Imams should be free to speak their mind

Imams (Muslim clerics) are getting arrested in Bangladesh for refusing to read government issued Khutba (sermon)!

I remember one Friday one of the directors of the Mosques in London where I lead Friday prayers requested that I should submit to him my sermon in advance. I arrived with the copy of my speech and gave it to him. He told me to wait while he checked through the text. He took a pen and crossed off various parts of my speech. He did not approve of all my points. When he had finished editing my speech he handed the pages back to me.

I told him that he could keep the speech as it was printed for him. I had the speech in my memory and I was planning to deliver it without the notes. I thanked him politely, greeted him nicely and I walked away from his office. As I was leaving the office I could see his face turning pale in disbelief, red in anger and then frowning with frustration.

I took up my position at the pulpit and delivered my sermon as I had planned originally. It didn’t please the management but it was an important message the congregation needed to hear. The purpose of Friday sermon is to address issues that concern people, provide spiritual and practical solutions to the problems and uplift people’s spirit with hope and aspirations.

The Imam should speak in the local language of the people so that they could understand. I have always believed that Imams should be free to speak their mind. I would simply resign if I were given a gagging order. As an Imam I am already given clear and defined parameters by God and His messenger and as long as I abide by those principles no human being should have the right to silence my right to free speech. That is what I have done for the last 25 years and I pray I can continue doing this until I breath my last breathe.

In today’s Bangladesh, the current secular fundamentalist government of Hasina is writing the religious speeches for the Friday prayer sermons to be read out by its many “scholars for dollars” across the country and if you dissent you risk being arrested, harassed and sacked from your job. If I were in Bangladesh I would have been arrested long time ago for speaking the truth. Under this monstrous government and its murderous party I would have been lynched.

These militant secular fundamentalists have no shame in Bangladesh. They are trying to spin a brilliant web of lies and deceit in the eyes of the international community by blaming the 95% of the population who are religiously minded as terrorists. If an Imam speaks his mind about the political murder and mayhem that has gripped the country he is labelled as a terrorist and anyone who opposes their foul status quo gets arrested, abducted, disappeared, tortured and even killed in the line of crossfire while the international community turns a blind eye.

These are the same tricks successive military junta and despots of Egypt and Algeria have used against its own people for decades. Bangladeshi government has simply borrowed the same subjugation techniques to terrorise its own citizens. However, in the mean time they have been awarded international aid, monetary incentives, red carpet welcome, access to intelligence, military hardware, security training and specialist consultancy by various western backed agencies and governments.

Freedom of Imams to think, speak and explore the deeper theological and philosophical issues of Islam is essential to its culture of organic contextualised jurisprudence. It is paramount to the development of knowledge and training of local people to become more conscientious citizens. Their role is vital is teaching people the need to becoming economically independent, to strive for excellence, to become more socially and spiritually productive and most importantly to become ambassadors of peace and justice in the world. True Imams play moderating role if given the freedom and resources.

Bangladeshi government, just like the Egyptian dictator Sisi, is afraid of people thinking for themselves. They are afraid of educated masses who also competent and confident with their faith. They are happy to have puppet Imams who would proliferate their political message of madness. They would rather have people immerse in deep ignorance of their religion and practice superstitious mumbo jumbo including veneration of saints, graves and relics.

Hasina has an army of Imams who would be happy to sell their soul for a bit of grace from their paymasters. She has cleverly trained enough secular Imams who would join her secular fundamentalist intellectuals to socially engineer religionless in Bangladesh. She wishes to create a secular paradise in Bangladesh and banish any religious sentiments to hell of her own making.

I have bad news for Hasina. Many foolish and arrogant people have tried to silence genuine Imams in the past, Islam, as a religion did not recede, if anything, the reverse happened. Today Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Hasina and her cronies can create a smokescreen, arrest, and torture and execute as many Imams as her bloodthirsty heinous demand. The truth is Islam will remain a religion for peace and justice in the world and it will continue to grow attracting people who are truly looking for inner contentment and balance.


Q&A: Missing the Friday Prayer in the West Because of Work

Missing the Friday Prayer in the West Because of Work — Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam


I have a brother who is contemplating a career change primarily because he would not be able to hold a teaching position at the elementary school level if he had to leave every week for Jumu?a. I have apparently been told that the Syrian Hanafi position is that Jumu?a is not mandatory in the West because there is no Muslim ruler or established Islamic authority.


