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The Friday sermon

Abdullah Ibn Jibreen

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Friday sermon, its status, its importance, its ruling, its implications in the hearts of Muslims.

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Friday sermon, its status, its importance, its ruling, its implications in the hearts of Muslims

 
All the praises and thanks be to Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists). Prayers and peace of Allah be upon the most honorable of the Prophets and Messengers, our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.
 
Every week, Muslims assemble on Friday in compliance to the order of Allah Glorified and Exalted, they listen to the sermon of that great day. Thus, they have the opportunity to listen to what benefit them and reform their beliefs and deeds.
 
 
O Honorable Sheikh, we hope that you answer the following questions about this important subject so that it will benefit Muslims.
 
1.    What is the status and importance of the Friday sermon in Islam? What is its ruling?
 
2.    What are effects the sermon can leave in the hearts of the Muslims?
 
3.    What are characteristics and conditions that should be available in the good sermon?
 
4.    Did the Friday sermon have a distinguished role in Islam? Is it possible to mention two examples of it?
 
5.    What are the elements that constitute a successful preacher?
 
6.    What is the condition of the Imam and the follower on Friday during listening to the sermon?
 
7.    What is the virtue reported about Friday?
 
8.    Do you have a final word on this occasion?
 
His Eminence the Scholar, the Imam Sheikh Abdullah ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Jibrin, may Allah guide him to His satisfaction, said:
 
All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Walî (Helper, Supporter, Protector, Lord), Worthy of all Praise, the Glorious. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone; with no partner, a Witness to all things. I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him and upon all his family and companions who are faithful in unifying Allah.
 
Allah is Wise in His laws, fate and destiny. He has obligated assembling, both general and private. On Friday, Allah Almighty has ordered to come to the remembrance of Allâh (Jumu’ah religious talk (Khutbah) and Salât (prayer)) and to leave off any worldly matters that occupy one from remembering Allah. Allah has ordained the sermon delivered by the Imam standing on the pulpit; a lot of people listen to what benefit them and to what they are guided to by the Imam. Hence, the Friday sermon is one of the most important means for calling to Allah Almighty and one of the most outstanding ways of Islamic education. Allah Almighty has invited them to it and ordered them to come to the remembrance of Allah; to what reminds them of their Lord; to what benefits them in their life. Muslims receive preaches, sermons, remembrances and what guide them to reform their life and to know how to worship their Lord.
 
It was reported in the noble Hadith the urge to listen carefully to the sermon, the forbiddance to engage in idle talks or deeds or to engage in worldly matters. The Hadith even forbade touching pebbles or ordering others to listen. Therefore, all people will listen carefully and benefit greatly. Thus, the sermon is the most affecting thing to the behavior of Muslims. It has the highest and most sublime status in Islam. It is important that attention must be given to the sermon and the selection of important subjects that are needed. The well-informed Imam who is capable of knowing the conditions of people; who knows what is needed and what is to be stressed at, is to be selected. He should be of high efficiency, eloquent, the ability to convey the message and clarify the meanings, the establishment of evidence and to present what is needed in all situations.
 
There is no doubt that, whenever the wise believer -of Allah as his Lord and of Muhammad, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, as the Prophet and Messenger of Allah- whenever he hears these guidance and sincere pieces of advice he will believe in them and their essence. They will affect his behavior and manners. They will have a significant impact on his deeds and actions. Therefore, he will repent from all acts of disobedience when he is invited to sincere repentance. He will persist in performing acts of obedience when he hears their virtues and good consequences. He will increase performing optional acts of worship that bring him closer to the satisfaction of his Lord and His reward. The Imam has aroused his interest in keeping them. His heart is touched. His faith is renewed and strengthened. The doctrine is stabilized in his heart. He leaves the Friday prayer with a soft heart and a wet eye. He humbles himself to his Lord. He regrets what has passed in his life of negligence. He avows himself to the obedience of his Lord. He replaces sinful assemblies to others. He abandons the companions and colleagues, who hinder him from the remembrance of Allah and from prayers; he replaces them with righteous reforming companions who remind him if he forgets, who aid and strengthen his power when he remembers. They are the companions who fill their assemblies with useful knowledge, righteous deeds, remembrances and pondering on the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah and His creation.
 
