Second Pillar of Islam:
Importance and Motive Behind ‘Khutba’ of Friday Prayer
In my last article on Friday congregational prayer in this series, we have noticed Muhammad’s struggle to maintain his influence and power over all of his followers. To achieve that he initially forced his followers to say all the five daily prayers at his mosque under his imam-ship. But as he took up arms to engage in jihad wars for subjugate the kafir communities of Arabia, the Muslim community spread far and wide. Under these circumstances, forcing all of his followers, especially those living far away from his house in Medina, to come to his mosque for every prayer became impossible. He, therefore, established the once-in-a-week compulsory Friday prayer, the Jumaa, to be performed in congregation at his mosque.
In continuation on the same topic, let us study the norms Muhammad set for Friday prayers with the sanctification of Allah, and the essence of Muhammad’s khutba sermon. We will also investigate how Muhammad used the weekly Friday prayer occasion to motivate his followers to wage Jihad attacks on non-Muslims in the name of Islam.
NORMS OF PERFORMING JUMAAH (FRIDAY) PRAYER
Muhammad set the following norms regarding Jumaa prayer as part of his plan to maintain his control over all regional Muslim leaders (Imams) and common Muslims. My fellow brothers! Please read it and find out by yourself if there exist any divinity in these norms meant for Friday prayers.
The Friday prayer should be offered in a city, big town or a big village with large congregation at Zuhr time. It should not be performed in a small village.
Khutba, the ceremonial lecture of Jumaa prayer, was the most important part of it, which must be delivered before the prayer. (This was the ultimate reason for the Friday prayer. Muhammad wanted to announce his plans for Jihad raids on the infidels and assign groups of Muslims for those attacks through his Khutba)
Talking, eating, drinking, to reply to any talk, reciting the Qur’an, saying Sunnah and Nafl prayers etc, were not permitted during his Khutba. (So that nobody would be distracted from swallowing his poison delivered through the khutba lecture).
Timing of attending the Friday prayer is very important.
CLEANLINESS IS MEANT FOR FRIDAY ALONE
Discussing the issue of cleanliness in our Muslim communities is a matter of shame. We Muslims are well known for our poor ‘cleanliness’, backwardness and low literacy all around the globe. Our Muslim brothers, who live in Islamic countries, need not feel ashamed of his issue, because they don’t have any idea about other communities on the issue of cleanliness. But it is a matter of great regret that Muslims, who live in non-Muslims countries, also adopt the 7th-century’s style of life in this modern age, when it comes to cleanliness.
In my province in India, it is difficult for Muslims to rent a house, primarily because they don’t keep their houses clean—thanks to their 7th-century way of life and lack of literacy. According to a hadith, Muslims are ordered by Muhammad to take bath at least once in a week before attending the Friday prayer. This would have been the practice of the 7th-century illiterate desert people of Arabia. But some Muslims of this modern age also tend to adopt this unhygienic practice as part of their ‘religious order’, despite the availability of water not being an issue at all. I know many Muslim men, who take bath only on Friday and apply scent (atar) on their cloth to overcome the bad smell as Muhammad did. It is a sunna for us. Similarly, Muslim women in my neighborhood wear Bhurkha or Niqaab so as to hide their week-old dirty cloths sprayed with scents. It may sound incredible today, but it is not an isolated case. It is rather common and very convenient practice among Muslims in my community. Lack of means is not an issue either. Instead, they are the victims of wrong indoctrination of Islam, which is a 7th-century Arab desert lifestyle.
Those cases, I just mentioned, are not from among the poor. Of course, the hygienic practice among our poorer Muslim brethren is even worse. I have noticed the same practice among the Saudis during my 10 years stay there. These days, realities are not the same as those of the 7th-century Arabs. They get 24-hour water supply from the desalination plants. Still, bathing for them is either for Friday prayer or after sexual defilements.
Shameful as it is, one may find it convenient to hiding these facts, but we cannot rescue our Muslim brethren by doing so. Let us now see the Islamic commandments that result in poor cleanliness and unhygienic practice among Muslims.
