The sermon or oration delivered on Fridays at the time of zuhr, or meridian prayer. It is also recited on the two great festivals in the morning after sunrise. [‘IDU ‘L-FITR, ‘IDU ‘L-AZHA.] The Friday prayer and sermon are established by an injunction in the Qur’an, Surah lxii. 9: “O ye who believe! When the call to prayer is made upon the congregation day yaumu ‘l-jum’ah), then hasten to the remembrance of God, and leave off traffic.” By the words ” remembrance of God,” most commentators understand the khutbah or sermon.
From the Traditions, it appears that Muhammad used frequently to deliver a khutbah, and that it was not the studied and formal oration which it has become in more recent times.
Jabir says: When the Prophet delivered the khutbah, his eyes used to be red, and his voice high, and his anger raged so that you would say he was warning a tribe of the approach of a hostile army, and frightening them with apprehensions of its arrival thus: It is at hand! In the evening or morning it will come down upon you and plunder you! And the Prophet would say, I have been sent, and the Resurrection is like these two fingers, and he used to join his fore-finger with the next to it, as an explanation of the semblance that the Resurrection was not farther off than the difference of length in the two fingers.” (Mishkat, book iv. ch. xlvi.)
On Fridays, after the usual ablutions, the four Sunnah prayers are recited, and the preacher, or khatib, then seats himself on the pulpit, or minbar, whilst the Mu’azzin proclaims azan; after which he stands up on the second step and delivers the khutbah. It must be in Arabic, and must include prayers for Muhammad, the Companions, and the king, but its composition and general structure is left to the discretion of the preacher. In some countries, Egypt for example (Lane’s Egyptians, vol. i. p. 107), the khatib holds a wooden sword in his hand, whilst he delivers the exhortation. The khutbah is divided into two sections, the khutbatu ‘l-wa’z, and the khutbatu ‘n-na’i, supplications being made between the two sections. The following is a translation of a khutbah, as delivered in India in the present day, from which the name a titles of the reigning monarch are omitted. It is the third of a series of sermons published at Lucknow in a volume entitle Majma’u Khutab:-
“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Praised be God. Praised be that God who hath shown us the way in this religion. If He had not guided us into the path we should not have found it.
I bear witness that there is no deity but God. He is one. He has no associate. I bear witness that Muhammad is, of a truth, His servant and His Apostle. May God have mercy upon him, and upon his descendants, and upon his companions, and give them peace.
Fear God, O ye people, and fear that day, the Day of Judgment, when a father will not be able to answer for his son, nor the son for the father. Of a truth God’s promises are true. Let not this present life make you proud. Let not the deceiver (Satan) lead you astray.
O ye people who have believed, tarn ye to God, as Nasuh* did turn to God. Verily God doth forgive all sin, verily, He is the merciful the forgiver of sins. Verily He is the most munificent, and bountiful, the King, the Holy One, the Clement, the Most Merciful.”
(The preacher then descends from the pulpit, and sitting on the floor of the mosque, offers up a silent prayer. He then again ascends the mimbar, as before, and proceeds.
“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Praised be God. We praise Him. We seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness of sins. We trust in Him. We seek refuge in Him from evil desires and from former sinful actions. He who has God for His guide is never lost; and whosoever He leadeth aside none can guide into the right path.
We bear witness that there is no deity but God. He is one. He hath no partner.
Verily we bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and apostle of God, and may God have mercy upon him, who is more exalted that any being. May God have mercy upon his descendants, and upon his companions! May God give them peace! Especially upon Amiru ‘l-Mu’minin Abu Bake as-Siddiq (may God be please with him). And upon him who was the most temperate of the ‘friends,’ Amriu ‘l-Mu’minin ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may God be please with him). And upon him whose modesty and faith were perfect, Amiru ‘l-Mu’minin ‘Usman (may God be please with him). And upon the Lion of the powerful God, Amiru ‘l- Mu’minin, ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talilb (may God be please with him). And upon the two Imams, the holy ones, the two martyrs, Amiru ;l-Mu’minin Abu Muhammad al-Hasan and Abu ‘Abdi ‘llah al-Husain (may God be please with both of them). And upon the mother of these two persons, the chief of women, Fatimatu ‘z-Zuhra’ (may God be pleased with her). And upon his (Muhammad’s) two uncles, Hamzah and al-‘Abbas (may God be pleased with them). And upon the rest of the ‘companions,’ and upon the ‘followers’ (may God be pleased with all of them). Of Thy mercy, O most merciful of all merciful ones, O God, forgive all Muslim men and Muslim women, all male believers and all female believers. Of a truth Thou art He who wilt receive our prayers.
O God, help those who help the religion of Muhammad. May we also exert ourselves to help those who help Islam. Make those weak, who weaken the religion of Muhammad.
O God, bless the ruler of the age, and make him kind and favorable to the people.
