above it is clear that if Jumuah prayer is offered approximately one hour before the sun passes the meridian, it is valid.
With regard to holding two Jumuahs in one mosque, this is not permissible.
The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked:
The number of mosques in which Jumuah prayers are held in Paris and in other cities is few, in addition to the fact that they are too small for the worshippers because of the large numbers.
As a solution to this crisis, which is depriving many worshippers of the chance to fulfil the obligation of praying Jumuah in France, one of them suggested that Jumuah prayer should be held in two shifts in one mosque, each shift with its own imam and khateeb (i.e., Jumuah prayer should be held for the first shift at the appropriate time, then after the end of the khutbah and prayer, a new imam should come and deliver a khutbah and lead Jumuah prayer for those worshippers who agreed to wait and pray with the second shift. What is the Islamic ruling on that?
Holding two Jumuahs in one mosque is not permissible according to Islam, and we know of no basis for it in the religion of Allah. The basic principle is that one Jumuah prayer should be held in one city, and there should not be numerous Jumuahs unless it is for a legitimate shari reason, such as if the mosque is too far for some of those for whom Jumuah is obligatory, or the first mosque in which Jumuah is held is too small to accommodate all the worshippers, or similar reasons which justify holding a second Jumuah. In that case, another Jumuah should be held in a place that will fulfil the purpose for which another Jumuah is being held.
The brothers who are asking this question should look for another location that is central for those who come to the mosque in question for the second Jumuah, and they should hold another Jumuah in that place, even if it is not a mosque, such as private houses or public gardens and squares in which the relevant authorities allow Jumuah prayer to be held. End quote.
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa'imah, 8/262
And Allah knows best.
Reproduced from Islam QA