Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Importance of the Arabic Khutbah

Today is the last post for this week from the Book of Jumu'ah. Insha'Allah I will post my notes from tomorrows dars over the weekend.

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Narrated by Abu Umama bin Sahl bin Hanif: “While Mu’awiya bin Abu Sufyan (رضى الله عنه) was sitting on the pulpit the Mu’adhdhin pronounced the Adhaan saying, 'Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar' Mu’awiya said 'Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar'. And when the Mu’adhdhin said, “Ash-hadu an la ilaha ill-Allah” (I testify that Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) is the Messenger of Allah), Mu’awiya said, 'and so do I'. When the Athan was finished, Mu’awiya said, 'O people, when the Mu’adhdhin pronounced that Adhaan I heard Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) on this very pulpit saying what you have just heard me saying'." [Hadeeth 511, al Tajrid al Sarih]

Chapter that the Imam will reply to Adhaan on minbar

This hadeeth is related to a famous issue about whether it is permissible to speak when the khutbah begins.

Shaykh begin commentary of this hadeeth by explaining the importance of the khutbah on Friday. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمة الله عليه) and other ulema declare that the two sermons before salah on Friday are representative of the first two rakaats of Dhuhr salah. Therefore, the khutbah is an integral part of Jumu’ah salah. Without the khutbah there is no salah. Hence, it cannot be delivered in any language other than Arabic. Shaykh explained how the khutbah is not a sermon. Allah says in Surah Jumu’ah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِي لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Oh Believers! When the call to prayer is given on Friday then hasten towards the dhikr of Allah [62:9]

There is a consensus of the ulema that dhikr in this verse refers to the khutbah. Hence, the Friday khutbah is hamd, dhikr and du’a. It should be in Arabic, both the first and the second khutbah.

Shaykh advised young brothers who perform jumu’ah at universities, schools etc to ensure that the khutbah is in Arabic. Shaykh said that if the argument is that you do not understand - well you don’t understand the salah either so why not have that in English too! Others argue that people need to be educated – Shaykh said then rather than rushing to get to the Masjid last minute, one should sacrifice and arrive 15 minutes early when the non-Arabic speech takes place.

Shaykh then went on to say that after misfortunate events in the UK, commentators on TV, radio etc have been saying that ‘backward mullahs’ have come to the country who don’t know the language or understand the culture and are illiterate village mullahs. Shaykh said “I don’t buy that argument. I am not an import!” Shaykh mentioned how he has grown up in the UK, and Alhamdulillah understands the language and culture as well as the subtle nuances of the language (Alhamdulillah). Furthermore, when it comes to watching Bollywood movies and listening to Bollywood songs everyone understands! Where’s the lack of Urdu when it comes to Bollywood? Shaykh said that when he speaks in Urdu he gets labelled a ‘backward mullah’. However, when he speaks in English the elders complain (although they are happy to listen to cricket commentary in English!).
- Shaykh said “If there is a will, there is a way!”

The lesson to be drawn is that if you cannot understand the Arabic khutbah then come early for Jumu’ah salah but do not tamper with the original khutbah.

A question which is often asked is whether we should remain silent or reply when the Adhaan is given on Friday.
According to Imam Abu Hanifah (رحمة الله عليه) when the Imam enters the Masjid (even before sitting on the minbar) all irreligious talk is impermissible.
According to Imam Abu Yusuf (رحمة الله عليه) and other Hanafi scholars it is permissible to speak until the Imam begins speaking.
In this hadeeth we learn that Muawiyah (رضى الله عنه) emulated the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) by replying to the muadhin when he was the Imam. All ulema agree that it is permissible for the Imam to reply to the Adhaan (hence Imam Bukhari’s precise wordings).
According to Imam Shafi (رحمة الله عليه), Imam Malik (رحمة الله عليه) and other ulema it is impermissible to speak when the Imam begins speaking about anything related to the dunya. However, the Adhaan is firstly given before the Imam has begun speaking and secondly it is not related to the dunya.
Although there is a difference of opinion in the Hanafi school of thought with regard to when the prohibition of irreligious talk begins, it is permissible to reply to Adhaan.

In summary, the ulema say it is permissible for the Imam and congregation to reply to the Adhaan. However, Imam Bukhari (رحمة الله عليه) only deduces that which is directly deducible from the hadeeth hence the precise chapter heading.

Please pray that Allah forgives my mistakes. Jazakumullahu khairan. Wasalaam.

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