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English in Jumuah Khutbah

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net

Q. Can English be given during the 1st or 2nd part of the Jumuah Khutbah? Or arabic only? Please send me Masa’il with quotations.

A. Both the 1st and 2nd khutbah should be given in Arabic only. This is what has been transmitted from the Pious Predecessors of the first three generations and those after them. In this regard, the great jurist and author of Umdatur Ri’ayah writes, ‘There is no doubt that the khutba in a non Arabic language is opposing to the established Sunnah of the Prophet (SAS) and the practices of the Sahabahs. Hence, giving it in a language besides Arabic will be Makrooh Tahreemi (disliked to a grave extent). (Umdatur Ri’yaah- Commentary of Sharhul Wiqayah). Allama Nawawi has explained that Arabic is a condition for the khutba to be valid. He writes, ‘And it is a condition that the khutba for Jumua’ah and other khutbas be in the Arabic language’. (Sharh of Ihya ul Uloom)

Imam Malik has also stated that the both khutbahs for Jumuah should be in the Arabic language. In this regard, it is mentioned in Al Fiqhul Islami wa Adilatihi, ‘And the Malikis have mentioned nine conditions for the both khutbahs of Juma. From among these is that the both khutbahs should be in the Arabic language even though it is for the non-Arabs’. (Al Fiqhul Islami wa Adilatihi vol.2 pg. 1305,1306 from Ash Sharhus Sagheer and Ash Sharhul Kabeer).

Imam Shafi (AR) has also stated that ‘from the conditions of the khutbahs for Jumuah is that both must be in the Arabic language’. (Al Fiqhul Islami wa Adilatihi vol. 2 pg 1307 from Mughni Al Muhtaj).

The established position of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal is also that the khutbahs of Jumuah must be done in the Arabic language. In this regard, it is mentioned, ‘And there are twelve conditions regarding the khutba for Jumuah. (From among these) is that it should be in the Arabic language. Hence, the khutba will not be valid if it is done in a non-Arabic language by one who has the ability to read Arabic’. (Al Fiqhul Islami wa Adilatihi vol.2 pg. 1310 from Al Mughni).

As mentioned before, the established position of the Mazhab of Imam Abu Hanifa as stated by the reliable and great Fuqaha (of the Mazhab) is that the khutbahs of Jumuah Salaah should be given in the Arabic language. (Al Hidaya; Shami).

From these quotations, it can be seen that the issue of giving the two khutbahs of Jumuah in Arabic is one which has gained unanimity of the four great Imams of Fiqh, who were also known to be form among the greatest scholars during their era.

The overwhelming majority of all scholars after them have also adopted this verdict, and this is what has been accepted as the practice which conforms to the guideline of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAS) and the practices of the Sahabah, Tabieen and At ba’ut Tabieen.

As for the guideline of the Holy Quran, it is evident in the verse of the commandment to observe Jumuah Salaah that Allah said, ‘O those who believe when the call is made on the day of Jumuah, then hasten towards the ‘Dhikr’ (remembrance) of Allah. (Surah Jumuah). While commenting on this verse, the commentators of the Holy Quran have stated, ‘here, the word ‘dhikr’ refers to the khutba’, which means that just as the other forms of ‘dhikr’ are in the Arabic language, so too, the khutba which is called a Dhikr must also be in Arabic. In this regard, the great jurist Mufti Abdur Raheem (AR) writes, ‘So, just as the Tasmiya (Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem), Taa’wuz (A’ouzu Billahi Minash Shaitan nir Rajeem), Tasbeeh (Subhanallah), Tahmeed (Al hamdulillah), Thana Tahiyat etc. are all different forms of Dhikr which must be done in Arabic, so too Arabic must be used for the khutba’. (Fatawa Raheemiya vol.1 pg. 261)

It is also evident that the Sahabahs and Tabieen went to many lands which were inhabited by non Arabs, yet, they continued to deliver their khutbahs in Arabic, and not in the national language of the people. This point has been emphasized by the great scholar Shah Waliyullah in the commentary of Mu’atta Imam Malik. He wrote, ‘And with respect to the law that the khutba must be in Arabic, it is on account of the continuous practice of the Muslims (Pious Predecessors) in the lands of the East and West. In these places they delivered their khutbahs in Arabic although in most of these lands their addressees were non Arabs’ (Marghoobul Fatawa vol.3 pg. 90- from Musaffa Sharh of Muatta).

The fact that the ‘khutba’ is a ‘dhikr’ (remembrance of Allah) means that it is an act of ibadah (worship) which is a ritual that Allah Has made as a part of the Jummah Salaah. It is for this reason, some Imams like Imam Ash Shafie (AR) has stated, ‘The Khutba stands in place of two rakaats, hence, it is on the same degree as Salaah’. (Mughni Al Muhtaj; Sharhul Muhazzab). It is also authentically reported from Umar (RA) and A’isha (RA) that they said, ‘ Salaah has been shortened (for Jumuah) for the sake of the Khutba’. (Al Fiqhul Islami wa Adilatihi vol.2 pg.1303).