TAKE BATH ON FRIDAY, APPLY HAIR OIL AND SCENT
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “…It is obligatory for every Muslim that he should take a bath once in seven days, when he should wash his head and body.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/13/21)
Narrated Salman-Al-Farsi: The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “Whoever takes a bath on Friday, purifies himself as much as he can, then uses his (hair) oil or perfumes himself with the scent of his house, …..” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/13/8-10,33)
So, Muhammad obviously bothered about the cleanliness of his followers only on the occasion they would come to close contact with him during the compulsory Jumaa prayer on Fridays at his mosque in Medina. Rest of week, Muslims could keep as unclean as they wished. Even Muhammad himself was known to have unhygienic life-style with sheep smell in his body and lice falling from his head. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 3:49:856 & 4:52:47/ Sahih Muslim 19:4433)
Such mentions of poor cleanliness for Muslims repeated in many places in Islamic scriptures. So, the poor cleanliness practices among Muslims obviously originated from the time of Muhammad and are still followed by Muslims around the globe as their religious custom, i.e. Sunnah of the Prophet.
SAHAABA ROLLING IN THE DUST LIKE BEASTS WAS “PURE” TO MUHAMMAD
When situation demanded, the most unhygienic practice became permitted to Muhammad:
The Messenger of Allah sent me on an errand and I had a seminal emission, but could find no water, and rolled myself in dust just as a beast rolls itself. I came to the Messenger of Allah then and made a mention of that to him and he (the Prophet) said: It was been enough for you to do thus. (SAHIH MUSLIM 3:716)
DON’T BE LATE TO HEAR MY SPEECH. THE ANGELS ARE LISTENING TO IT
The following hadith, though needing careful reading, is self explanatory:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “On every Friday the angels take heir stand at every gate of the mosques to write the names of the people chronologically (i.e. according to the time of their arrival for the Friday prayer and when the Imam sits (on the pulpit) they fold up their scrolls and get ready to listen to the sermon.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 4:54:43)
Then we discover that being early for the Jumaah prayers is especially meritorious (as well as ego-boosting for Mohammed)…
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, “Any person who takes a bath on Friday like the bath of Janaba and then goes for the prayer (in the first hour i.e. early), it is as if he had sacrificed a camel (in Allah’s cause); and whoever goes in the second hour it is as if he had sacrificed a cow; and whoever goes in the third hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a horned ram; and if one goes in the fourth hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a hen; and whoever goes in the fifth hour then it is as if he had offered an egg. When the Imam comes out (i.e. starts delivering the Khutba), the angels present themselves to listen to the Khutba.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2.13.6)
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “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 Jumua prayer) they (i.e. angels) fold their papers and listen to the Khutba.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2.13.51)
FRIDAY KHUDBA: JUST KEEP QUITE AND LISTEN
Narrated Salman-Al-Farsi: The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “……. remains silent while the Imam is delivering the Khutba, his sins in-between the present and the last Friday would be forgiven.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2.13.8)
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, “When the Imam is delivering the Khutba, and you ask your companion to keep quiet and listen, then no doubt you have done an evil act.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2.13.56,33)
PROPHET’S FRIDAY KHUTBA & RESPONSES OF SAHAABA: ‘LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON’
We are told by our mullahs that Sahaaba (Muhammad’s direct disciples) were so superior in all aspects of religion that no Muslim can imitate them to the least of their virtues. Surely, we Muslims of this age won’t imitate them, even if we could! While studying Islamic scriptures, I often feel that most of the tortures and sufferings that we are facing today in the name of Islam are due to the misbehaviors of those Sahaaba with Muhammad and his Islam. But in the following case, Sahaaba are justified for their misbehaviors. Muhammad forced them to attend Friday Khutba to achieve his worldly goals. The virtuous Sahaaba, like our Prophet, had same intentions—greed for wealth.
ATTEND JUMAAH AND ALLAH WILL GRANT YOUR WISHES
The Prophet of Allah said, “There is an hour or a little moment on Friday, which Allah bestowed up on Muslims, that if anything invoking Allah will grant him his request. (Sahih Al-Bukhari/ Vol 7:216A)
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) talked about Friday and said, “There is an hour (opportune time) on Friday and if a Muslim gets it while praying and asks something from Allah, then Allah will definitely meet his demand.” And he (the Prophet) pointed out the shortness of that time with his hands. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2.13.57)
And so it came to pass…
Narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah: The Apostle of Allah was delivering the sermon on Friday in a standing posture when a caravan from Syria arrived, The people flocked towards it till no one was left (with the Prophet) but twelve persons, and it was on this occasion that this verse in regard to Jumu’ah was revealed: “And when they see merchandise or sport, they break away to it and leave thee standing” (Quran al-Jumu’ah 62:9). [Sahih Muslim Hadith 1877]
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: While we were praying (Jumua Khutba & prayer) with the Prophet (p.b.u.h), some camels loaded with food, arrived (from Sham.~ The people diverted their attention towards the camels (and left the mosque), and only twelve persons remained with the Prophet. So this verse was revealed: “But when they see some bargain or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it, and leave you standing” (62.11). (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2.13.58)
I have never seen in my life-time that people walked out of the mosque during Friday Khutba. Probably because of this kind of disobedience toward our beloved Prophet, the Sahaaba were so superior to ordinary Muslims like us. And Allah was always kept vigilant to send new verses to correct Muhammad’s spoiled Sahaaba.
