at-Tazkirah: التذكرة

“And keep reminding, because reminding benefits the believers.” (51:55)

The Language Of The Friday Khutbah

Today, in our local mosque I think a young man led the Jumu’ah prayer the first time and it was a debut for me, too. Because I always heard about Jumu’ah Khutbahs in other languages than Arabic, but I never witnessed it live so to speak – until some hours ago. I don’t think my Jumu’ah Salah is now invalid, since it isn’t even invalid if you completely miss the Khutbahs. Never the less I want to clear this point: Jumu’ah Khutbahs have to be in Arabic language – if the crowd understands Arabic or not doesn’t matter. He did it exactly in the fashion explained below by Hadhrat Mufti Taqi Usmani (db) in his booklet “The Language of The Friday Khutbah”:

It is sometimes argued that even if the Khutbah is delivered in a local language, it is always started by some Arabic words containing Hamd (praise to Allah Subhanahu) and Salah (prayer for Allah’s blessing) for the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and at least one verse from the Holy Qur’an. This much is enough for fulfilling the necessary requirements of a valid Arabic Khutbah. After this necessary requirements, the rest of the Khutbah may be delivered in any language.But this argument overlooks the point that it is a Sunnah that the Arabic Khutbah is followed by the Jumu’ah prayer immediately without considerable gap between the two. Therefore, this practice, too, is not in harmony with the masnoon way of delivering a Khutbah.

Our brothers who insist that the Friday Khutbah must be delivered in a local language are requested to consider the following points in the light of the foregoing discussion:1. The consistent practice of the Ummah throughout centuries has been to deliver the Friday Khutbah in Arabic even in the non-Arab countries. Why should the contemporary Muslims deviate from the consistent practice?

2. Khutbah is a part of the Jumu`ah prayer, hence a mode of worship. The modes of worship are not open to our rational opinion. They have certain prescribed forms which must permanent act and should never be changed through our rational arguments. Once this door is opened in one form of worship, there is no reason why other forms are not subjected to similar changes. The argument in favor of an Urdu or English Khutbah may open the door for an Urdu or English Adhan and Salah also on the same analogy. The ways of worship are meant for creating a sense of obedience and submission. A Muslim is supposed to perform these acts as an obedient slave of Allah, without questioning the rationality of these acts, otherwise throwing stones on the Jamarat of Mina or rushing across Safa and Marwah are all apparently irrational acts; but, being the slaves of Allah, we have to perform these acts as modes of worship. This is exactly what the word ‘Ibadah’ means. Any alteration in these ways on the basis of one’s opinion is contrary to the very sense and philosophy of ‘Ibadah’ or worship.

3. All the recognized schools of Islamic jurisprudence are unanimous on the point that delivering Friday Khutbah in Arabic is obligatory. Most of the jurists have gone to the extent that in case the Khutbah is delivered in any other language, no Jumu`ah prayer offered after it is valid. Some others (like Imam Abu Hanifah) hold the non-Arabic Khutbah as valid in the sense that the Jumu’ah, prayers offered after it is- not void, yet at the same time they hold this practice to be impermissible, which means that the impermissibility of a non-Arabic Khutbah is a point of consensus between all the recognized schools of Islamic Fiqh.

A deviation from such a consensus can hardly render a service to the Muslim community except to create differences and disputes between them. It may be seen that practically, this deviation has divided Muslims and their mosques into two groups. Even if it is accepted for the sake of argument that the non-Arabic Khutbah is permissible, it is at the most permissible and not obligatory, and if a permissible act may cause disunity among the Muslims, the greater interest of the Muslim Ummah requires that it should be abandoned. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم , dropped the idea of rebuilding the kabah on Abrahamic foundation merely because it might have created disputes, even though the proposed construction of the kabah was not only permissible, but also advisable. If such a pious act may be avoided for the sake of unity, the newly invented custom of delivering Khutbah in a non-Arabic language deserves all the more to be avoided for maintaining unity.