However, such impacts may weaken or be lost for some praying persons. It is either out of heedlessness, inattentiveness or sleepiness during the sermon. Man would be absent-mindedly or careless to what is being preached. It is as if he were absent. Otherwise, it would be because of the Rân (covering of sins and evil deeds) over their heart which prevents him from repentance, being touched and from accepting the advice and guidance. When the heart is controlled by sins and inclined to them, it hardens and it becomes hard to repent. It will be difficult to part with the habits and conventions that have become deep-rooted in the heart. It has become, as impossible, to quit and abandon such solid settlings in the heart, except by the will of Allah.
 
We may wonder about how many people who flock to the mosques on Friday and then leave to their business and continue in their play and inattentiveness. They remain in their transgression, wandering blindly, due to the weakness of faith. This meeting has become something ordinary. The majority does not think about its wisdom. They do not remember what they have heard. Thus, after the prayers, you find them engaged in their own affairs; speaking about their habits, as if they had not heard a reminder or advice urging them to change and influence.
 
 
The characteristics that should be found in a good sermon:
 
They depend upon the Imam and his ability. He should possess religious Islamic knowledge and the correct belief. He should be well-informed and knowledgeable; proficient in the ability to extract themes, evidences and interesting articles from the books. Through the power of his talent and gift, he can include his sermon with interesting exhortations that move the hearts and feelings, induce determination towards loftiness, suppress the evil souls from sins and bad ethics. They can give rise to the psychic powers towards sublime attributes, and to be adorned with virtues and dignities, to abandon all that undermines religion and all that contrary to virility or brings about bad reputation.
 
Thus, we can see that such an Imam treats the problems of people. He warns against the calamities, vices and well-established sins that people fall into; such as Al-Fawâhish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse), drugs and violations. He narrates factual stories that give lessons and exhortations. He gives evidence and reasons. He maintains clear statements that illustrate the meanings and fix them in the minds. He does not elaborate on the words that bore the listeners, and eventually make them forget it. To sum up, the good advising Imam is the one who is keen on what benefits the listeners, he follows up the news, asks about the reality of people. His sermon includes sublime meanings and eloquent statements. He does not embark upon trivialities nor does he condemn individuals. He does not scandalize those who fell into acts of disobedience or violations.
 
The sermon includes praising Allah and thanking Him, the two testimonies (that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger), sending prayers and peace of Allah upon the Prophet, and recommending the piety of Allah, Glorified and Exalted. It includes reciting some Quran, quoting some suitable verses and Hadiths, teaching important provisions and the allowed and the forbidden. The sermon mentions the acts of worship which people perform in ignorant or faulty manner, the violations in transactions, contracts and felonies. It warns against great sins. It calls for Allah Almighty, for being ready for the departure (death). It mentions the promise and the threat, Paradise and Hellfire, the horrors taking place after death and all that which affect the souls. Thus, Allah Almighty benefit by these sermons, those whom He wants to guide.
 
There is no doubt that Friday sermons have a great part in the Islamic history. The impacts of the Prophetic sermons are still famous among the companions and those who came after them. The most benefits and knowledge that were reserved from the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, was that taken through the sermons delivered on the pulpit. One of the female companions reported that she memorized {Qâf. [These letters (Qâf, etc.) are one of the miracles of the Qur’ân, and none but Allâh (Alone) knows their meanings]. By the Glorious Qur’ân.} [Surat Qâf 50:1]
 
{ق ۚ وَالْقُرْآنِ الْمَجِيدِ} ق: 1
 
 

 

Transliteration: Qaf waalqurani almajeedi
 
from the sermons of the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, as he has used to include it in some of his sermons.
 
