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Friday Khutbah .... zzz

By Dr. B.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Today as I listened to the Friday khutbah at An-Nadhah Mosque delivered by a young imam, I had a glimpse of many in the congregation who fell asleep or perhaps used the time to catch a nap. I had wondered for a long time now how to help the imam(s) deliver their khutbah in a manner that is captivating and interactive so that the congregation "is with the khutbah" and is not sleeping through it.

Sometime ago, when I attended Friday prayer at a mosque in Atlanta, USA, the Afro-American imam engaged his congregation by asking them questions that were spontaneously replied by some members and supported by many others with their Jamaican "Ya Man ..." expression of agreement. Initially I was taken aback with such interactivity since at home (in Singapore), we were told to maintain silence when the imam or Khatib delivers the khutbah. I once mentioned to a brother that perhaps we should encourage our imam to engage his congregation by asking them to finish off or complete the verse of the Quran that he is reciting to stimulate some degree of interaction, rather than total and complete silence on the part of the congregation, and in a sense deliver a one-way monologue.

I am aware of the Hadith that reminds us to listen attentively to the khutbah and not speak a word, even to reprimand someone else who is talking, failing which the reward of the Friday prayer is lost. But listen attentively requires some effort - to concentrate and keep awake, and I am concern that it is now becoming a norm for congregation to fall asleep or catch a nap during the khutbah. Hence the intent of the khutbah would not be achieved, and the message that the imam wishes to share did not really reach the congregation.

Is someone who is asleep during and throughout the khutbah tantamount to "talking to his other self" and not within the "khutbah circle" or the "sermon space" to deserve the reward of the Friday prayer? What about those who are not asleep but sms-ing (or texting) on their hand phones, or dreaming of other worldly yearnings during the khutbah? I asked myself (and in a sense while I was analyzing, risk myself at the edge of the "khutbah circle", too).

But are those who fell asleep to be faulted if we continue with the practice of reading the khutbah or rather the prepared text, instead of delivering the khutbah? How do we make our imam(s) deliver from the prepared text but without reading it? Or better still, how do we develop them so that they are able to internalise the essence of the prepared text yet deliver it straight from their heart? Surely an imam who communicates from his heart will invigorate the congregation and gravitates them to his khutbah.

I fear the prospect of one who gives nothing to it will get nothing from it.

Posted by Dr B at 7:43 AM


MudPie said...

At the risk of sounding unconstructively cynical, I would like to add that I do not think the answer lies simply in having interaction during a khutbah. I can see much folly that would flow therefrom. At the very least, it would descend into a Q&A session.
However, I believe that there are more things that could be done to spruce up our khutbahs. Use technology to display graphics on the big-screen TVs to illustrate points in the khutbah. Or simply flash the text of the khutbah via powerpoint - reading helps keep one awake. Whilst at it, have alternate languages of the khutbahs displayed as well.
Also, I find that khutbahs are often written in formal, newsreader drone-tone. The khutbah writers may need to keep in mind that they are writing speeches to be heard, not papers to be read - this would make a lot of difference, I believe.

June 22, 2008 5:31 AM HYPERLINK "" \o "Delete Comment"

Faza the grey said...


Agreed. Been thinking about it too..Maybe more visual effects.Hmmm..berapa ramai ya mereka yang menghadiri solat Jumaat tu berkongsi sama ngan keluarga mereka tentang khutbah Jumaat?

Faza June 22, 2008 10:45 PMHYPERLINK "" \o "Delete Comment"

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