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Does Friday Khutbah Have to be in Arabic Only?

By Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi

The essential features of Friday Khutbah are the following according to the Sunnah of the Prophet -peace be upon him.

  1. The Imam should be in Wudu and should be properly dressed.

  2. It should be given from a pulpit (minbar). According to the Sunnah the minbar should be at the right side of the mihrab. It should have three steps. The Imam should go up on the minbar, stand on the second step and sit on the third step. If minbar is not available then one can stand on any elevated place. If that is not available then one can stand on the musalla facing the people.

  3. The Imam should go on the minbar, while facing the people in the standing position he should say, "Assalam 'alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh." The audience should answer the Imam. The he should sit down and the Adhan for Khutbah should be given.

  4. After the Adhan, the Imam should stand up and deliver the Khutbah. The Khutbah should begin with the praise of Allah (hamd), the declaration of faith (two shahadah), peace and blessing upon the Prophet (salat and salam), then at least one ayah from the Qur'an should be recited. All these things should be in Arabic. After this the Imam can use the local language to speak to the people and remind them about their faith and their religious duties.

  5. The Khutbah should be in two parts. After finishing the first part the Imam should sit down for a short while (for so long that three short verses of the Qur'an or three times Subhanallah can be recited.)

  6. First Khutbah should be on any topic of concern and relevance for the community. But the second Khutbah should end with peace and blessings on the Prophet and his companions and with du'a for all the people. It is recommended to give the second Khutbah based on the recommended prayers (ad'iyah ma'thurah). These prayers should be recited in Arabic.

  7. It is recommended that the Khutbah is not too long and should be inspiring and motivational. It should also avoid controversial subjects. The audience must listen to the Imam quietly without any interruption. People should not talk to each other or engage in any other activity during the Khutbah.

There is no need to have one talk in the local language before the Adhan and then Khutbah after the Adhan in Arabic. This is an innovation (bid'ah) and it should not be done. The Khutbah is the main talk and speech of Friday and its importance should not be minimized. The Khutbah should be given only after the Adhan and it can be given in the local languages as we mentioned before. It is not required to deliver the whole Khutbah in Arabic if one is speaking to a non-Arabic speaking audience. Many 'Ulama' in Pakistan, India and many other non-Arabic speaking countries have allowed Khutbah in local languages. In 1975 in the World Conference of Masajid held in Makkah, several hundreds Imams and Ulama' from all over the world unanimously accepted that the Friday and Id Khutbahs can be given in local languages. The purpose of Khutbah is to remind the people about their religion. If a person does not understand Arabic, how can he/she be reminded by it?

Those who insist that the Khutbah should be only in Arabic say that the Khutbah is part of Salat and in Salat we follow the Sunnah of the Prophet -peace be upon him. He used to deliver Khutbah in Arabic and we should also do the same. It is correct that Khutbah is part of the Salat, but it is not Salat. In Salat we do not talk to people, in Khutbah we talk to them. In Salat we cannot add anything from our own. We have to recite verses from the Qur'an and use only those prayers that are taught by the Prophet -peace be upon him. In Khutbah, the Imam prepares his own message. Why should the Arabic language be used when the majority of the Muslims in a location do not understand it. Those who insist on Arabic in Khutbah for non Arabs too are not properly benefiting from the Friday gatherings. They are depriving the believers from a great opportunity to learn and be educated about their religion.

 


 

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