O servants of God, may God have mercy upon you. Verily, God enjoineth justice and the doing of good, and gifts to kindred; and He forbiddeth wickedness, and wrong, and oppression. He warneth you that haply ye may be mindful. (Surah cxvi. 92.)
O ye people, remember the great and exalted God. He will also remember you. He will answer your prayers. The remembrance of God is great, and good, and honorable, and noble, and meritorious, and worthy, and sublime.”
A more eloquent and strikingly characteristic khutbah has been translated by Mr. Lane in his Modern Egyptians (vol. i. p. 107): It is a New Year’s Day sermon, delivered in the great mosque at Cairo, on the first Friday in the year, on the occasion of Mr. Lane’s first visit, and is as follows:-
“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Praise be to God, the Renewer of Years, and the Multiplier of favors, and the Creator of months and days, according to the most perfect wisdom and most admirable regulation; who hath dignified the months of the Arabs above all other months, and hath pronounced that among the more excellent of them is al-Muharram the Sacred, and hath commenced with it the year, as He hath closed it with Zu ‘l-Hijjah. How propitious is the beginning, and how good is the end! I extol His perfection, exempting Him from the association of any other deity with Him. He hath well considered what He hath formed and established what He hath contrived, and He alone hath the power to create and to annihilate. I praise Him, extolling His perfection, and exalting His name, for the knowledge and inspiration which He hath graciously vouchsafed; and I testify that there is no deity but God alone; He hath no companion; He is the Most Holy King; the God of Peace; and I testify that our lord and our Prophet and our friend Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle, and His elect, and His friend, the Guide of Way, and the lamp of the dark. O God, bless and save and beautify this noble Prophet, and chief and excellent apostle, the merciful-hearted, or Lord Muhammad, and his family and his companions, and his wives, and his posterity, and the people of his house, the
* Nasuh, is a word which occurs in the eighth verse of the Suratu ‘t-Tahrim (lxvi.) in the Qur’an; it is translated “true repentance” by Sale and Rodwell, but it is supposed to be a person’s name by several commentators.
noble persons, and grant them ample salvation.
O servants of God, your lives have been gradually curtailed, and year after year hath passed away, and ye are sleeping on the bed of indolence, and on the pillow of iniquity. Ye pass the tombs of your predecessors, and fear not the assault of destiny and destruction, as if others departed from the world and ye must of necessity remain in it. Ye rejoice at the arrival of new years, as if they brought an increase of the term of life, and swim in the seas of desires, and enlarge your hopes, and in every way exceed other people in presumption; and ye are sluggish in doing good. O how great a calamity is this! God teacheth by an allegory. Know ye not that in the curtailment of time by indolence and sleep there is very great trouble? Know ye not that in the cutting short of lives by the termination of years is a very great warning? Know ye not that the night and day divide the lives of numerous souls? Know ye not that health and capacity are two blessing coveted by many men? But the truth hath become manifest to him who hath eyes. Ye are now between two years: one year hath passed away, and come to an end, with its evils; and ye have entered upon another year, in which, if it please God, mankind shall be relieved. Is any of you determining upon diligence in doing good in the year to come? Or repenting of his failing in the times that are passed? The happy one is he who taketh amends for the time past in the time to come; and the miserable one is he whose days pass away and he is careless of his time. This new year hath arrived, and the sacred month of God hath come with blessings to you, the first of the months of the year, and of the four sacred months, as hath been said, and the most worthy of preference and honor and reverence. Its fast is the most excellent of fasts after that which is obligatory, and the doing of good in it is among the most excellent of the objects of desire. Whosoever desireth of the objects of desire. Whosoever desireth to reap the advantage from it, let him fast the ninth and tenth days, looking for aid. Abstain not from the fast through indolence, and esteeming it a hardship; but comply with it, in the best manner, and honor it with the best of honors, and improve your time by the worship of God with repentance, before the assault of death: He is the God who acceptheth repentance of His servants, and pardoneth sins. The Apostle of God (God bless and save him) hath said, ‘The most excellent prayer, after the prescribed, is the prayer that is said in the last third of the night; and the most excellent fast, after Ramazan, is that of the month of God al-Muharram.'”
