Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

Jumu`ah Prayer In The West (2)

As-Salaamu 'alaykum

Dear Brother Musa,

Please also provide us with a similar report on Khutebas delivered mostly in other than Arabic.

Salaam to all

wa `alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

First, a few rulings pertaining to Jumu`a, taken from Nail al-ma'arib:

The general conditions for the validity of Jumu`ah are:

  1. That it occur in its appointed time

  2. That it occur in an area that is inhabited throughout the year

  3. That forty people attend

  4. That two khutbahs (sermons) preceded the prayer.

Each one of these conditions has its own conditions. The ones relevant to this question are the conditions for the two khutbahs:

  1. That they occur in their appointed time

  2. Intention

  3. That they take place while the people are resident â€" not while traveling

  4. That the person delivering them be qualified to do so

The khutbahs have integrals [arkan] as well:

  1. Giving praise to Allah Most High, by specifically saying “Al-hamdu lillahâ€

  2. Making prayers upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)

  3. Reading a verse from the Qur'an that conveys a complete meaning

  4. Beseeching people to be Godfearing [taqwa], such as saying “ittaqu allah†or “ati`u llahâ€

  5. The two khutbahs and the prayer being performed consecutively

  6. That they be audible such that forty people could hear them

Al-Tahglabi adds that saying any unlawful words invalidates the khutbah, and that when given using a language other than Arabic it follows the same rulings as reciting Qur'an.

(Al-Taghlabi, Nail al-ma'arib bi sharh dalil al-talib. 1.196-99 )

With regards to the language used, in Kashshab al-qina` Al-Buhuti breaks the world into two major groups: those who know enough Arabic to do the khutbah in Arabic, and those who don't; and he breaks those who don't know enough Arabic into those who can recite Al-Fatihah and those who cannot. Anyone capable of a preceding category cannot move to a following category without invalidating his khutbah. (Al-Buhuti, Kashshaf al-qina`, 2.33-34)

So far, this seems leave us in a bit of a lurch. When I read this with my sheikh I asked him about this issue. He said that as long as the essential elements of the khutbahs are in Arabic that there is no harm if the rest are not. This agrees with my Shafi`i sheikhs.

One way we can understand this from the text given above is that words which are not-haram do not invalidate the khutbah, and since English in and of itself is permissible, it does not invalidate the khutbah - even though it may be offensive. We might also be able to argue that one of the major goals of the khutbah is community instruction, guidance, and exhortation, all of which are impossible when the vast majority of attendees do not know the language; basically: community welfare demands it.

Al-hamdu lillah, I found something to confirm what my sheikh said. Sheikh Dr. Sulayman al-Ashqar in his edition of Nail al-ma'arib includes the following footnote: “...So it is essential that one deliver the khutbahs' obligatory amount in Arabic†(“fa la budd an yakhtiba al-qadra al-wajiba min al-khutbatayn bi-l-`arabiyyahâ€), quoting from Al-Buhuti's commentary on Muntaha al-iradat (1.298 fn 1). Ma sha Allah.

It is an excellent day when we find things that make the practice of Islam easier. May Allah reward you.

And Allah knows best.

Wa al-salamu `alaykum,