The position of the mainstream and majority of scholars, both from the Subcontinent and the Arab world, is that the condition of having a Muslim ruler sultan in order to establish the Friday prayer is not a condition in of itself; rather, a means to ensure that there is no dispute regarding the establishment of the Friday prayer.

The renowned Hanafi Jurist faqih, Imam al-Kasani Allah have mercy on him explains in his Bada?i al-Sana?i that the condition of having the Sultan?s permission is to avoid any possible disputes and arguments, because the Friday jumu?a prayer is offered in a large congregating and to lead such a massive congregation in prayer is indeed a great privilege; hence, it may lead those who like to be in the limelight into competing and arguing with one another to acquire the post of leading the Friday prayer. For this reason, appointing the right person to lead the Friday prayer was left to the discretion of the Sultan, so that he may appoint whomever he feels fit for this esteemed position. As a result, there would be no dispute, for others would be forced into obeying the Sultan and may even fear his punishment. Bada?i al-Sana?i, 1/261

He further states that the above is when the Sultan or his representative is present. However, if the Sultan was not able to attend for one reason or another and the time of Jumu?a Salat came in, then there is nothing wrong in the congregation uniting in the appointment of an Imam and praying behind him. This is supported by what Imam Muhammad has narrated that when Sayyiduna Uthman Allah be pleased with him was surrounded by the enemies, people appointed Sayyiduna Ali Allah be pleased with him to lead them in the Friday prayer. ibid

In light of the above explanation and in light of the explanation given by many other jurists, it is not a condition of the Friday prayer that it be performed in a Muslim land. In the absence of a Sultan or a Muslim ruler, it is completely permissible for the Muslims to choose someone to lead the Friday prayer and such a Friday prayer would be considered valid.

When the Friday prayer is considered valid, it becomes obligatory upon each and every Muslim male to attend the prayer unless there is a dire and genuine excuse. Missing the Friday prayer without a legally accepted excuse would be extremely sinful.

Allah Most High says:

?O you who believe! When the call for Friday prayer is made, hasten towards the remembrance of Allah Prayer and Khutba and leave all transactions. This is best for you if you know.?
— Sura al-Jumu?a, V: 9

The above is the position of most contemporary Ulama. What you have been told regarding the Syrian Hanafi position, it is incorrect; rather, many top Syrian Ulama concur with the position of the Subcontinent Fuqaha, in that the Friday prayer is obligatory even in the West. I myself once heard Shaykh Muhammad Sa?id Ramadhan al-Buti Allah preserve him refuting quite vigorously the isolated position of Jumu?a not being obligatory in the West.

Hence, your brother will be doing the right thing by looking for an alternative job if he is unable to offer his Jumu?a prayer at his current post. It will not be permitted to take up a career where one is regularly unable to offer one?s Friday prayer, even in the West.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

via Missing the Friday Prayer in the West Because of Work.

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Friday Khutabh (16 January 2009): The Outcome of Zulm Oppression by Imam Zia ul Haque

  • This khutbah details how Allah SWT will deal with oppressors on the Day of Judgment and in this world, and how the oppressed can help themselves by getting closer to Allah SWT.
  • Very important to listen to this khutbah because of current events in the world.

via The Outcome of Zulm Oppression « Imam Zia ul Haque?s Lectures.

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Q & A: How much do you need to listen for your Friday prayer to be valid?

QA: How much do you need to listen for your Friday prayer to be valid?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Q: How much of Friday Khutbah do you need to listen to for your Friday prayer to be valid

bismi-llāhi ar-raḥmāni ar-raḥīmi

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

1. Attending the khutba is a necessary duty, and it is sinful to be late for the khutba. It is necessary, too, to take the means to be able to attend the khutba in full; and anything that delays one’s attendance of the khutba–even an otherwise praiseworthy matter such as a sunna ghusl for Friday–is interdicted, because of the Divine Command, “… if the call to prayer is given on Friday, then hasten to the remembrance of Allah [f: namely, the khutba] and leave your trade.” [Qur’an]

2. However, the validity of one’s Friday prayer itself is not contingent upon attending the khutba. Rather, one’s Friday prayer itself is valid and counts even if one joined the congregation at the very end.

[Ref: Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Source: SunniPath

Friday Khutbah (12-Jan-2007): Light & Darkness

“The person who takes a bath then comes to the group prayer (Friday Jummah/Khutbah), then offers the prayer that was destined for him, and then keeps silent till the Imam finishes the sermon, and then prays along with him, his sins between that time and the next Friday would be forgiven, and even of three days more” (Reported in Sahih Muslim, with similar hadiths in Abu Dawood,Ibn Majah, and Ahmad bin Hanbal).

