We Need Quality Khutbahs in Our Mosques

khutba

There was an excellent khutbah (sermon) last week in my local mosque. I looked around to see if everyone was enjoying it just as much as I was and they were! The vast majority of people were really engaged into his talk. Usually most people are not really paying attention. This got me thinking that how great it would be if we had more quality khutbahs in the mosques on a regular basis. The reality is that most khutbahs on Fridays are low quality and it is very difficult to follow the khateeb (speaker). Most Fridays I’m just internally begging the guy to hurry it up and finish so I can go. Afterwards, I can recall little to nothing from what was discussed. I usually end up day dreaming and just delving into my own thoughts during the speech. But it wasn’t like that last week. I was really engaged the whole time. There are a number of reasons why most khateebs give bad quality khutbahs. Following five are the most common ones that I’ve found:

1) English is not their first language – They cannot communicate the message across very well. The listener is lost due to bad grammar, mispronunciation, bad sentence structure, etc. This is not to say that there aren’t some khateebs who give great khutbahs despite English not being their first language. But this is the exception not the rule.

2) They’re not qualified to be speaking – They mix random things up and deliver a khutbah that makes little to no sense and occasionally isn’t even Islamically acceptable.

3) The khutbah is not relevant to the audience – These are khateebs who talk about issues that the vast majority of the audience doesn’t care for because they’re not relevant to their lives. This is why it is ideal that the khateeb be someone who can connect with the culture in which he is giving the khutbah. He shouldn’t be someone who lives in a bubble and is ignorant of what’s going on around him.

4) The khutbah is void of wisdom – This is when a khateeb gives advice in a way which may not be appropriate for the time. Either it is too harsh of an advice or too soft depending on the situation and the topic at hand. The khateeb should be careful and make sure that what he’s saying is not taken either too lightly or too harshly, otherwise, the audience will reject the message. This also includes speaking about issues that the audience is not yet ready for or may find too idealistic. The message should be practical. For example, demanding that people should regularly pray five times a day in the mosque while many may not even be praying regularly in their houses.  A better khutbah would be to talk about the importance and benefits of praying five times a day.

5) The speaker is not built to speak – Public speaking is a form of art and not everyone can do it. I’ve seen very knowledgeable people who cannot give good khutbahs. Some people are just not speakers. They’re not meant for it.

The question is then why do mosques allow this to continue? It’s very simple. There is more demand and less supply. There are so many Friday prayers going on around the country and the mosques are desperate to fill those spots with people willing to give khutbahs but there aren’t enough good quality khateebs available to fill the spots. Most mosques do more than one prayer every Friday plus satellite locations for many of them. If the mosques were to make a good quality khateeb a condition, then you’re not going to be having too many Friday prayers in the country because the supply is too low. So what ends up happening is that mosques will put almost anyone forward as long as they can comfortably talk just to fill the demand of khateebs.

I hope we can have more quality khateebs in the future one day so that they can permanently replace bad quality khateebs. Imagine if we could have good quality khutbahs given each week all across the U.S. It is then, I hope insha’Allah, that more Muslims will get positively influenced and the religion revived among the masses.

Origin of the Idea of Rejecting the Islamic Veil As a Religious Obligation

khimargirls

Following is an excerpt from our much larger essay entitled: Evidences for the Obligation of a Muslim Woman’s Headscarf (Khimar) & Outer Garment (Jilbaab).


If there has always been a consensus over the obligation of a Muslim woman’s headscarf (khimar) and outer garment (jilbaab), then where does the idea of rejecting the Islamic veil as a religious obligation come from among some Muslims? It seems to have two root causes for its existence. First, during the reign of Western imperialism in Muslim lands, they used to look down on the practice of veiling for Muslim women and thought it should be abolished (Campo 2009, 297). Second, some Muslims, who had developed a sort of inferiority complex towards the West, thought it would be wise to adopt Western ideals in order to achieve the same success as their colonial rulers (Ahmed 1992, 148). Thus, it was an imported idea brought in Muslim lands from the outside in the 19th and 20th centuries.
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Covering the Head for Women in Traditions Other Than Islam

Following is an excerpt from our much larger essay entitled: Evidences for the Obligation of a Muslim Woman’s Headscarf (Khimar) & Outer Garment (Jilbaab).


