Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is it permissible for a security guard to leave his Friday prayer if he’s on duty?
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.
Attending the Friday prayer is one of the commandments of syarak for every mukallaf Muslim man. This is based on the statement of Allah SWT:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you if you only knew.” 
Hence, it can be understood that attending and performing the obligation of Friday prayer is one of the characteristics of a mukmin who prioritizes his responsibility as the salve of Allah SWT preceding all others worldly affairs such as trade at the time.
Although this is so, the commandment of attending the Friday prayer has its facilitation for those who experience a debility where it is permissible for him to not attend it according to syarak. This follows a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, he said, Rasullullah PBUH said:
مَنْ سَمِعَ النِّدَاءَ فَلَمْ يَأْتِهِ فَلاَ صَلاَةَ لَهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ عُذْرٍ
“Whoever hears the call for prayer and does not come (to the mosque for prayer), his prayer will not be accepted from him, unless he has a (legitimate) excuse.” 
Coming back to the above question, the duties of a security guard is to maintain the peace and safety of the area he is in charge of from trespassers, thieves and robbers. If they don’t fulfil their duties, then the safety of people such as their lives and property will be exposed to danger. Thus, scholars set the obligatory condition of Friday prayer is al-khulw `an al-udzr (there’s no excuse). The evidence is a hadith of Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, Rasullullah PBUH:
مَنْ سَمِعَ الْمُنَادِيَ فَلَمْ يَمْنَعْهُ مِنَ اتِّبَاعِهِ عُذْرٌ فَلَا صَلَاةَ لَهُ قَالُوا: وَمَا الْعُذْرُ؟ قَالَ: خَوْفٌ، أَوْ مَرَضٌ
“If any one hears him who makes the call to prayer and is not prevented from joining the congregation by any excuse,” (he was asked what an excuse consisted of and replied that it was fear or illness), “the prayer he says will not be accepted from him.” 
Syeikh Muhammad al-Zuhaili stated that means, “And every debility of the same level of burden with the debility of illness is also considered as a debility that is analogically deduced with illness. Thus, Friday prayer is not obligatory for a person who fears for his life or property.” 
Scholars also include the meaning of debility when a person’s close friend, shir (in-laws) or someone he loves, for him not to attend the Friday prayer, fearing that his brother will die, then it is permissible for him to not attend the Friday prayer. This is as narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari:
أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا، ذُكِرَ لَهُ: أَنَّ سَعِيدَ بْنَ زَيْدِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ نُفَيْلٍ، وَكَانَ بَدْرِيًّا، مَرِضَ فِي يَوْمِ جُمُعَةٍ، فَرَكِبَ إِلَيْهِ بَعْدَ أَنْ تَعَالَى النَّهَارُ، وَاقْتَرَبَتِ الجُمُعَةُ، وَتَرَكَ الجُمُعَةَ
“Ibn ‘Umar was once told that Said bin Zaid bin ‘Amr bin Nufail, one of the Badr warriors, had fallen ill on a Friday. Ibn ‘Umar rode to him late in the forenoon. The time of the Friday prayer approached and Ibn ‘Umar did not take part in the Friday prayer.” 
The committee of Saudi Arabia’s Lajnah Daimah li al-Ifta’ once answered a related question stating:
“The original ruling for Friday prayer is obligatory for every individual… however, if there is an excuse permitted by syarak on a person obligated to perform Friday prayer such as his responsibility is directly related with the duties of protecting the peace of the ummah and preserving them, and they are needed to perform their duties during the time for Friday prayers such as in situations of a security guard, traffic officer, telephone operator and others…their situation is similar to those who experience the debility of fearing for their lives and properties, of whom are stated by scholars to be permitted to leave the Friday prayer for as long as the debility exists. However, this does not abrogate the obligation of Zuhur prayer and it is obligated for him to pray during its time and if possible, in congregation for this is an obligation just like the five obligatory prayers.” 
The 14th National Fatwa Muzakarah Committee for Religious Affairs Malaysia which convened on 22nd – 23rd October 1985 discussed the issue of Friday Prayer for Police and the Army Who are On Duty has decided that it is permissible for police officers and army personnel to leave their Friday prayer if they are on duty involved in security matters, for it is considered as a permissible excuse by syarak because they are forced to be on duty, on the condition that they don’t leave their Friday prayer 3 times consecutively. 
Considering the above-presented arguments and evidences, we are inclined towards that it is permissible for a security guard to leave his Friday prayer on the following conditions:
First, the task cannot be replaced with someone else, such as a female or non-Muslim guard. If it can be replaced, then it is obligatory for the guard to perform his Friday prayer.
Second, if it cannot be replaced, a schedule can be made so that he can be on duty in turns. For example, in the first week Guard A will pray and Guard B will be on duty to guard the area. This is to avoid the warning of those who left the Friday prayer 3 times in succession as stated in a hadith narrated by Abu al-Ja’d, Rasullullah PBUH said:
مَنْ تَرَكَ الجُمُعَةَ ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ تَهَاوُنًا بِهَا طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قَلْبِهِ
“He who leaves the Friday prayer (continuously) for three Friday on account of slackness, Allah will print a stamp on his heart.” 
Imam al-Munawi explained: “Allah SWT will stamp his heart means Allah SWT will lock, close and prevent his heart from receiving blessings from Allah, and ignorance and burdens are created in his heart and change his heart with the heart of a hypocrite.” 
While in another narration from Jabir bin Abdullah, he said the Messenger PBUH said:
مَنْ تَرَكَ الْجُمُعَةَ ثَلاَثًا مِنْ غَيْرِ ضَرُورَةٍ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قَلْبِهِ
“Whoever missed three jumu’ahs with no cogent excuse, Allah will place a seal over his heart.” 
Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari when explaining this hadith cited an opinion of scholars who state that whoever leaves it due to negligence. While al-‘Aini stated: “The phrase ‘تَهَاوُنًا بِهَا’ means leaving it because one is lazy or taking the matter lightly.” 
Imam al-Suyuti explained it saying: “What is clear is the meaning of taking it lightly is laziness and lack of determination in performing it, not insulting or brushing it off (its obligation), for these is a form of disbelief.” 
Third, if he is still incapable, then he must perform just the Zuhur prayer and it is best if done in congregation.
 Narrated by Ibn Majah (793)
 See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafie, 1/497
 Narrated by al-Bukhari (3990)
 See Himpunan Fatwa Lajnah Daimah Arab Saudi, 18/188
 See Kompilasi Pandangan Hukum Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Malaysia, pg. 36
 Narrated by al-Tirmizi (500). He stated this hadith is hasan.
 Narrated by al-Nasa’ie (1370)
 See Mirqat al-Mafatih, 3/1024
 See Syarh Sunan Ibn Majah, 1/79