With this explaination, it must be understood that the khutba must not be viewed and treated as a lecture or sermon that can be given in any manner. Instead, it is one which is more of an act of Ibadah (worship) which cannot be left out from the Jumuah Salaah. About this, it is mentioned in Tabyeenul Haqa’iq, ‘All the Jurists (and Scholars) are unanimous on the fact that khutba is a condition in Jumu’ah and without it the Jumu’ah Salaah will not be valid’. It is also evident in the hadith recorded by Imam Baihaqi that the Prophet (SAS) never performed Jumu’ah Salaah without its Khutba. This extent of punctuality and consistency which has made the khutba an essential and fundamental part of the Jumu’ah Salaah, shows that it is an established act of Ibadah which must be done together with the Jumu’ah Salaat, and cannot be left out at all. Had it been simply a lecture or a sermon (religious discourse), then the ruling would not have been so firm to make it essential and compulsory. Among the practices of the Prophet (SAS), we see that he delivered many sermons, lectures and religious discourses to the Sahabahs on many occasions. However, these did not become established as acts of worship like that of the khutba. Instead, they remained confined to the option that a person has, with regards to delivering religious lectures at any time, and in whatever manner he wants. As for the khutba of Jumu’ah, this took a special form and came with a specific ruling from Allah. In the Holy Quran, Allah Has named it a ‘dhikr’ (a form of remembrance of Him), and He Has ordered the believers to hasten towards it on the day of Jumu’ah so that it may be established. Along with this, He Has made trade/commerce haram upon the Muslims at the time this Dhikr/ khutba is taking place. All these go to show that the khutba on the day of Jumu’ah is indeed a great form of ‘dhikr’ (remembrance of Allah) with a special significance. There are fixed laws attached to it which no other sermon or lecture has. For example the call of the Azan before the khutba, the delivery of two khutbas with a short sitting between them, the timing of the khutba before Salaah and not after, ensuring that the proper time for Salaah has entered, being in a state of Taharah; covering the awrah, standing to deliver the khutba; giving it inside a masjid, not talking while khutba is taking place etc. etc. The above are such conditions which are not connected to any type of sermon, lecture or religious address.

The above mentioned laws give a clear indication that ‘the khutba’ is not a mere lecture or sermon. Instead, it is indeed a great form of remembering Allah, and must be done like the other forms of the remembrance of Allah. It is for this reason, we see that the laws which are connected to the soundness and validity of the khutba, are from among those which are connected to the establishment of Salaah.

Which establishing this point, the great jurist, Mufti Marghoob Ahmad writes, ‘The understanding of this mas’ala (ruling) is that khutba is a religious rite like that of Qir’ah which is not subjected to analogous reasoning. As such, it is essential to follow that which is narrated and transmitted. If this was not so, then the Sahabahs would have recited Quran and given khutba in the Persian language when they ruled Persia. But this did not occur. (Marghoobul Fatawa vol.3 pg. 90)

If Khateebs/Imams wish to address their gatherings, then they can do so before the Arabic Jummah Khutbahs. In this way, they can teach or preach to the people in their native or national language. This is the best approach in this matter since the people will be able to understand the language of the Imam/Khateeb through the discourse, and at the same time the established Sunnah of the Prophet (SAS) would be followed. This path was adopted by even the Sahabahs who addressed the gathering before the actual khutba began.

In this regard, it is narrated that on the day of Jumu’ah, Abu Hurairah (RA) would stand close to the mimbar and narrate ahadith to the people while addressing them. After this, Umar (RA) the Ameerul Mumineen would come out and deliver the Jumu’ah Khutba. (Mustadrak Hakim). It is also narrated that on the day of Jumu’ah, Abdullah bin Busr (RA) would address the people, and would end his discourse when he saw that the khateeb came out to deliver the khutba. (Mustadrak Hakim)

It is narrated that during the rule of Umar (RA) and Uthman (RA), Tameem Daari (RA) would address the people in a religious discourse before the khateeb came to deliver the khutba. (Musnad Imam Ahmad). From these quotations, it is evident that the practice of delivering a lecture/religious discourse before the actual Jumu’ah khutba (as done by the Sahabahs), can be implemented, especially when one wishes to ensure that the khutbahs are delivered in Arabic only.

In addition to the above, the following are official Fatawas (religious verdicts) which have been given by some of our expert Muftis.

The great Jurist, Mufti Muhammad Kifayatullah (AR) had written regarding the khutba for Jumu’ah:-

‘Khutba should be given only in the Arabic language. This is in accordance to the Sunnah, and it is the way of the pious predecessors and the Imams (of Fiqh) who have been followed. It is disliked to oppose this way’. (Kifayatul Mufti vol.3 pgs. 217-218).

In Kitabul Fatawa, by Qazi Khalid Saifullah Rahmani it is written, ‘One should give the khutba in Arabic. This is the path which has continuously been adopted. During the time of the Sahabahs, many non Arab territories were conquered (and ruled by Muslims). However, in these places there is no mention that the khutba was given in the national (local) language of the people. (Kitabul Fatawa vol.3 pg.39).

In this regard, the great expert, Mufti Taqi Usmani has given the following fatawa:-

The Khutbah of Jum’ah is not essentially a lecture meant for the people. Rather, it is a part of the prayer of jum’ah. It is evident that the numbers of rakaats in a zuhr prayer is four. On the day of jum’ah, the number of rakaat has been reduced to two only and the remaining two rakaats have been substituted by a khutbah, which is basically a form of Dhikr (ritual recitation of Allah’s name) and by this name it has been referred to in the Holy Qur’an (Surah al Jum’ah). Therefore, being a part of the prayer of dhikr, it can only be performed in Arabic, and just as the prayer of jum’ah cannot be performed in a local language, the khutbah cannot be given in any language other than Arabic. The companions of the Holy Prophet went to a number of places outside Arabia and preached Islam there, but they never used a local language while offering a khutbah of Jumah. They used the local language in other lectures and sermons, but not in the prescribed khutbah on Friday. This helps the Muslims being in at least verbal contact with Arabic the language of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. (Contemporary Fatawa pg. 31)

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.