IMPORTANCE OF MUHAMMAD’S ‘DIVINE’ MESSAGES DURING FRIDAY KHUTBA!
The purpose of Muhammad’s pressurizing his followers, residing far away from Medina, to assemble in his mosque for Friday prayer, was purely politically motivated—firstly, to maintain Muhammad’s authority and vigilance over them; secondly, to organize them for waging attacks on non-Muslims to obtain plunder and booty as well as to eliminate his critics and opponents. During prayer assemblies at his mosque, Muhammad gave instructions to his followers to kill his opponents or to wage surprise attacks on non-Muslims for amassing booty. Also during assemblies at his mosque, our prophet trained his followers in horse-riding and archery etc., which has been discussed earlier. Furthermore, booty obtained from the Jihad raids were also distribution at the mosque when his followers assembled there.
FAIRY-TALES ABOUT THE KHUTBA
The following hadiths are a few among such hadiths that explain the nature of Muhammad’s Friday Khutba sermons.
STRENGTH CONSISTS NOT IN ALLAH, BUT IN ARCHERY!
The Messenger of Allah said while delivering a sermon from the pulpit: Prepare to meet them with as much strength as you can afford. Beware, strength consists in archery. Beware, strength consists in archery. Beware, strength consists in archery. (And not with Allah) (SAHIH MUSLIM 20:4711)
HAVE TRUST IN ARROWS, NOT IN ALLAH!
The Messenger of Allah said: Lands shall be thrown open to you and Allah will suffice you against your enemies, but none of you should give up playing with his arrows. (SAHIH MUSLIM 20:4712)
If Allah is “all sufficient”, then what is the need of arrows?
NO DEED IS BETTER THAN JIHAD
Muhammad’s effort to drag his followers to his Medina mosque had ulterior motive of waging sword-Jihad for grabbing the properties, wealth, food grains, territories, and the women of non-Muslim communities if they refused to submit to Islam and join his cult. There is not an iota of divinity in his version of prayers. To Muhammad, the five pillars of Islam were not superior to his real agenda—“Jihad” for obtaining wealth, women and dominion—which is the sixth and most important pillar of Islam. Muhammad himself proclaimed this superiority of Jihad in his hadith:
Narrated Abu Huraira: A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” He replied, “I do not find such a deed.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 4.52.44)
That means the five pillars become irrelevant in comparison with the sixth pillar of Jihad
“EMBRACE JIHAD, ESCAPE THE BURDEN OF PRAYERS & FASTINGS”: MUHAMMAD
Muhammad’s purpose of imposing the torturous 5 prayers and the other mid-night prayer on Muslims benefited him in two different ways. On one hand, it ensure round-the-clock protection to him; on the other, it gave him Jihadists who were fed-up with the pressure of going to his mosque for too many prayers and would like to escape from its burden for anything else. Muhammad himself tells in hadith that prayers and fasting are harder to follow. So, he advised his followers to do Jihad to avoid the torturous burden of prayers and fasting.
The Messenger of Allah was asked: What deed could be an equivalent of Jihad in the way of Allah? He answered: You do not have the strength to do that deed. One who goes out for Jihad is like a person who keeps fasts, stands in prayer constantly, obeying Allah’s behests contained in the verses of the Qur’an, and does not exhibit any lassitude in fasting and prayer until the Mujahid [Soldier of Islam] returns from Jihad in the way of Allah. (SAHIH MUSLIM 20:4636)
The above hadith makes it clear that Muhammad imposed the practice of prayer on Muslims purposely with the intention of pulling the fed-up Muslims toward Jihad. It also states that Jihadists are exempted from praying and fasting.
My dear brethren! After knowing the sanctity of our Friday prayer and the khutba sermon, I’m sure that some of you may have a rethink about the sanctity and usefulness of prayers in Islam. I urge you to spend a few hours a week to study the Holy Scriptures of Islam carefully for understanding Islam fully to see if it is worthwhile wasting so much of our valuable on Islam.
In the final article on prayers, we will discuss about the value and respect that Muhammad had showed towards prayer—the “most important” pillar of Islam.