The last several weeks have been tough ones for the Muslim community here in Philadelphia. With the embarrassing letdown of the bank robbery scandal, many Muslims have been left in a state of bewilderment, angst, anger and confusion. I cannot say that I am not myself afflicted with some of these feelings. But there is always a silver lining. I had the pleasure to spend my weekend with Imam Anwar Muhaimin, partaking in the khatiyb training course. Imam Anwar continues to amaze me as he slowly unfolds the vast array of knowledge he has at his disposal. And as a teacher, you could not have a finer instructor. In fact, I would highly recommend two things: 1) if anyone is involved in giving the khut’bah for the Friday Prayer, I highly recommend the course to both newbies and oldies. 2) A condensed class or halaqah be given, distilled down into a one- or two-hour lecture. It was highly informative and I think it would be good for even lay members and women [meaning those who won’t ever give a khut’bah], allowing people to have a greater depth and appreciation of the significance of the Friday Prayer.
And it is with appreciation and admiration I will continue with. I approached the class as one who used to give halaqas as well as a frequent public speaker. I [wrongly!] assumed it would have a similar feeling. Just get the vernacular down and I’d be on my way. I couldn’t have been more off course! In a beneficial but amusing way, at the end of the second day, all of us participants were given an opportunity to deliver a short, sample khut’bah that we had to write up. Being full of bravado I happily volunteered to go first. As soon as my foot hit the minbar though, a feeling came over me; something in between fear and awe. And this was with just ten people! Words that I’ve said a hundred times over in Arabic suddenly stumbled clumsily off my lips. My tongue felt like it swelled and I couldn’t think straight. My notes were right in front of me and I rushed through everything. My khut’bah was only six minutes but halfway through, I was sweating, as were many of the other participants. We all laughed at each other and had a great time. Imam Anwar in particular seemed amused as we all went up with one feeling and came down with another.
I won’t delve into particulars of what we talked about but some generalities were of course some usuwli points relating to the establishment of the Jumu’ah Prayer. What are its basic requirements and so forth. I leave out the particulars because I believe you should get these from someone like Imam Anwar – a trained and tested Imam. The Imam also provided us with guidelines with how to write and conduct our khut’bah as well as some historical facts surrounding the khut’bah and how the mimbar has been used in the past – both in positive and negative ways, to impart to us the great responsibility one has when delivering a khut’bah.
In the end, I can see that I have been given a new level of respect for anyone that gets up on the minbar. It is an intimidation and a great responsibility. It has also given me greater insight as to what should be coming from the mimbar – I have been critical of some folks in the past for things that have been said on the minbar, and I feel I can tailor those critiques now from a more experienced and balanced perspective.
May Allah reward Imam Anwar for taking his precious time to educate us and may He increase him in it. Amin.
My thanks to all who participated. It was great to have the feeling of suhbah [companionship] once again.
Allah grant us success.
P.S. – khatiyb sounds awfully close to khalifah. Do you think that I…