(The khatib, having concluded his exhortation, says to the congregation, “Supplicate God.” He then sits down and prays privately; and each member of the congregation at the same time offers up some private petition, as after the ordinary prayers, holding his hands before him (looking at the palms), and then drawing them down his face. The khatib then rises again, and recites the following):-
“Praise be to God, abundant praise, as he hath commanded. I testify that there is no deity but God alone; He hath no companion; affirming His supremacy, and condemning him who disbelieveth: and I testify that our Lord and our Prophet Muhammad is His servant and His apostle, the lord of mankind, the intercessor, the accepted intercessor, on the Day of Assembling: God bless him and his family as long as the eye teeth and the ear hearth. O people, reverence God by doing what He hath commanded, and abstain from that which He hath forbidden and prohibited. The happy one is he who obeyeth, and the miserable one is he who opposeth and sinneth. Know that the present world is a transitory abode, and that the world to come is a lasting abode. Make provision, therefore, in your transitory state for your lasting state, and prepare for your reckoning and standing before your Lord: for know that ye shall tomorrow be placed before God, and reckoned with according to your deeds; and before the Lord of Might ye shall be present, ‘and those who acted unjustly shall know with what an overthrowal they shall be overthrown.’ Know that God, whose perfection I extol, and whose name be exalted, hath said and ceaseth not to say wisely, and to command judiciously, warning you, and teaching and honoring the dignity of your Prophet, extolling and magnifying him. Verily God and His angel bless the Propeht: ‘O ye who believe, bless him, and greet him with a salutation.’ O God bless Muhammad, as Thou blessedst Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim among all creature, for Thou art praiseworthy and glorious. O God, do Thou also be well pleased with the four Khalifahs, the orthodox lords, of high diginity and illustrious honor, Abu Bakr, as-Siddiq, and ‘Umar, and ‘Usman, and ‘Ali; and be Thou well pleased, O God, with the six who remained of the ten noble and just persons who swore allegiance to Thy Prophet Muhammad (God bless him and save him) under the tree (for Thou art the Lord of piety and the Lord of pardon); those persons of excellence and clemency, and rectitude and prosperity, Talhah, and Zubair, and Sa’d, and Sa’id, and ‘Abdu r-Rahman ibn ‘Auf, and Abu ‘Ubaidah Amir ibn al-Jarrah: and with all the Companions of the Apostle of God (God bless and save him): and be Thou well pleased, O God, with the two martyred descendants, the youths of the people of Paradise in Paradise, the two sweet-smelling flowers of the Prophet of this nation. Abu Muhammad al-Hasan and Abu ‘Abdi ‘llah al-Husain; and be Thou well pleased, O God, with their mother, the daughter of the Apostle of God (God bless and save him), Fatimatu ‘z-Zahra’, and with their grandmother Khadijah al-Kubra, and with ‘Ayishah, the mother of the faithful, and with the rest of the pure wives, and with the generation which succeeded the Companions and with the generation which succeeded that with beneficence to the Day of Judgment. O God, pardon the believing men and the believing women, and the Muslim men and the Muslim women, those who are living, and the dead; for Thou art a hearer near, an answerer of prayers, O Lord, of the beings of the whole world. O God, aid Islam, and strengthen its pillars, and make infidelity to tremble, and destroy its might, by the preservation of Thy servant, and the son of Thy servant, the submissive to the Might of Thy Majesty and Glory, whom God hath aided, by the care of the Adored King, our master the Sultan, the Sultan Mahmud Khan; may God assist him, and prolong [his reign]. O God, assist him, and assist his armies, O Thou Lord of the religion, and the world present, and the world to come, O Lord of the beings of the whole world.
O God, assist the forces of the Muslims, and the armies of the Unitarians. O God, frustrate the infidels and polytheist, thine enemies, the enemies of the religion. O God, invert their banners, and ruin their habitations, and give them and their wealth as booty to the Muslims. O God, unloose the capacity of the captives, and annul the debts of the debtors; and make this town to be safe and secure, and blessed with wealth and plenty, and all the towns of the Muslims, O Lord of the beings of the whole world. And decree safety and health to us and to all travelers, upon Thy earth, and upon Thy sea, such as are Muslims, O Lord of the beings of the whole world.
‘O Lord, we have acted unjustly towards our own souls, and if Thou do not forgive us and be merciful unto us, we shall surely be of those who perish’ I beg of God, the Great, that He may forgive me and you, and all the people of Muhammad, the servants of God. ‘Verily God commandeth justice, and the doing of good, and giving what is due to kindred; and forbidden wickedness, and iniquity, and oppression: He admonisheth you that ye may reflect. Remember God; He will remember you: and thank Him; He will increase to you your blessings. Praise be to God, the Lord of the beings of the whole world!”
The khutbah being ended, the khatib then descends from the pulpit, and, if he officiate as Imam, takes his position and leads the people in a two-rak’ah prayer. The khatib, however, does not always officiate as Imam. The Prophet is related to have said that the length of a man’s prayers and the shortness of his sermon, are signs of a man’s common sense.
According to the best authorities, the name of the reigning Khalifah ought to be recited in the khutbah, and the fact that it is not so recited in independent Muslim kingdoms, but the name of the Sultan or Amir is substituted for the Khalifah, has its significance, for it is a question whether the Sultan of Turkey, has any real claim to the spiritual leadership of Islam. [KHALIFAH.]
In India the name of the king is omitted and the expression “Rulers of the Age” is used.
In India, the recital of the khutbah serves to remind every Muslim priest, at least one a week, that he is in a Caru ‘l-Harb, “a land of enmity.” Still the fact that he can recite his khutbah at all in a country not under Muslim rule, must also assure him that he is in a Daru ‘l-Aman, or “land of protection.”
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam