To deliver whole or part of the two Friday Khutbahs in any other language other than Arabic (be it English, Urdu, Gujerathi or whatever) is, in the light of the Sharia’h, an act contrary to the established Sunnah of our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam.
The practice of rendering the Khutbah in Arabic has become such a firmly entrenched Universal Sunnah that any stance adopted contrary to this has been considered by our pious predecessors, our Ulema and Fuqahaa as Makroof-Tahrimi i.e. a highly detestable act which is very close to Haraam. Let us therefore forever be reminded and pay special attention to what Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala has commanded of us in verse 33 of Surah Muhammad:
“O! you who believe! Obey Almighty Allah, and obey the messenger,and make not vain your deeds.”
It is an undeniable fact that all the Khutbahs of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam were conveyed in Arabic. The Khulafaa-e-Rashideen Radhiallahu Anhum all adhered meticulously to this noble Sunnah. One may argue that these were personalities of Arab descent and their mode of communication was through the Arabic medium, hence it was therefore only natural that they conveyed the message of the Khutbah through the genre understood by the masses of that time and age.
Unfortunately, this arguement will however, not hold any weight when we study the era after the demise of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. When Islam began to spread far and wide to other countries, many of the Sahaba Ridwanullahi Ta’ala Alayhim Ajma’een migrated to these foreign lands with the express purpose of disseminating Islamic tenets and teachings there.
Thus, in spite of the fact that the prime motive of migrating to these countries was to transmit the Divine message of Islam and to fulfill the acute need of teaching the proselytized communities of these countries to follow the Most Holy and Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah of Almighty Allah’s Beloved Nabee S.A.W. Then too there is no concrete evidence to support the theory that the Sahaba Ridwanullahi Ta’ala Alayhim Ajma’een delivered their Jummah Khutbah in the local dialect of each respective country and community.
Yes indeed, they learnt the various foreign languages and dialects of those areas in order to facilitate the imparting of Islamic education in separate gatherings of learning that took place in the Masaajids and other public places. But, when it came to the Khutbah of Jummah and the two Eids, they rigorously implemented the Sunnah of rendering the Khutbah in the Arabic language as was taught to them by our Beloved and noble Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. This Sunnah was upheld after the Sahaba Ridwanullahi Ta’ala Alayhim Ajma’een by the Al-Tabi’een as well as by the Tabe Tabi’een.
The reason why some misguided people seem to be spearheading a drive to promote the rendering of the Khutbah in English is that they are totally mislead by the notion that the Khutbah is a ‘lecture’ like all other lectures. By means of their fanciful interpretations, these people seek to assert their personal whims and opinions as being the authoritative and intended meanings of the Most Holy and Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. Such people are to be found in profusion among Muslims today.
Muslims who, due to lack of Islamic knowledge and their preponderance with un-Islamic learning fell easy prey to the onslaught of the deceptive and fallacious expositions of the Most Holy and Glorious Qur’an and the Hadith based on personal opinions and fanciful interpretations which concoct views and theories in diametric opposition to the authoritative exposition of Islamic beliefs and practices. These beliefs and practices were treasured and transmitted down the centuries in the most guarded, reliable and authentic manner which ensured the authenticity of the original and pure unadulterated Islam.
The Khutbah is not a lecture and this is a gross misunderstanding on the part of these so-called ‘modernists’. In order to fully understand the laws governing the Khutbah, the Khutbah must be put in its correct Shari’ah perspective. Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala declares in verse 52 Surah Al-Ankabut:
Say: “Enough is Allah for a witness between me and you.
He knows what is in the heavens and on Earth.
And it is those who believe in vanities and reject Allah that are the losers.”
No fraud, falsehood, fanciful interpretations or innovations can for a single moment stand before Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala. All the most secret and hidden things in the heavens and on earth are open before Rahmathul Liel Ala’meen. If the Sunnah of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam is rejected – Truth does not suffer. It is the rejectors and innovators who will suffer and perish in the end for this warning has been made crystal clear by Almighty Allah in verses 20 and 21 of Surah Al-Mujadila:
“Those who oppose the commands of Allah and His messenger will be amongst those most humiliated for as Allah has decreed: It is I and My messenger who must prevail. For Allah is Strong and Mighty.”
A false man, by swearing that he is true, makes falsehood all the more henious. He stands in the way of other people accepting the Truth and he gives a handle to the cynics and the sceptics. Shah Waliullah Rahmatullahi Alay of Delhi, the renowned Muhaddith has written that an important thing about the Khutbah to understand, is the aspect of rendering it in Arabic is not something that evolved over a period of time and became a customary thing.
