Assalamualaikum ustaz. What is the ruling if a Friday prayer congregant is thirsty and drinks some water when the Khatib is still delivering the sermon?
Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,
Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.
Generally, one of the things that will make someone be considered as lagha (involved in useless matters) in Friday prayer is any movement and actions that distract his attention and focus away from the sermon being delivered.
This is based on a narration from Abu Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ تَوَضَّأَ فَأَحْسَنَ الْوُضُوءَ ثُمَّ أَتَى الْجُمُعَةَ فَاسْتَمَعَ وَأَنْصَتَ غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْجُمُعَةِ وَزِيَادَةُ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ وَمَنْ مَسَّ الْحَصَى فَقَدْ لَغَا
“If anyone performs ablution, doing it well, then comes to the Friday prayer, listens and keeps silent, his sins between that time and the next Friday will be forgiven him, with three days extra; but he who touches pebbles has caused an interruption (lagha).” 
According to the above hadith, it can be understood that the act of playing with pebbles when the khatib is delivering the sermon is restricted and make the doer considered as lagha. This is widened with other actions which distract his focus and attention away from listening to the sermon. For example, playing with one’s phone, sleeping, ear and drink without any reason and others.
The Ruling of Drinking During the Sermon
In answering this issue, we state the following:
Basically, several hadiths show the prohibition on words and actions that distracts one’s focus and actions from listening to the sermon. This follows a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where Rasullullah PBUH said:
إِذَا قُلْتَ لِصَاحِبِكَ يَوْمَ الجُمُعَةِ: أَنْصِتْ، وَالإِمَامُ يَخْطُبُ، فَقَدْ لَغَوْتَ
“If you say to your companion to keep quiet, then indeed you have committed a sin (error/something senseless).” 
Likewise, in a hadith also narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, Rasullullah PBUH said:
وَمَنْ مَسَّ الْحَصَى فَقَدْ لَغَا
“And whoever touches the pebbles then he has engaged in Laghw (idle talk or behaviour).” 
Both these hadiths are restrictions of two matters that one shouldn’t engage in during the Friday sermon. They are restrictions against talking and playing with pebbles. We can understand the wisdom for the restrictions are because both distract a person from the sermon being delivered.
In the following, we present several opinions stated by scholars regarding the meaning of lagha mentioned in both these hadiths. Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said: there is an opinion that states lagha means: Your rewards of Friday are invalid. While other opinion states: Your Friday is abrogated and it changes to Zohor. 
Although scholars differed regarding the effect for the warning of lagha in terms of the ruling implication, which means some madhhab jurists state the ruling of both acts (talking and playing with pebbles) is makruh (discouraged) while the opinion of jurists of other madhhab stated both these actions are prohibited. However, what’s certain is that both the acts are restricted, for it distracts the attention and focuses on listening to the Friday sermon delivered.
In answering the question presented, we cited the words of Imam al-Nawawi, who stated:
يُسْتَحَبُّ لِلْقَوْمِ أَنْ يُقْبِلُوا عَلَى الْخَطِيبِ مُسْتَمِعِينَ وَلَا يَشْتَغِلُوا بِغَيْرِهِ حَتَّى قَالَ أَصْحَابُنَا يُكْرَهُ لَهُمْ شُرْبُ الْمَاءِ لِلتَّلَذُّذِ ولا بأس يشربه لِلْعَطَشِ لِلْقَوْمِ وَالْخَطِيبِ
“It is sunnah for people (general public) to face the khatib and listen (to the sermon delivered) and not busy themselves with other matters. Our colleagues state: It is makruh for people (congregants) to drink water for the purpose of talazzuz (enjoyment), but it is fine for both the congregants and khatib to drink water if he is thirsty.” 
Such is also stated by Imam al-Syafi’e: If a man is thirsty (during the Friday sermon) then it is fine for him to drink water when the imam is delivering the sermon at the pulpit. However, if he isn’t thirsty, but just want to enjoy a drink, then I’d prefer for him to restrain himself from doing so. 
To close, we’d like to state that the act of drinking water during the Friday sermon for either the congregant or the khatib should be considered according to the needs of the drinker. If it is because he is thirsty, then it is permissible.
It is best if the water is placed near him during the sermon. This is so that if he wanted to have a drink, he doesn’t have to walk far which could disturb the other congregants.
Lastly, may Allah SWT give us all the correct understanding for us in practising this religion. Amin.
 Narrated by al-Bukhari (934)