Friday Khutbah in the Language of Audience: Allowed?

27 October, 2017
Q Here in Britain, the Friday khutbah (sermon) is attended by those who understand Arabic as well as those who do not, and all or most of them understand the language of this country, i.e., English. Is it then permissible to deliver the khutbah in the language of the audience rather than Arabic?

Answer

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.


In this fatwa:

1- The purpose of the Friday khutbah is very great. It should remind the Muslim attendees of their different responsibilities, enjoin good and warn against evil.

2- Because of this, the message conveyed in the Friday khutbah cannot be understood clearly unless expressed in a language that is understood by the addressee.

Responding to the question, the European Council for Fatwa and Research, states:

Since the aim of the Friday khutbah is to teach and instruct, the principle is to take into consideration the language of the audience when addressing them.

The Qur’an draws our attention to this meaning when it shows the function of the messengers. Allah Almighty says: “We sent not a Messenger but (to teach) in the language of his own people, in order to make things clear to them.” (Ibrahim 14:4) and the message conveyed cannot be understood clearly unless expressed in a language that is understood by the addressee.

The Friday khutbah is primarily supposed to be in Arabic if most of the audience can understand it, for the khutbah usually requires citing evidence from the Qur’an or the Sunnah, and glorifying Allah Almighty in order to carry out its objective.

The ideal solution is to deliver the khutbah in Arabic and then translate as much as possible of it for those who do not understand Arabic.

Perhaps this was the intention of the majority of jurists who opined that the khutbah should be in Arabic.

But if those who know Arabic among the audience are just a few or nonexistent, it is permissible to deliver it in their language, and this is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah, who permitted delivering the khutbah in other than Arabic.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.