Friday, September 12, 2014

The Khutbah Instruction Manual

The Khutbah Manual
This manual is intended for people who are giving a khutbah (sermon) at Muslim congregational prayer on Fridays. The khatiba (she who delivers the khutbah – a man is called the khatib) speaks and the other Muslims listen. Muslims in the congregation are not expected to speak during the khutbah because they are in a state of worship. However, they are encouraged to speak to the khatiba after all prayers (khutbah + salat (standard prayers) + sunna (extra prayers) have been completed.

Ideally, after the jummah (Friday) service there will be a space provided where Muslims can meet and talk informally, discuss the khutbah and determine whether anyone in the community needs assistance (“touching bases” with everyone). Most importantly, Muslims need to listen to one another, even when they have opinions which differ. The Friday prayer is where Muslims come together to listen and discuss respectfully. Ideally, the Muslim audience will be a diverse one, representing a variety of nations, cultures, and differing levels of secular and religious knowledge. We all have something we can learn from one another. The khatiba should provide a source of inspiration, motivation, and demonstrate tolerance towards the diversity of her audience.

The authors of this manual recommend jummah should consist of a small group of people- as many as you would have at your home for a large dinner party.  In this way, everyone will get to know one another and form a communal bond. Furthermore, it is highly encouraged that anyone who is interested should give at least one khutbah. Giving a khutbah is an excellent exercise in reading and analyzing Quranic and hadith (sayings of the Prophet, pbuh) texts. It is an opportunity to exercise one’s creativity and to apply the Islamic scriptures and lessons to real world problems facing today’s believer. All of us have something to learn from each other. All of us need to listen to each other.

Structure of a Khutbah (Sunni)
The structure of a traditional Sunni Khutbah is discussed in the following paragraph. However, it is the prerogative of the khatiba to give whatever khutbah she would like. Nevertheless, in deference to the audience, it might be good to incorporate a few of these points so they will feel more comfortable with what you have to say. They are accustomed to a particular structure, however, it is the content which is more important. Consider the structure simply as the scaffold, the skeleton, of what you want to say. Some Muslims may not be bothered by a different structure, and it is important for the khatiba to determine the most effective way to communicate with believers. The khutbah is something to be shared between the khatiba and her community.

The traditional khutbah is composed of two speeches with a short break in between. In a formal setting, the khatiba gives the speech standing, sits down during the break (about 40 seconds), and then stands up again to resume the second speech. The khutbah should only be 10-20 minutes long (1800 words written out). It is also permissible to have a very short khutbah (5 minutes) and then spend a more time in salat reciting longer passages from the Quran, this being the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). [link Abdullah ibn Abi Awfi “The Prophet used to extend the salat and reduce the khutbah” ?Nissa’ee]

Order of Khutbah
1.    Azan (call to prayer) link: must be given by someone other than khatiba.
2.    Khatiba starts with (in Arabic) I seek refuge in Allah and from the outcast Satan. “A’zu Billiahi Min Ash-shaitan ir-Rajeem.”
3.    Then mentions the name of Allah “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir Raheem”
4.    Praising Allah with “Al Hamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Alammen”
5.    Send blessings to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his family. More examples listed in this section (link). An example is here : “Wassalatu Wassalmu ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala Alihi wa Sahbihi wa Salam.”
6.    After this introduction, the khatiba announces the title of her talk in English.
7.    The khatiba begins the first speech. Traditionally, this part of the talk should include quotations from the Quran and how it relates to the title. Examples from hadith and the biography of the Prophet, his family, or his Companions may also be used.
8.    Before the pause, the khatiba should ask the congregation to ask Allah for forgiveness, guidance, and mercy. She should also ask for forgiveness for herself because she probably made some kind of mistake while giving her speech.
9.    After a few seconds of pause (say a few ‘Astighfar”s - supplication for protection - here) and letting the audience digest what has been said, the khatiba starts the second khutbah. 
10.The second khutbah begins with praise to Allah, followed by greetings and praise to the Prophet, his family, and his companions. This should be said in Arabic. There are examples here (link).
11.The end of the second khutbah should include a du’a. Du’as can be taken from the Quran. Any time a prophet is imploring or talking to Allah is an appropriate du’a. Du’as said by Prophet Muhammad are also permissible. It is advisable that when choosing a du’a from the Quran that you put it in proper context. For example, if you are giving a khutbah about the importance of respecting parents, you might not want to choose a du’a where Abraham is asking God to protect him from his murderous, polytheistic father.
12.After the “amen” of the du’a, the khatiba is to instruct someone to give the Iqamah for Salat (link).
13.Once the khatiba has made sure everyone is lined up, facing the Kaabah and ready, the khatiba starts her salat of two rakaat of Salatul Jummu’ah. Salat is said out loud in Arabic.
Note: If the khatiba is menstruating, she may ask another person in the congregation to lead prayer. Biology happens, but it should not interfere with giving the khutbah if it is your turn.
14.Time should be given for people to perform the sunnah prayers after  the communal jumm’ah prayer, as well as make their tasbih and other du’a if they are so inclined.

15.It is highly encouraged to provide a room or outdoor space away from the prayer area where Muslims may meet and greet each other informally and have an opportunity to get to know one another as well as to discuss the theme of the khutbah. The khatiba should also be available for questions.

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