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A preacher jokes during Khutba so that people will not get sleepy


Fatwa Date : 26 Thul-Hijjah 1424 / 18-02-2004



My question is regarding giving Khutbah or sermon prayer. I have heard that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) when he gave his Friday Khutbah, his eyes turned red in seriousness. Is this true? So, if it is, is it permissible for an Imam or Khatib to add a little joke on his sermon as to add a little humour so that the Ma'moom will not get sleepy. Will this ruin the Khutbah or the Jama'a because it would make the listener laugh a little or smile?




Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.



During the Khutba, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) used to be as described by Jabir bin Abdullah (Radiya Allahu Anhu) who said: “The eyes of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) used to turn red when giving Khutba, he used to raise his voice and used to become very angry; it was as if he were an army Warner”.  This is an authentic Hadith reported by Muslim.  Qadi Iyad said: ‘This is the case of a Warner.  The movements of an admonisher and a preacher should be in accordance with the subject he is speaking about, so that he will not be contradicting himself.


“The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) became very angry might be when warning against committing acts that contradict the Shariah. It might also mean that the state of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) while delivering the Khutba was similar to the state of an angry person – when warning”.  Ibn Al-Abbas Al-Qurtubi said: ‘The eyes of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) turned red, and he raised his voice and became angry when delivering Khutba sometimes only’.


Al-Nawawi said: ‘It is desirable for a preacher to give a show great interest in the Khutba raising his voice and speaking eloquently’.


It is not from the guidance of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) that a preacher jokes deliberately during Jumu’a Khutba or tells hilarious jokes, but if during the Khutba the preacher narrates a story or a Hadith that might make some of the audience laugh without deliberately intending to make them laugh, and some of them laughed then there is no harm in this, because people laugh undeliberately.  Laughing during the Khutba does not make it void and does not make the prayer void either.


As regards smiling during Khutba it is an easy matter.  Ibn Khuzayma in his Saheeh stated a chapter: 'The chapter of the permissibility for the Imam to smile during the Khutba”.  Then he stated a Saheeh (authentic) Hadith in which he mentioned that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) smiled in Khutba Al-Istisqa (a prayer which is performed and after which people ask Allah to give them rain) while on the Minbar.


To solve the problem of people sleeping during the Khutba, this can be done by addressing them directly, and being moderate in the Khutba (not too long or too short), addressing the audience in a serious and appropriate manner, and by choosing an appropriate subject and so on.  If one of the audience is asleep, it is better for him to change the place where he is sitting without disturbing other Muslims. 


Allah knows best.



Fatwa answered by:  The Fatwa Center at Islamweb

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