Nay, just as other aspects of the Khutbah such as commencement of the Khutbah with the Praises of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala, testimony to His Oneness and the prophethood of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, reciting Durood upon him and making mention of the Khulafaa Rahmatulklahi Alayhim etc. are all integral components of the Khutbah, so too is the aspect of delivering the Khutbah in Arabic. Also very worthy of mention is that Ibne Nujaim Rahmatullahi Alay has written in his monumental work on Fikh (Al-Bahrur-Raa’iq Volume 2 page 147): and I quote:
“That the reason why we are required to perform only two Raka’ats of Fard Salaat in Jummah and not four Raka’ats as we do every day for Zuhr Salaat is that the two Khutbahs complete the deficit of the remaining two Raka’ats.”
That is why similar reverence is paid to Salaat; with the result that we are forbidden from engaging in the performance of other Salaat or conversation while the Imaan delivers the Khutbah. It is even prohibited to verbally recite Zikr or Durood during the course of the Khutbah. Hence, in this context, the Khutbah is an Ibadah like Salaat. When the Khutbah encompasses both the aspects of Salaat and Zikr, it is only fitting that it be recited in Arabic just as all our other Salaat and Zikr are recited in Arabic.
It would be totally irrational to discard the language of Jannah, the language of the Most Holy and Glorious Qur’an, the language of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, the language of the Mala’eeka, the language of the Qabir and opt for the language of the innovators for our Ibadah and Zikr.
If, due to our shortcomings, we do not make a sincere effort of learning the meanings of the Most Holy and Glorious Qur’an, this does not grant any one of us the authority and temerity of altering an established Sunnah of Almighty Allah’s Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. Rahmathul Liel Ala’meen in His Infinite Mercy and Bounty has warned us of the consequences that awaits those who stray from the Path of Seerathal Mustaqeem with the following declaration in verse 9 of Surah Al-Ahqaf:
Say: “I am not an innovation among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration. I am but a warner, Open and clear.”
In the words of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam:
“All the Ambiya Alayhim Salatu Wasallam (prophets) before me have taught the Unity of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala and our duty to mankind. I bring no new fangled doctrine, but eternal truths that have been known to good men through the ages. It is to reclaim you that I have come. I do not know what will be your fate for all this callousness. But this I know, that I am preaching truth and righteousness as inspired by Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala. My duty is to proclaim aloud and very clearly the Divine Message entrusted to be by Rahmathul Liel Ala’meen and to ask all of you to follow my Sunnah. The rest I leave to Almighty Allah and to Him Alone.”
If today we allow the rendering of the Khutbah in English, Gujerathi, Urdu, or whatever other language, misguided people may stand up tomorrow and demand that because they do not understand the Imaam’s recitation of Surah Al-Fatiha in Salaat that it should be recited in a language of their choice. The same would apply to the Adhaan and the Iqamah – may Allah forbid! Where do we draw the line? Our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam has said repeatedly: “He who introduces into the Din of Almighty Allah any act that is not an acceptable practice, it will be totally rejected.”
When people entertain misguided and innovatory ideas of values in life, there are two or three possible attitudes that they may adopt in reaction to their experiences. In the first place, their desire may be inordinate for the good things of this life, and any little check brings them into a mood of despair. In the second place, if their desire is granted, they are puffed up, and think that everything is due to their own misguided cleverness or merits. Could anything be more foolish or more misguided than to reject a Divine Message which continues to transform the whole world?
Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala’s Truth always spreads, in its own good time, across to the uttermost ends of the earth, as it did in the case of Islam. But its intensive spread in the hearts and souls of people is even more remarkable than its extensive spread over large areas.
Illustrious men like the Sahaba Ridwanullahi Ta’ala Alayhim Ajma’een and many, many more became true leaders of men and arbiters of the world’s fate. Madina Al Munawwara, from being a focus of jarring tribes and factions that hated and despised each other, became the seat of heroic actions and plans and the nursery of heroic deeds that resounded throughout the Doonya.
In conclusion, it would not be out of place to say once again that the Khutbah in any other language other than Arabic is contrary to the Sunnah of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam and even the mere thought would be tantamount to introducing an innovation.
Islam lives, not for itself, but for all mankind. Let us therefore ask Rahmathul Liel Ala’meen in complete humility and humbleness to grant us with Taqwa; to increase us with beneficial knowledge, and to strengthen our Imaan so that we may forever be grateful for His Baraka’h, Bounty and Blessings.
May Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala clear from our minds all unnecessary doubts and guide us to do His Will and live by His Command for it is only by His Command that we shall Insha’Allah succeed, both in this life and in the Aghirah.
(Moulana Abdul Hamid Lachporia Saheb,Canada)