It was memorized through the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, that he repeated saying, “The most true talk is the Book of Allah, and the most righteous guidance is the guidance of Muhammad…” [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
 
«إن أصدق الحديث كتاب الله، وأحسن الهدي هدي محمد...» صححه الألباني[  ] 
 
Most Imams are still including this statement in their sermons. They often quote from his sermons; short and long, which have a great effect on the listeners. For example, the sermon he delivered on the Day of Arafat where he abolished the usury and blood-revenge of the pre-Islamic period, where he reminded people of the rights of women. He bid them farewell, ordered them to convey through him and took their witness to that. He reminded them of the sacredness of their blood, money, honors and the like. The sermon of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, when he became caliph is famous; so is a long sermon by ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, which is reported in the authentic book of Al-Bukhari where ‘Umar mentioned the prescribed punishments for adultery; i.e. stoning. It had a momentous effect on the audience.
 
 
The elements that make a successful Imam:
 
The Imam needs a spiritual or moral preparation. He either reads the books and revise the topic he wants to treat, or that he thinks about them and develops in his memory the evidence and reasons he likes to present. He should not go up the pulpit unless he has well-prepared his subject. He should divide the sermon into elements; starting with praising and thanking Allah; and alluring to the main theme with what is called ‘the skill of introduction’. After praising Allah and verbally utters the two testimonies, he starts addressing the audience with exiting general messages to attract their attention. He recommends them with the piety of Allah; illustrating the type of piety he is going to talk about. Then he makes an introduction to this subject by mentioning the obligation of obeying Allah and His Messenger; the reward of obeying and the punishment of disobeying. Then he states the main topic such as the jihad in the cause of Allah; he mentions its virtues and reward. He should present some evidence from the Quran and Sunnah. He then mentions the jihad with money and that Allah almighty prefers it to the jihad by the soul. He gives examples from the jihad of the companions and the victory and power they attained. He gives the reasons of that from the reformation of the intention; that the Word of Allah become the uppermost; His religion become the most high. The reasons include reforming the deeds and avoiding the sins and violations that may cause failure and the empowerment of the enemies. Thus the Imam will come out with a clear result affecting the souls of the audience.
 
 
The conditions of the followers on Friday:
 
It has been reported what incites the Muslims to good manners and humbleness. The order to total ablution on Friday has been reported, it is said to be obligatory; however it is more likely to be confirmed desirable. The wisdom of total ablution is respecting other praying persons and keeping away from the harm. The Muslim is ordered to go early to the mosque, pray the optional prayers and listen carefully to the sermon. He is ordered to have a present heart, to ponder and elaborate on what he is hearing of exhortations and guidance. He is forbidden to engage in irrelevance, to sweeping the earth or talking with others even in advice. All this is inciting him to listen carefully in order to benefit and attain a clear result which will have an effect over him all his life.
 
As for the virtue of Friday, it is reported in the authentic book of Hadith the saying of the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, “whoever has total ablution on Friday (Ghusl Aljanabah), and then goes to the mosque in the first hour, it is as if he had offered a she-camel as a sacrifice …” till the end of the Hadith. [Agreed upon]
 
«من اغتسل يوم الجمعة[  ]  غسل الجنابة ثم راح، فكأنما قرب بدنة...» متفق عليه
 
It is also reported, “When it is Friday, the angels stand at every door of the mosque and record the people in the order of their arrival. And he who comes early is like the one who offers a she-camel as a sacrifice, the next is like the one who offers a cow, the next is like the one who offers a ram, the next is like the one who offers a hen, and the next is like the one who offers an egg. And when the Imam sits (on the pulpit for delivering the sermon) they fold up their sheets (the manuscripts where they are recording) and listen to the mention (of Allah).” [Agreed upon]
 
«إذا كان يوم الجمعة، وقفت الملائكة[  ]  على باب المسجد، يكتبون الأول فالأول، ومثل المهجر كمثل الذي يهدي بدنة، ثم كالذي يهدي بقرة، ثم كبشا، ثم دجاجة، ثم بيضة، فإذا خرج الإمام طووا صحفهم، ويستمعون الذكر[  ] » متفق عليه
 