â??When it is a Friday, the Angels stand at the gate of the mosque and keep on writing the names of the persons coming to the mosque in succession according to their arrivals. The example of the one who enters the mosque in the earliest hour is that of one offering a camel (in sacrifice). The one coming next is like one offering a cow and then a ram and then a chicken and then an egg respectively. When the Imam comes out (for Jummah prayer) the Angels fold their papers and listen to the Khutba. (Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim)

â??Whosoever recites Surah Al-Kahf on Friday will have a light illuminated for him between the two Fridaysâ? (Narrated by Nasaâ??i Bayhaqi & others)

Anyway….Subhan Allah the Khutbah today, as always was very good..very informative. The Imam talked about the concept of light and darkness (in the Qur’an), and how it applies to our lives as Muslims, both in this dunya, and in the Hereafter. In Surat An-Nur it’s described:

“…Light upon Light! Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of Everything (24:35).”

“Or [the state of a disbeliever] is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light (24:40).”

This concept of light and darkness can be viewed as Heaven and Hell, it can be viewed as guidance and misguidance, or Success with Allah verses ‘success’ with shaytan. There are many ways to look at it, but the bottom line for us as Muslims, is to strive in Allah’s Cause, and reach for the light. How unlucky we’d be if we were (or are) among those who are in the darkness. SO, what can we do to stay away from this darkness? the Imam said foremost: let not shaytan influence you. You can choose to be amongst those who Iblis influences, or you can be amongst those who follow the Word of Allah [swt]:

“(Iblis) said: “By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, Except Your chosen slaves amongst them (i.e. faithful, obedient, true believers of Islamic Monotheism) (38:82-83)”

“(Iblis) said: “See this one whom You have honoured above me, if You give me respite to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few! (17:62)”

“(Iblis) said: “Because you have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. not be dutiful to Allah Ta’aala) (7:16-17).”

Allah has a plan for us all, and if we are amongst those chosen to stay in the Path of Allah, then that’s what will happen. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have to work for it though, because shaytan still has the power to influence those who forget about Allah. Anything associated with Shaytan is definitely NOT good for us as Muslims. If we associate ourselves with Haraam things or situations, then we are associating ourselves with shaytan…if we associate ourselves with the disbelievers, then we are associating ourselves with shaytan. The Qur’an clearly tells us to stay away from these things and these types of people, yet we still (not excluding myself) continue on in this manner. I find this ayat to be EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!::

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya (friends, protectors, helpers) they are but Auliya of each other. And if any amongst you take them (as Auliya), then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those pople who are the Zalimun (5:51).”

It is stated SO clearly, that I find it impossible to disregard the message. I know how hard it is to understand or apply it to our lives (especially since many of us live in a place dominated by non-Muslims). I feel it personally, especially since my own blood family is Christian. My mother, who converted from Christianity, has a relgious Christian family. My own half brother and half sister are Christians (my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, neices, etc.) I love them very much, and it’s hard to know that I cannot change their beliefs. Also, my friends….the majority of them are non-Muslims, so what am I to do in that situation? I don’t think I can completely disregard all of them, but I can just try my best to keep these relationships very basic. What is most important to me, is what Allah Commands, and He knows what is best for all of us. I guess the message is not to let this life get the best of you. Ask Allah to always make you remember Him, and to remind you of what your purpose in this life is (that is to worship Him Alone, and to spread the Word of Islam in a manner that pleases Allah). Once again, easier said than done, but as Muslims, I think it’s so important that we stay close together–this way we’re not influenced by the Mushrikun, and that we become more knowledgeable, and worship Allah in a more perfect manner. If our Ummah was united, I think it would be easier to apply the teachings of Islam to our lives, because we would only be surrounded by other Muslims who would be trying to do the same thing. It’s hard…but of course, Allah did not intend that we lead an easy life, and enter Paradise just like that. This is our calling..our Jihad: to live life in accordance to the teachings of Islam, no matter how many obstacles stand in our way, and no matter how impossible it may seem. Also, we can’t just pick and choose the parts that we feel apply to our lives. If we submit ourselves as Muslims, we have to submit completely and whole heartedly–submit our entire self: mind, body and soul, and live our lives exactly how Allah has prescribed for us. It may take time to do that, but we should all be on that road, attempting to change our lives–tweak out the bad and find goodness in Islam and Allah’s Straight Path Insha Allah.

Ameen Ya Raab

source: halabissa‘s journal