A Weekend With The Quba Institute – Khatiyb Training Course

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…

14 Replies to “A Weekend With The Quba Institute – Khatiyb Training Course”

  1. Salaams,
    I saw that you started The Sufi Path of Knowledge. I picked it up a while back but then got caught up with work. It is also a bit on the dense side. I read The Sufi Path of Love (on Rumi) years ago which I thoroughly enjoyed. Knowledge is more of a challenge.

    Also about the Friday prayer… have you ever heard the claim that a requirement for a valid Friday prayer is the existence of the khalifate? So some people actually consider jummah optional in these times so even if they go to the mosque on Friday, they will still pray Zuhr.

  2. Someone said this was part of the sunnah. Is this true?

    Well, that depends if you mean sunnah of the Prophet [S] or sunnah of the loud shuyukh of Cairo. As for the former – NO. As for the latter – obviously! 🙂

  3. Salaam alaikum,
    Congratulations on completing the khatiyb training course. I’ve only read about the khutbah from my random fiqh books. Some of the debates are interesting, prayer times for jumuah, whether you can pray before dhuhr.

    I live across from a mosque in Cairo. Every friday we get to hear the Friday khutbah, I enjoy listening to it. Not all the words are clear because of the distortion in the loud speakers, but the imam is always yelling. In fact, all over Egypt the imams scream at all of us believers. Someone said this was part of the sunnah. Is this true? Anyways random question. I don’t remember all that yelling going on in the US.

    Well, the Stanford Islamic society often asks us sisters to write a khutbah. I declined, since I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  4. have you ever heard the claim that a requirement for a valid Friday prayer is the existence of the khalifate?

    Yes – and let’s just say I take a different path. 🙂

    I saw that you started The Sufi Path of Knowledge. I picked it up a while back but then got caught up with work. It is also a bit on the dense side.

    It is a bit dense but very good as are all of Chittick’s works. I am especially fond of Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul. I highly recommend it.

  5. Musa – that’s funny about the cabbies. Man, when you comin’ back out to Philly? We gotta hang at some more pretentious West Philly bohemian cafés.

  6. That’s how everyone talks in Cairo, the merchants, the cab drivers, the minibus touts…except that the cab drivers and minibus touts have less government oversight than the khateebs.

  7. …either that or Ben and Jerry’s. I’ll be there in Late June, early July, insha’Allah.

  8. Abu Noor…, you know, you’re really on a short leash with me. Margari said:

    the imams scream at all of us believers

    Your hadith did not say scream it said his voice rose! Rose! Your eagerness for one-upmanship is quite obvious. But in fact, I did not detract from the spirit of the hadith and was making a jest at people who scream and consider that equal to what the Prophet [S] did. Second of all, I never said anything in terms of “un-Islamic”. Perhaps you should take time to read again. From what I see, the only dangerous person is you! Show me where screaming is a part of the Sunnah in a khut’bah? Let’s get out a qamus like Lisan al-Arab or Mukhtar as-Sihah and examine the words and see if it were screaming! C’mon, man. F’real. You need to do a bit more research.

    I quote the hadith because they do, not because I am a faqih or a commentator on hadith.

    I just had a man come to me last night at the Maghrib prayer, which I missed the first jama’ and upon completing my prayer, made tasliym to the right, to the Imam, and to the left, as is done in the Maliki fiqh. This man, who hardly had two nickels to rub together and smelled as if he might have alcohol on his breath, proceeded to tell me I was innovating in the religion because of the hadith he knew and what his shaykh said! Yo…, I’m getting a bit tired of folks who are steppin’ to me, quite frankly, as if we’re peers. And especially with the last convo you and I had, man…, you really need to do some further research. Your disagreeing with Jackson – sure you can do it. But your statement, in effect, puts you on the same level as him – which you are not! And by your own admission, your debate with professor an-Naim because quite heated. Did you scream at him too? Money…, screamin’ ain’t apart of the Sunnah. Just look in any ol’dictionary and you’ll see a difference between scream and raising of the voice. One will connote a loss of control [are you suggesting the Prophet lost control of himself on the mimbar?] and the other a means of further driving home a point.


  9. Jabir ibn Abdullah said, “When the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) delivered the khutbah, his eyes became red, his voice rose, and his anger increased such that it was like one giving a warning about the enemy and saying, “The enemy is making a morning attack on you and an evening one too’…” (recorded by Imam Muslim).

    I would say it is equally dangerous to go around saying things are “not part of the sunnah” as to go around saying they are “not Islamic,” wouldn’t you?

    Allaah knows best.

    By the way, I used to give khutbah frequently (May Allaah (swt) forgive me for my shortcomings in that) and I would rarely scream at the people, so I am not saying that it is required or anything like that, but I would also never say it is not ‘part of the sunnah’ because it clearly is.

    By the by the way, I am not basing this off my own interpretation of the hadith but off interpretations of scholars and students of knowledge. I quote the hadith because they do, not because I am a faqih or a commentator on hadith. Your actual post is excellent and the points well taken.

  10. Abu Noor – the thing is, some of the comments that you’ve made since we first started dialogging, if they came from someone else – meaning someone that has less intellectual horsepower than you do, it’d be like water down a duck’s back. But precisely because you do have more, I’m a bit more harsh. You’re a lawyer, so analyzing words should be second nature to you and you obviously know the difference between “scream” and “raises voice”. If I seem a bit hard on you, it’s because I think you’re a good guy but you do yourself a disfavor with some of the things you say. But let’s do it better than this. I’m gonna shoot you an e-mail with my number and we should continue this off the record. I am concerned this will become a form of entertainment for people.


  11. Marc,

    As salaamu ‘alaykum,

    I won’t disagree with you again, bro. Obviously I forgot my place. The previous comments are there for all to see. I have no idea what I did that was unacceptable but it’s not worth it to go back and forth.

  12. Salaam alaikum
    Marc, you’re right, these imams aren’t just raising their voices many are shouting, yelling, and often they are screaming. I’ve read somewhere that a non Muslim visiting the country thought that the imams were riling up the believers for jihad. He was scared to go outside after the friday khutbah.

    Musa yes, everybody’s loud in Egypt. But let’s not forget the women. These women go off, screaming at their kids, husbands, merchants, cab drivers, other women. Every other day we hear an argument going on downstairs or outside with at least two people screaming. Most of the arguments are about cars going the wrong way down our one way street. But Thursday nights and friday afternoons are reserved for women screaming at their families and slamming doors of course. I think I’m losing my hearing in this city.

    Also Musa, I’m going to have to shoot you an email about advice for getting my research clearance approved in Egypt. My friend got hers, but she’s doing late Ottoman stuff. My former advisor said that I may run into some problems since I’m working on Africans in Cairo. I’m looking for advise or recommendations of folks to talk to who are interested in these things. I basically need a faculty sponsor attached to an Egyptian research institutions. I can see this will be a long process.

  13. Abu Noor – I am so glad we talked and I want to publicly offer you an apology. I was thoroughly too rough in my rebuttal towards you. It would seem that especially between the two of us, person-to-person conversation is the most beneficial way to dialog [by no means am I saying don’t post comments!]. Anyway, I’m glad we talked and I look forward to engaging with you further.

    Ma’a salaam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.