In the traceable Hadith of Salman, “Anyone who takes a bath on Friday and cleans himself, puts oil (on his hair) or scents himself; and then proceeds for the prayer and does not force his way between two persons (assembled in the mosque for the Friday prayer), prays as much as is written for him and remains quiet when the imam delivers the sermon, all his sins in between the present and the last Friday will be forgiven.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
 
«لا يغتسل رجل يوم الجمعة، ويتطهر ما استطاع من طهر، ويدهن من دهنه، أو يمس من طيب بيته، ثم يخرج فلا يفرق بين اثنين، ثم يصلي ما كتب له، ثم ينصت إذا تكلم الإمام، إلا غفر له ما بينه وبين الجمعة الأخرى» رواه البخاري[  ] 
 
he added in the Hadith of Abu Huraira, “and even of three days more.” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«...وفضل ثلاثة أيام» رواه مسلم
 
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-’Aas narrated the traceable Hadith, “whoever has total ablution on Friday, applies some perfume of his wife’s, puts on his best garments, does not trespass over people sitting in the mosque, and does not engage in idle actions during the Friday sermon; this will be an expiation for the sins committed between the two Fridays.” [Reported by Abu Dawud and declared good by Al-Albani]
 
«من اغتسل يوم الجمعة ومس من طيب امرأته إن كان لها ولبس من صالح ثيابه ثم لم يتخط رقاب الناس ولم يلغ عند الموعظة كانت كفارة لما بينهما» رواه أبو داود وحسنه الألباني
 
Aws ibn Aws ath-Thaqafi, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, saying, “Whoever has total ablution on Friday, sets out early, walks and does not take a ride, gets closer to the Imam and listens and does not engage in idle talk, he will be given the reward of a year of fasting and performing night prayers for every step he takes.” [Reported by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majjah and authenticated by Al-Albani]
 
«من غسل يوم الجمعة واغتسل، ثم بكر وابتكر، ومشى ولم يركب، ودنا من الإمام، واستمع، وأنصت، ولم يلغ، كان له بكل خطوة يخطوها من بيته إلى المسجد، عمل سنة، أجر صيامها وقيامها» رواه أبو داود وابن ماجه وصححه الألباني
 
There are others virtues available for their seeker.
 
 
Finally, my advice for every Muslim:
 
He totally surrenders to Allah Almighty. The effect of this religion which he believes in must be apparent on him. This happens by persisting on performing the congregational prayers in the mosques, maintaining their Sunnah and confirmed Sunnah, their reported invocations and remembrances. All this is evidence of his love to this certain act of worship, his embarking upon it willingly and sincerely. He should get close to his Lord the Almighty by righteous deeds. He increases mentioning and invoking Him in the morning and evening. He should give charity according to his financial ability. He performs what he can from the acts of closeness such as fasting, praying, hajj, ‘umra, Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah), Al-Ihsân (i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allah, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet (peace be upon him in a perfect manner), giving advice, guiding to righteousness and enjoining Al-Ma’rûf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). We advise the Muslim to keep away from sins and all kinds of evil to preserve his limbs from committing acts of disobedience. He protects his hearing from play, songs and music. He lowers his gaze from looking at afflicting pictures and immoral movies. He protects his sustenance from illegitimate and doubtful gains. He must be keen in accompanying the righteous, sitting with good people and in being close to the scholars. Hence, all the previous will be the means to the acceptance of his acts of worship, preaches and guidance. Let him be from those who listen and obey to escape the anger of Allah and His wrath.
 
Allah is the One Who guides to success and the straight Path. Prayers and peace of Allah be upon Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.
 
 
Abdullah ibn Abdul-Rahman Al-Jibrin
 
Dar Al-Watan
Malaz: Eastern Ring Road - exit 15 - after the markets of Majd by 2 km westward
Tel: 0096614792042
 

 

Fax: 0096614723941


 

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