The Friday Sermon

It is one of the requirements of the Friday prayer that it should be preceded by a Khutbah (sermon) delivered by the Imam. This Khutbah has some special rules, which distinguishes it from the normal lectures, which are given on an ordinary day. And this is such a sermon that it is delivered in Arabic only. The Muslims have been delivering this Friday Khutbah in no other language other than Arabic but it has only emerged in some societies in the present century that this Khutbah should be delivered in another language so that the people understand.

The reason for this change was that so people could understand the sermon delivered. If it is to be delivered in Arabic only it could hardly be meaningful to the audience and it would be though they are returning home empty handed.

There are some limited functions in Arabic which are to be recited in Arabic only. For example, the five times prayer is to be performed in Arabic only whether the person understands or does not understand what he is reciting. Under the same category comes the Adhaan (the call for prayer) which is addressed to the local people. This should also be performed in Arabic and its translation in another language is not acceptable. These are the few examples which are noted but there are many more which could be looked up into.

One point which should be looked up into is that whether the Friday sermon is a form of worship or is it a lecture which is meant to educate the people.

The correct view could be derived from the following points!

•  The second caliph of the Holy Prophet Allah be pleased with him says: “The Khutbah has been prescribed in the place of two rakaats. Whosoever fails to deliver the Khutbah must pray four rakaats.

•  The Holy Quraan has named the Khutbah as Dhikr in the following verse: “Oh Believers! When there is a call for Salah on Friday, rush for the Dhikr of Allah and leave trade (al-Jummah)

Here the word Dhikr stands for the Khutbah because after hearing the Adhaan, the salah (prayer) does not start immediately. The Khutbah starts immediately after the Adhaan. And another point to remember is that the Muslim schools of Jurists are unanimous on the point that it is necessary upon every Muslim to set out towards the Masjid as soon as he hears the call and reach the Masjid before the Khutbah starts because it is mandatory to listen to the Khutbah. Proving by the Quranic verse that the word Dhikr is used for the Khutba. Another matter which can be solved is that Dhikr means the ‘recitation of the name of Allah' as against to ‘educate' or ‘giving advice'.

In a number of Authentic Ahadith also, the Khutbah of Friday, has been referred to as Dhikr. For example, in a hadith reported by Imam Bukhari the Holy Prophet Allah be pleased with him, while persuading Muslims to go to the Masjid on Friday at the earliest, he said: “Because when the Imam comes out (to deliver Khutbah) the angels come to listen to the Dhikr. (Sahih al-Bukhari).

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