4. Those who believe that the Khutbah may be delivered in a non-Arabic language do not believe that the Arabic Khutbah is not permissible, while the followers of the four recognized schools of Islamic Fiqh believe that a non-Arabic Khutbah is not permissible. It means that an Arabic Khutbah is permissible according to all, while a non-Arabic Khutbah is not permissible . according to the majority of the Muslims in the world. Obviously, in such a situation, the preferable practice would be the one which is permissible according to all the Muslims, so that every individual may be satisfied that he is performing the required worship in a permissible manner.

Instead of making it a matter of prestige we should mould our ways in accordance with the interest of the Ummah as a whole. May Allah grant us Taufiq to act according to His pleasure.




Filed under: 2. Fiqh, 3. Ibaadah, Books, Sunnah & Hadith

19 Responses

  1. iMuslim says:

    Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah

    A very interesting article. If there is indeed a scholarly consensus that non-Arabic khutbahs are impermissible, then surely that cannot be ignored?

    Is there anyway to make the most of the gathering of Jumuah to teach the congregation in the local language?

    Remember there are brothers who only attend Jumuah prayer and no other. These are the people who really need the reminder.

    The problem is also that many brothers have to rush back to work after Jumuah prayers, so to hold a second talk afterwards in the local language will not be so welcome i imagine.

    I suppose one could encourage these Jumuah-only brothers to attend other Masjid events regularly so they may receive reminders in their local language without the khatibs having to alter the sacred rite of Jumuah.

    More work but what you gonna do??

    Wa’salam & Eid Mubarak

  2. Mrs Dynamite aka Lorena +Wonder Women... says:

    Eid mubarak toyou brother:)

  3. True Life says:

    Was Salam, brother

    Firt off all Eid Mubarak to you both. There are the two choices to translate the khutbahs AFTER the Jumu’ah prayer or before the khutbahs in arabic. I’ve seen both done already. That of course only works if people even care about getting the message of the Khutbah.

    Was Salam

  4. HumbleMuslim says:

    Wa-aliakum-assalaam. I agree about Jumuah Khutbah to be in Arabic language. ISNA should also correct their opinion and help us perform our Jumuah correctly. I have sent my suggestion to ISNA (Dr.Muzammil Siddiqi) to read Mufti M. Taqi Usmani saheb’s article mentioned in your message. May Allah forgive us for our sins and reward us. Please remember me in your duas. Thanks!

  5. Talhah says:

    Sorry for my poor english, but i want to confirm it that do u mean that the whole of Friday Khutba should be in Arabic language and not as prescribed by Mufti Taqi Uthmani?

  6. yaqub says:

    jazakAllahu khayr…but how can we change this in the US?

  7. yaqub says:

    A salamu alaykum,

    Other Muslim minority counties begin a talk in the local language prior to the entrance of the actual waqt of jumuah. When the waqt enters they then begin an entire Arabic khutbah. There is not two khutbahs but a talk for encouragement followed by a jumuah khutbah. This local language talk begins maybe 40 minuets prior to the actual khutbah. In this fashion those who want the local language talk could attend and the others could omit it but still catch what is needed for their jumuah.

    We should practice our din right here in the US. We are two quick to abandon our tradition and assimilate our religious lifestyle into western living or the western flow of things. Other places in the world the Muslims don’t budge on these issues but here we are quick to give up tradition. If we held firm things would be made easier for us.

    As a side note when the four schools agree on something this does not mean that scholarly consensus ijma is established.

  8. MuhammadAhmad says:

    While I don’t know much about it, I have two questions just to increase my knowledge:

    1. If it is centuries old practice, why leaving it is being considered harmful or sinful? Should we follow our elders JUST because they are elders and practising something old, even if there are better options available?

    2. If delivering Jum’a Khutba MUST be done in Arabic, as Prophet (SAW) did, then delivering any religious sermon MUST be done in Arabic, as Prophet (SAW) did that. Is it not true?

    Thank you.

