MCC Khateeb Guidelines

Preamble

We are grateful to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) for allowing Muslim Community Center – East Bay (MCC East Bay) to host dedicated Khateebs at our center. Throughout the years, our Khateebs have inspired hundreds of men, women, and children to love Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). We ask Allah to bless you (the Khateeb) and your family for your dedication to His cause.

It is no secret that Jumu’ah salah is the single-most crucial communal ritual that has been legislated to draw us nearer to our Lord. When performed correctly, it has the potential to be the most significant catalyst for Godliness (rabbaniyyah) in a society.

Organizing Jumu’ah and delivering khutbah in Western countries presents a set of unique challenges. Our audience is highly diverse in their culture, piety, and religious sensibilities. The “aura” of Islam is foreign to many of the attendees, particularly second-generation Muslims, which means that aside from the 30-minute Jumu’ah, there is likely no exposure to a spiritual environment. The Khateebs are often volunteers who are strapped for time and resources and, just like other attendees, need to rush back to work after delivering Khutbah. Finally, the diverse number of Khateebs makes coordination of messaging difficult.

This document is a humble attempt at providing a set of guidelines that will, with the help of Allah, give a framework for dealing with some of the challenges listed above. We ask Allah to grant us purity and tawfiq.

Overview of Document

The purpose of this document is to outline the procedures and guidelines for delivering sermons at MCC. In addition to outlining the overall tenets, this document covers guidelines on jurisprudence, presentation, content, participant interaction, clothes, and length. All Khateebs will be required to abide by the operating procedures outlined in this document. MCC Events & Religious Committees request that Khateebs comply with these guidelines to be eligible for delivering khutbahs at MCC-organized Jummahs.

About Muslim Community Center

As an MCC Khateeb, you are acting as a representative of the organization. Understanding the vision, mission, and core values will be necessary to our Khateebs in understanding the direction of the organization and the audience who attends the Jumuah.

Our vision is to inspire every East Bay Muslim to live Islam holistically together. Our mission is to nurture spiritual excellence within families by offering purposeful programs and services in an uplifting and inclusive environment.

Our Core Values:

  1. IHSAAN Striving for spiritual excellence and providing the best quality care, programs, and services that are purposeful and meaningful;
  2. INCLUSIVENESS Providing a welcoming and spiritually uplifting environment for all community members, particularly our elders, youth, and sisters;
  3. INTEGRITY Leading with the ethics demanded by our faith in our relationships, work, and finances;
  4. EMPOWERING Promoting ownership, championing personal development, and elevating others to lead;
  5. CARING Adhering to the Prophetic model of caring for the needs of our community members (individuals and families) and;
  6. TEAMWORK Working together to enjoin the good is better than working alone.

How the MCC Jumu’ah Looks

This is how the first Jumu’ah prayer service with approximate timings goes. It is similar to the second (2:30 p.m.) and third youth services (3:40 p.m.):

  • At about 1:15 p.m., a muezzin calls the athan, and worshipers perform his and her Sunnah prayer.
  • At about 1:29 p.m. (March to November), the Khateeb greets the congregation with an Assalamu Alaikum, and a muezzin calls the second athan.
  • At about 1:50 p.m., the Khateeb finishes his sermon (the first English Khutabah and second Khutbah Arabic and/or English Khutbah).
  • At about 1:52 p.m., a muezzin calls the Iqamah for prayers, and the Khateeb leads worshipers in worship.
  • At about 1:55 p.m., a representative from MCC makes post-prayer announcements with the masjid and community happenings, followed by community duas for those in the congregation who passed or have been ill since the prior Jumu’ah.
  • At about 2 p.m., the congregation begins leaving the Prayer Hall, and staff and volunteers prepare for the following prayer Jumu’ah service.

This is an example of how a Jumu’ah at MCC looks:

Khutbah Tenets

  1. Inclusive The Khutbah content and presentation style should accommodate the different age ranges, genders, cultures, and education levels present. This does not mean that the content of the Khutbah is always prepared for the least common denominator; however, it does mean that the thesis of the presentation and supporting evidence is presented in a way that accommodates everyone present at their wavelength.
  2. Spiritually Uplifting The Khutbah should always be spiritually uplifting. The Khateeb should not reprimand or make the audience feel worthless. When delivering a Khutbah that requires tarhib (being firm), the Khateeb should strive to give the audience a way out, i.e., via repentance, etc.
  3. Timely The Khutbah should be no longer than the expected time slot of the Khutbah. The current guideline is that the Khutbah and Salah combined should be between 20 and 30 minutes.

Guidelines

  1. Jurisprudence of the Khutbah

The following section does not cover all the jurisprudential matters of a Khutbah, only the necessary ones to call out. For the sake of brevity, evidence of each position is only mentioned when necessary.