Today, the idea of covering the head for women has become associated exclusively with Islam. It is seen as something which is derogatory and only practiced within Islam. However, throughout history many other civilizations also practiced this concept in one form or another. It is only post-Renaissance that this action has gradually become abandoned among women.

headdress

A headdress in 15th century Europe

In France, from 1485-1510, covering the head was a show of virtue and honor. In fact, “married women’s headdresses completely concealed their hair through most of the second half of the 15th century” (Leventon 2008, 102). In England, the practice of “completely covering the woman’s head was wholeheartedly adopted” (Leventon 2008, 316). Up until the late 13th century, it was considered immoral and shocking to wear a hairnet alone without some sort of ribbon or barbette around the head to go along with it, in addition, some women also wore veils (Cosgrave 2000, 113). In Italy, “women often wore turbans” throughout the 15th and 16th centuries (Cosgrave 2000, 140). In some orders, during this period, female widows wore “head-rail covering the hair, ears and neck” in addition to a veil during daytime (Boucher 1966, 187). The only thing changed this was the Renaissance in northern Europe when women started to show “occasional glimpse of hair” (Leventon 2008, 102). Hence, some form of covering the head for women was seen as appropriate for most European cultures until the Renaissance. This was especially true for married women.
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Raising Righteous Children – Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah

righteous children

Source: Tuhfah Al-Mawdud by Ibn Qayyim – P. 158-161 and P. 168-171

Allah Says in the Qur’an [meaning of which is], “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones” [Qur’an 66:6]. Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Teach them [the religion] and teach them good manners.” Al-Hasan said, “Command them to obey Allah and teach them goodness.”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is reported to have said, “Command your children to pray when they reach the age of seven. Spank them [1] for [not offering] it when they are ten and separate them in their beds [2]” [Abu Dawud].

The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “Inspire your children’s first words to be La ilaha illa Allah [there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah] and prompt them with it during death” [Al-Hakim]

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is reported to have said, “One of you teaching good manners to his child is better for him than giving half a sa’a in charity everyday to the poor” [Tabrani].

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was asked, “O’ Messenger of Allah, we know the right of the father but what is the right of the child?” He (pbuh) responded, “That he be given a good name and be taught good manners” [Bayhaqi]. Sufyan Al-Thawri said, “A person should compel his child to seek [knowledge of] hadith because he is responsible for him. Whoever wants the worldly life [through knowledge of hadith], then he will find it and whoever wants the afterlife, then he will find it.” Ibn Umar said, “Teach good manners to your child because you are responsible for him and he is responsible for being dutiful and obedient to you.”
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Why Muslim Parents Should Consider Homeschooling

Many parents today are opting out for homeschooling rather than sending their children to public schools. Students in homeschooling environment enjoy more freedom, creativity, have better learning experience, and tend to do better academically than their public school counterparts. Parents are also choosing homeschooling due to fear of bullying, peer pressure, bad influences, and a low quality of education in public schools.

There is an estimate of 2 million children learning from homeschooling today in the U.S. It is growing more and more popular every year “with a growth rate of 7 to 15 percent per year” (Shaw). Parents are realizing that it is perhaps the best method to instill proper knowledge and manners into their children. Children learn better when they are given individual attention but this is not possible when they are surrounded by 30 other students who also require attention. What ends up happening is that the teacher ignores the individual needs of the children because it is not possible for the instructor to give individual attention to all 30 kids in the classroom. The result is that many kids get left behind in learning and are not properly able to comprehend the material. “Homeschooling and individualized instruction means that a student gets the attention they need and the assistance they need to master the skills required before moving on to the next skill” (Farr). One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that children are able to learn at their own pace. They are not bombarded with rushed instructions from their teachers who only want to get through the curriculum whether their students follow through or not.
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