Merely Reciting Surat al-Fatiha in the Friday sermon (Khutba)

Merely Reciting Surat al-Fatiha in the Friday sermon (Khutba)

Question:

Sometimes where we perform Jumu’ah Salat, we don’t have anyone who is able to give the Khutba in Arabic. However, there are people who have memorized parts of the Qur’an. In this case, if a person only recites Surat al-Fatiha, Surat al-Ikhlas or other similar Surahs from the Qur’an, will the Khutba be considered valid?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

According to Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah be pleased with him), the mere recitation of a Surah or some verses from the Qur’an is enough for the Jumu’a sermon (khutba) to be considered valid, provided this is done with the intention of Khutba. However, it is somewhat disliked (makruh tanzih) to suffice with verses from the Qur’an, as this will entail omitting the various Sunnas of the Friday sermon.

It is stated in Maraqi al-Falah:

It is acceptable to suffice in the [Jumu’a] Khutba with the pure mention (dhikr) of Allah Most High such as saying Subhan Allah, Al-Hamdulillah, La ilaha illallah or Allahu Akbar, but with dislike (karaha) due to leaving out the Sunna [method of Khutba], according to Imam Abu Hanifa.” Tahtawi adds in his commentary that the dislike here is somewhat disliked (karaha tanzihiyya). (Maraqi al-Falah sharh Nur al-Idah with the Hashiya of Tahtawi, P: 513)

It is mentioned in Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya that the Jumu’a Khutba comprises of certain obligatory (fard) and Sunna acts. As for the obligatory acts, these are two: 1) Time, which begins after midday (zawal), and that the Khutba must be delivered before the prayer. 2) The remembrance or mention (dhikr) of Allah Most High. This can be carried out by uttering Al-Hamdulillah, La ilaha illallah or Subhan Allah. As for the Sunna acts, these are fifteen such as starting the Khutba with the praise of Allah (hamd), pronouncing the Shahadatayn, sending blessings upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), counselling, and reciting at least three short verses (or one long verse) from the Qur’an. (Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 1/146-147)

As such, Imam Abu Hanifa is of the view that anything that can be termed as the “Dhikr of Allah” is sufficient for the validity of the Khutba regardless of the duration, and as such, merely uttering “Al-Hamdulillah” is sufficient. However, it is offensive to omit the various Sunna acts of the Khutba. He supports his view with the following verse of the Qur’an:

“O you who believe, when the call for prayer is proclaimed on Friday, hasten for the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business. That is much better for you, if you but know.” (Surah al-Jumu’a, V: 9)

In this verse, the command is to hasten towards the “remembrance of Allah (dhikr)” without detailing whether this “Dhikr” must be long or short. As such, the mere utterance of a word that can be termed as “Dhikr” is enough to deem the Khutba as valid. (See: Radd al-Muhtar 2/148 and Maraqi al-Falah P: 514)

Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan (may Allah have mercy on them) of the Hanafi School, however, are of the opinion that it is necessary that the Khutba is long enough to the extent that it can be called a sermon. The minimum requirement is to deliver the Khutba for the duration in which one is able to recite the Tashahhud (Al-Tahiyyat to wa Rasuluh). (See: Radd al-Muhtar 2/148 and Maraqi al-Falah P: 513)

In light of the above, if one was to merely recite Surat al-Fatiha or Surat al-Ikhlas, the Khutba would be considered valid, since this would fulfil the requirement of “mentioning the name of Allah (dhikr)” However, one should avoid doing this in future. If there is no one available to deliver the Khutba in Arabic, the one delivering the Khutba should at least begin with the praise of Allah Most High, say the Shahadatayn, recite three short verses of the Qur’an and send blessings (salawat) upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). This should be repeated in both Khutbas.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Question #: 5431
Published: 20/05/2008