1.1         The khutbah should be delivered in the English language. Only the arkan (pillars) should be mentioned in Arabic. This is the authorized mu’tamad view of the Shafi’i school and an opinion from Imam Abu Hanifah that MCC has adopted.

1.2         The following arkan of the Khutbah, adopted from the Shafi’ madhab as it is the most comprehensive and inclusive of the other madhahib, should be recited in Arabic during the Khutbah:

  • To stand in both Khutbahs.
  • To sit between the two Khutbahs.
  • Praising Allah in both Khutbahs.
  • Salah upon the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in both Khutbahs
  • Enjoining taqwa (God consciousness) or general advice in both the Khuṭbahs.
  • Recitation of one verse of the Qur’an in one of the Khuṭbahs.
  • To make dua for the believers in the second Khutbah.

1.3        Multiple Khutbahs can be scheduled in the same space for a well-established hajah (need), identified by the Religious Committee of MCC in consultation with the leadership team and trusted scholars.

1.4        The Khateeb can deliver multiple khutbahs in the same location.

1.5        The Khateeb should only lead one prayer when delivering multiple khutbahs.

1.6        The timing of the Khutbah is from the Zawal until Asr, according to the Hanafi school. Scheduling a Khutbah before the Zawal (in accordance with the Hanbali school) or after Asr (in accordance with the Maliki school) should only be done for a proven hajah (need) by the Religious Committee of MCC in consultation with the leadership team and trusted scholars.

1.7        The Imam can lead the prayer according to any valid Sunni school of thought.

1.8        The Imam should be able to recite al-Fatihah with proper makharij (pronunciation). Deference to another reciter should be given to a Hifz teacher or Imam present if the Khateeb struggles with recitation.

Content and Presentation of the Khutbah

2.1        The Khateeb should accommodate children in the audience. MCC welcomes our young children and aims to train them to love the Salah. This comes with occasional inconveniences of noise and disturbances. The Khateeb tolerates the noises if they are occasional. In the rare circumstances that it becomes necessary to advise to be quiet, the Khateeb only reminds gently in an understanding tone.

2.2        The Khutbah topic shall be universally applicable. This is required in order for a khutbah to be spiritually uplifting and inclusive (see tenets). A universally applicable khutbah may apply to everyone listening, often around the core elements of the deen (faith), such as the various elements of Imanakhlaq, and/or tazkiyah. Current affairs may be used only for the purpose of highlighting the core universal aspect, not as a standalone topic. For example, if the Khateeb is discussing a timely injustice in Palestine, he should frame the Khutbah around a universal concept like oppression, justice, etc., as opposed to a political analysis of Israel, Palestine, and the surrounding political factions.

2.3        The Khutbah topic shall not be divisive. Topics that can be divisive should be avoided. The Khateeb should avoid sectarian terms such as “Salafī,” “Ṣufī,” or “liberal Muslims” because the Friday sermon is meant to gather all Muslims and unite their hearts in mutual love and piety.

2.4.        The Khutbah topic shall not be controversial. A controversial topic requires discussion to be fruitful. Controversial topics are necessary to address; however, the khutbah does not lend itself as an effective medium where attendees may have a productive discussion. Controversial topics include political discourses, taking stances on an issue with a valid difference of opinion (i.e., Khutbah on the necessity of praying 20 rakats for tarawih) or an issue that requires a great deal of sensitivity due to societal currents (i.e., the role of women in society or rapidly-evolving LGBTQ+ trends).

2.5        Topics related to communal jurisprudence and organizational matters should only be delivered by the appointed MCC designee. This includes but is not limited to, topics such as moonsighting, timing of prayers, and leadership decisions.

2.6        Topics related to individual jurisprudence should only be delivered after formally discussing with the appointed MCC contact. This includes all jurisprudential matters related to ibadat (actions of worship) or mua’amalat (transactions and relationships).

2.7.1        The Khateeb should adequately translate all Arabic terms with the aid of a formal translation.

2.7.2        The Khateeb should elucidate all jargon used in the Khutbah (i.e., terms such as Hadith Qudsi, umm al-mumineen, etc. should be explained).

2.7.3        The Khateeb should avoid generalities such as “as you all know,” “everyone does this,” etc.

2.8        The Khateeb should dress with the appropriate level of formality suitable for the Khutbah as customarily understood. Appropriate dress includes traditional attire, a suit, or business casual clothing. Casual attire such as sweat pants or t-shirts and unkempt wrinkled clothes are not considered appropriate.

2.9        The combination of the Khutbah and Salah should be no longer than the expected time slot of the Khutbah. The current guideline is that the Khutbah and Salah combined should be between 20 and 30 minutes maximum. The Khateeb should adjust his Khutbah length and/or Salah in the case of unexpected circumstances, such as being late and/or A/V difficulties.

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