Elevating the Friday Sermon
By Hind Al-Abadleh
(June 18, 2009) – For most Muslims, Friday is not only the last work day in a given week, but a much anticipated day when a visit to the masjid (mosque) for Friday prayers means spiritual re-charging and fulfillment of a religious obligation on believing men.
Yet, a growing number of Muslims who regularly attend Friday prayers and listen to the khutbas express their dissatisfaction with the abilities of traditionally trained Imams in addressing contemporary issues and challenges facing Muslim communities in Canada (Nasir, 2009).
Muslims from all walks of life listen attentively to topics presented during Friday sermons, which they hope to take home for implementation in their every day lives.
Naturally, Imams would choose topics that they are most comfortable with and which they feel are important.
Given the high expectations Muslims place on the position of the Imam, the topics he presents, and its relevance to their personal and communal lives, members of the community should be proactive in offering feedback and expertise to aid the Imam in accomplishing his weekly task.
We live in an era where almost every masjid in Canada has a website.
Muslims who attend Friday prayers should be given the opportunity to vote online on the topics of Friday sermons.
A detailed schedule of the topic, name of person to deliver the khutba (for masjids with rotating khateebs), and also references used to write the sermons can be used to engage the community at large in the process of preparing the Friday sermons.
I would also suggest that people who attend Friday prayers be encouraged to provide feedback on the sermons they hear and any suggestions for improvements in the future.
I think using masjids’ websites for that purpose will encourage inclusiveness of males and females in the community, especially the latter, since they rarely even see the person who delivers the sermons on Friday.
As a highly educated religious population in Canada, Muslim women and men should actively shift their attitudes from complaining to taking action and claiming ownership of the wide range of services their local mosques provide.
Topics presented in Friday sermons are no exception, and a “bottom-up” approach is needed for a more intellectually-fulfilling educational experience on Fridays.
Nasir, M. Our Imam Problem, IQRA, (May 22, 2009), http://iqra.ca/?p=68.
I would like to thank members of the Muslim Presence Reading Circle for stimulating discussion on the topic of this article.
Dr. Hind Al-Abadleh is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Wilfrid Laurier University. She could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org