  9. True Life says:

    1. You are aware of the fact that the Sahabah i Kiram were JUST these elders, right? They have been to different countries but always did the Jumu’ah Khutbah in Arabic.

    2. Since Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had only arabic-speaking audience anyway, this issue didn’t even come up for our beloved Prophet. And there are no Islamic rulings attached to a religious sermon or did you ever hear about “FIQH-UL-BAYAN” or “MASAIL-i-WA’AZ”?

  10. AA,
    Dear Brothers,
    As a person who sometimes gives khutbas in our small Musalah at University, I have just been introduced to this booklet. After some searching at I have found many fatwas sudgesting that the language of the khutba is irrilevent as long as the Quran and Hadeeth are in Arabic. This is an example:

    Brothers, it is obvious that there is no consensus amongst scholars about this issue. When ever the prophet was faced with a situation, he chose the easier path. I believe that we should chose a path that holds no hardship for any members of our community and maximizes the benefit for the community.

    It is OK if we disagree on how to achieve this. As long as we do not try to force our opinions on others or refrain from interacting with out local Masgid because the have chosen an opinion that we have not.

    May Allah guide us all to the best of paths.

  11. ilmseeker says:

    Khutba is wajib , a part of prayer. Religious sermon(i think you mean lecture or!) is not wajib or other things. Fiqhul-bayan!

  12. True Life says:

    Asalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah

    Brother Ahmed Al-Zain,

    No one has understood the sciences of Qur’an and Hadith better than the noble companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). That’s why we often have to look at their lives and how they brought the orders of Allah and His Rasul into their lives.

    The Sahabah were striving through the whole world and would settle at non-Arabic places, too. But still they would do the Jumu’ah khutbah in no other language than Arabic. And the same did most of the following generations. Otherwise show me a narration proving me wrong. Read more about this in the booklet.

    Should we come almost 1400 years later and invent new things?
    A question to ponder about regarding so many aspects of Islam.

    Was Salam

  13. Mamun-ur-Rashid says:

    Assalamualaykum w.r.w.b.

    Dear contributors,

    My limited knowledge sums up: Khutba is delivered to convey massage of Allah s.w.t. to the people in the form of organized deliberations as shown by our Prophet s.a.w. thus encourage speaker and listeners to believe and implement those in their lives. Salat, Syam, Jakat & Hajj are the forms of worship/ibadah where performer submits to Allah s.w.t. individually. Meaning the incumbent does not need to convey/communicate others to perform this rituals.

    The very idea and goal of khutba is to covey the massage of Allah s.w.t. and practices of Muhammad s.a.w. as meaningfully as possible to the fellow Muslims participate in the Jummah (Allah s.w.t. knows best).

    Where the audiences do not understand Arabic deliberation of khutba to them in Arabic is contrary to the aim and goal of the ritual itself.

    To add to that it is well understood that translation of ayahs/verses of Quran is never accepted while performing ibadah in any form. Because translation/transliteration is not the original i.e. not revelation of Allah s.w.t. But when one of the important purposes of ibadah/khutba is to make people understand the topic then it is necessary to communicate them in their language. In khutba if the verses of Quran are first recited than translated in the language of audience should be O.K.

    I ask Allah s.w.t. to forgive my shortcoming and ignorance.



  14. True Life says:

    Wa Alaykumus Salam

    So, do you believe the Sahabah (ridhwanullahi ta’ala ajmaeen), who strived through the whole world, fulfilled the purpose of the Khutbah through doing it in Arabic or not?

    Delivering the sermon of Jumua in Arabic language has been Sunnat Mutawarisa (from the Prophet?s period till date). Therefore, delivering Jumua sermon in any language other than Arabic is Makrooh-e-Tahreemi (desirable to Haram extent). If anyone opposes this sunnah he should be politely convinced that he is committing bidah (innovation) he should forsake it:

    فانہ لاشک فی ان الخطبة بغیر العربیة خلاف السنة المتوارثہ من النبی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم والصحابة رضی اللہ عنھم اجمعین فیکون مکروھا تحریما ۔۔ (عمدة الرعایة)

    and Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) Knows Best
    Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband

    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 Rak’at in a Zuhr Prayer is four. On the Day of Jum’ah, the number of Rak’at has been reduced to two only, and the remaining two Rak’ats 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 (S.A.W) went to a number of places outside Arabia and preached Islam there, but they never used a local language while offering a Khutbah of Jum’ah. 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.

    Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani

    Jumuáh Khutbah – unlike ordinary lectures – the Jumuáh Khutbah holds a special position in Islam hence the necessity for it being delivered in the Arabic language. Its importance is recorded in the books of Fiqh. One such quotation reads, ‘There is no doubt in the fact that the Khutbah in a language other than Arabic is contrary to the Sunnah transmitted from Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) and the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Ánhum). Therefore, to deliver the Khutbah in any language other than Arabic is strictly forbidden. (Umdatur Ridaaya, footnote Sharah Wiqaayah vol. 1 p. 200)

    The question may arise that in many parts of the world (apart from Arab countries), the congregation for Jumuáh do not understand Arabic. It should be understood that the Khutbah is not a lecture – it is a Dhikr. Allah Taãla says in the Noble Qurãn, ‘Hasten towards the Dhikr of Allah.’ (Jumuáh 9) Therefore, the validity of Jumu’ah does not depend upon that audience understanding the Khutbah. Furthermore, the Khutbah is from the Shaãir of Islam (salient features of Islam). Like Hajj, Éid-ul-Adhaa and the Adhaan, the Jumuáh Khutbah too is from the distiguished symbols of Islam, hence, the added emphasis on maintaining it in the manner it was carried out during the lifetime of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam). It is of utmost importance to maintain the Shaãir of Islam in their original form so that its beauty can become manifest throughout the world. Can you imagine the Adhaan called out in any other language? It would not be called Adhaan, neither would it qualify for Adhaan. Similarly, the Jumuáh Khutbah, if delivered in Arabic – the official language of Islam – will make manifest the essence of Islam.

    Hereunder is a brief view of the four Imaams regarding the topic under discussion:

    1. Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal – the Khutbah is incorrect in any other language but Arabic, and only if no one present knows Arabic or no one can read it then only will it be permissible in another language.

    2. Imaam Muhammad bin Idris Shaafée – it is a pre-requisite that the beginnings of both Khutbahs be in Arabic. If a person who knows Arabic cannot be found then at least one Aayat of the Qurãn be recited and if this too is not possible then some Tasbeeh or Dhikr (in Arabic) be mentioned.

    3. Imaam Maaliki bin Anas bin Maaliki – it is a condition that the Khutbah be delivered in Arabic despite the people being non-Arabs. If anyone in the audience cannot speak Arabic or read Arabic, then Jumuáh will fall off and they would have to read Dhuhr Salaat instead of Jumuáh. (Fiqh álal Madhaahibil Arba’)

    And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
    Mufti Ebrahim Desai

    Al-Jawab Billahi At-Taufeeq (the answer with Allah’s guidance)

    It is Sunnah for the Friday and two Eid Khutbahs to be in Arabic, and the opposite of this, which is to perform the Khutbah in another language is an innovation (Bid`a) [Sharh Muwatta by Shah Waliullah, Kitaab-ul-Adhkaar of an-Nawawi and Durr-e-Mukhtaar, Shuroot-as-Salaah,Sharh-ul-Ihyaa]

    To deliver the Khutbah in any language other than Arabic is strictly forbidden. (Umdatur Ridaaya, footnote Sharah Wiqaayah vol. 1 p. 200)

    And Only Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.
    Moulana Qamruz Zaman

    Please let’s not base Deen on our reasonig or deprive a verdict from our reasoning – when the actions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), his companions and the following generations of Salaf clearly speak against it.


  15. Mamun ur Rashid says:

    Assalamualaykum w.r.w.b.

