Many of the students attending university have an exam during the time for Jumu’ah. Is it permissible for us to arrange a khutba amongst ourselves or would we need to travel to a masjid to catch a second / third one?
In general, if you miss Jumu’ah, then you pray dhuhr. The proof for that is:
عن عبدِ اللهِ إذا أدرَكْتَ ركعةً من الجمعةِ فأضِفْ إليْها أُخْرَى فإذا فاتَكَ الرُّكوعُ فصَلِّ أرْبَعًا
Ibn Masu’d (may Allah be pleased with him) said: if you catch one rak’ah of Jumu’ah, then add another to it. If you miss the rukoo’, then pray four rak’ah
[Graded Saheeh by al-Albani in Irwaa (3/810]
The majority of the Scholars mention that a person prays dhuhr if they miss Jumu’ah.
However, the Permanent Committee answered a question about a group of students studying in the U.S. and not being able to pray Jumu’ah at 1:30 due to class, but if that they can pray at 4 pm. They answered that if they miss it for a legislated excuse,notp then they can pray it before the time of Jumu’ah ends as they mentioned here:
Fatwa no. 2009
Q: A young man is studying in the United States and his study program does not include a break for Salah (Prayer). The timing for the Jumu‘ah (Friday) Prayer in the United States is 1:30 pm, but he is compelled to delay it until 4:00 pm, due to the schedule. Is it permissible for him to delay the Salah until that time?
A: The timing of the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers is specified by the All-Wise Lawgiver (Allah) and it is not permissible to delay them beyond their prescribed times. If delaying the Salah is for a lawful excuse which will not cause one to miss its prescribed time, then it is permissible to delay it; if it will cause one to miss the prescribed time, it is Haram (prohibited). If continuing to attend classes will cause the student to miss offering Salah within its prescribed time frame, it is not permissible to let studies cause this; it is obligatory to offer the Salah on time. The end of the time for Jumu‘ah Prayer is the same as that for the Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer, so it is not permissible to delay it later than that under any circumstances.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
If you finish your exam at 2 pm, there is no masjid that prays Jumu’ah downtown at that time unless it is a second or third Jumu’ah, from what I know.
Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen rahimahullah said regarding the difference between Jumuah and dhuhr:
“10. The Jum’uah prayer, if it is missed in the masjid, it is not repeated in it nor in other places”
[Majmoo’ al-Fatawa wa Rasaail (12/377)]
So it is better for you to pray dhuhr, whether in congregation or alone.
And Allah Knows Best
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan