Magazine article Islamic Horizons

"But This Is an Important Subject, Brother!"

Magazine article Islamic Horizons

"But This Is an Important Subject, Brother!"

Article excerpt

Friday sermons should offer concise reminders and respect time. BY SALEH A. MUBARAK

The Friday sermon (khutbah ul-jumu'ah) has been a source of annoyance to many. No, I am not talking about boring or depressing speeches or fiery speeches, pumped with false enthusiasm. I am talking about long speeches. My conversations with several imams about this issue have evoked the same answer: "But this is an important subject brother!"

Many of us work on Fridays and have limited lunch breaks. Many of us also have to drive a good distance to the masjid. These factors, coupled with the average length of khutbahs (sermons) and a general disrespect for starting and ending the speech on time, make it difficult to attend Friday prayers and return to work on time. As a result, many arrive deliberately late so they aren't delayed, thus missing the "important subject."

The Friday sermon is not meant to be a lengthy educational session; it is meant mosdy as a reminder (maw'izaah). Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was known for his concise speeches and the comprehensiveness of his words (jawami' al-kalim). He would not say in two words what could be said in one. Furthermore, he was aware that people learned over time, developing knowledge and faith in stages and steps. He would not attempt to impart encyclopedic knowledge in one sitting, and he encouraged others to do the same. For example, it is narrated that when the Prophet sent Mu'ath bin Jabal to Yemen, he told him, "You would come to People of the Book (Christians and Jews); invite them to the Shahadah...If they obey you then inform them that Allah has obligated them to a five prayers in every day. If they obey you then inform them that Allah has ordered a charity (zakah) to be taken from their rich and paid to their poor people (to the rest of the hadith" (Bukhari). Here, the Prophet clearly describes gradation in teaching, rather than "A-to-Z" seminars. …

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