    Thank you very much for your well informed and intriguing response. This is convincing to the person like me who is not knowledgeable enough to refer Quran and Sunnah but has the highest conviction to both of these and allegiance to Islam. Before elaborating the points of my quandary I would like to reiterate following beliefs.

    1. Muslims must reject ideas and practices of any individual, nation/nations and generations those conflict to that of the Quran and Sunnah. No matter how established and deep-rooted these are and how sincere and honest they are in their thoughts.
    2. Quran is revealed to convey massages of Allah s.w.t to make people understand and perform in all works of life.
    3. Quran is the holy book that contains words of Allah s.w.t revealed in Arabic. Quran in any other language is not Quran but translation of Quran.
    4. Therefore in worship where we have to recite/read from Allah’s words (this includes ibadah of reciting Quran) must be from Quran (Arabic) not from translations.
    5. Allah s.w.t created human races in different colours, appearances and languages giving equal access, right and obligation to Islam.

    I would humbly request that I am not arguing nor I am trying to make a point out of controversy. For my and lot many Muslims’ peace of mind I would like to table following points and questions hoping to get some logical feedback.

    1. Khutba is one of the forms of worship wherein Imam speaks not necessarily from Quran only.
    2. We don’t have 100% proof that Sahabahs trodden in the different parts of the world never delivered khutba in any other language but Arabic.
    3. From the views of the great Imams it is evident that in the absence of any person knows Arabic it is permissible to deliver Khutba in other language. In no situations it is permissible to recite from translation while performing salat.
    4. To be strict to the literary meaning of following Sunnah should we just copy/repeat khutbas delivered by our Prophet s.a.w. If even we want to follow this do we have all the copies of those Khutbas?

    Yes of course we must not practice and evaluate our Deen on human reasoning only. We also know from Quran that most of the revelation in Quran is for the understanding of the people some of it is only in the knowledge of Allah s.w.t and He reserves the discretion of bestowing part of it to whomever He wishes to.


  16. Mohammed Asim Nehl says:

    As Salam O Alaikum

    I fully agree that Juma’a Khutba should e given in Arabic in order to follow the Sunnah, the essence of Juma’a Khutba apart from quoting various verses from Quran & Hadith is also to adress the current prevailing problems of the society, guidance to the followers and if the same is not done in local language the very purpose will get defeated and instead of taking lessons from the speach people will simply listen to the Khutba for gaining sawab without recourse to follow it since thy won’t follow the language.

    Esential parts be recited in Arabic language and later be translated in local language so that the listeners understand the meaning and start practicing the same.

    Let us not ignore the need of today at the same time not deviate from the set path (Hadith)

  17. bob says:

    what if you cant speak arabic

  18. seekerofthesacred says:

    Does Mufti Taqi allow for the integrals of the Khutbah to be in Arabic but the main body of the Khutbah is in English?

  19. Abul says:

    AsA brothers,
    I understand that purpose of Khutbah is that Imam should explain and convince the audiences to understand religious practices(as per Quran and Sunnah) so that a person can gain something before leaving the MOSQUE.I have read a book called ‘Khutbahtul Ahkam’ most of which is just an Arabic trnslation and explanation ref various Quranic verses and Hatdiths. I am sure every Imam mention Verses and Hadiths in Arabic only but explaining could be done in local language. If all Ibadha has to be in Arbic then why some people loves to use NAMAZ,DUROOD, BEHESTH, KHODA etc instead of using the word Salat, Salat/Salaam, Jannat, Allah? Why people are allowed to make Du’a in local language?
    Also during prophet’s (pbuh)time the Sahaba(RAs)could understand Arabic inspite of their(some) foreign origin.
    Someone tries to put a ‘Inovation’ tag on it. This is not fair and serving no benefit to this Ummah.Infact, these are the brothers who advocate that Quran and Sunnah’s meanings should not be read/explained by anyone who has not read few years in one of their Madrasha’s. this is just an excuse to keep people not to know the DEEN (Qura’n and Sunnah).
    Jazakhallahu Kayran.

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