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.