Arabic Khutbah for Non-Arab Audience: Acceptable?

15 April, 2016
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I am from Gujarat, India. I have observed that the imams and scholars deliver the Friday khutbah (sermon) in Arabic only. Unfortunately, almost two to five percent of the people can understand it. Please, do something about this.


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thank you for your question and the confidence you place in our service. We pray to Allah to enable us render this service purely for His Sake.

The mosques are the most important centers in any Muslim community. From their pulpits are delivered the khutbah, which is arguably the most important weekly address regarding Islam, and around them the Muslims congregate and organize their affairs.

The khutbah is a true Islamic medium that conveys a certain message to attendants of the mosque. Thus, it should also revive the glittering traditions and civilization of Islam by addressing the brilliant feats of our righteous ancestors, which gives us a dignified position in the world community and raises the youths’ sense of belonging to this Ummah.

Focusing on the question in point, Dr. Rif`at Fawzi, professor of Shari`ah at Cairo University, issues the following fatwa:

One of the basic things about the khutbah is that it should deal with the pains of the community and should focus on their needs and help enlightened them about Islamic teachings in depth. Naturally, this cannot be achieved unless the khutbah is delivered in a language known to the audience.

If there is no common language between the person delivering the khutbah and his audience, he will never be able to achieve the purpose of his khutbah or deliver his message.

It is thus incumbent on the imam to speak in the same language of his audience. If English, for instance, is their language, then he should deliver it in English. The khutbah is meant to deliver a message, and in order to deliver this message, the imam should be speaking in the same tongue of his audience.

In a community where Muslims belong to many countries and ethnicities each with its own language, the imam is to use a language that is known to them all.

It is important to note here that Almighty Allah sent His Prophets to their respective people and commanded them to speak their languages so that the message is conveyed and no one has any excuse after that, thus making the common language between the deliverer and his audience a must.

Almighty Allah says, “And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them. Then Allah send whom He will astray, and guide whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Wise” (Ibrahim 14:4)

Based on this, it is incumbent on the imams in your area to deliver the khutbah in the language known to the audience so as to succeed in delivering its message.

Allah Almighty knows best.