The effectiveness of any discourse depends upon the knowledge, personality, method of delivery and credibility of the Khateeb. All Khateebs derive the strength of their speech with references form Quran, Sunnah and Islamic history, but the effectiveness differs from man to man. Though there are exceptions but mostly the majority of Mullah in the village does not enjoy a good status in the society. He is dependent on the people and notables for financial support. Performs fixed religious duties, like leading prayers in mosques, perform religious ceremonies on birth, death, marriage and religious functions like Dua, Khatm e Quran [Quran recitation] etc. He lives upon donations and charity, as rarely some know any other work for living. Some Mullah are practicing Hakeem [treating common diseases with traditional herbal medicines]. Their religious knowledge of Quran and Hadith is limited except memorisation of some verses and few lectures which are repeated again and again. It is too much to expect him to contribute in intellectual and spiritual growth of community in the challenging modern high tech cyber environments making ingress in to far flung villages due to cable and telecom revolution underway.
The overpopulation and lack of resources do not allow the poor to even feed rather than educate their children. the Madaris [Islamic religious seminaries, run on charity] provide free boarding, lodging apart from a career as Imam of mosque. This is considered as a blessing (sawab) and religious duty of offer one or more children in a poor family to attend the Madrissa. The out put of Midaris, is a class, divorced from the society and they produce the religious scholars with myopic world view with particular rigid mind set and outlook. All others 99% Muslims appears to them as sinners, with no religious knowledge and understanding which they think need conversion even by use of coercion or force. The element of Dawah through polite means is almost non existent. However due to their lower social and economic standing they temporarily compromise but as and when the opportunity arise they unleash their forces and venom. The tacit support of Terrori of Takfiri Taliban is living example. Their sermons would have negative effect on the society especially on the youth. The hate speeches mixed with political, social and moral issues can only cause frustration and confusion.
Madrasahs were great seats of learning, they existed as early as the 9th century, but the most famous one was founded in 1057 by the vizier Nizam al-Mulk in Baghdad. The Nizamiyah, devoted to Sunnite learning, served as a model for the establishment of an extensive network of such institutions throughout the eastern Islamic world, especially in Cairo, which had 75 madrasahs, in Damascus, which had 51, and in Aleppo, where the number of madrasahs rose from six to 44 between 1155 and 1260. Important institutions also developed in the Spanish cities of Cordoba, Seville, Toledo,Granada, Murcia, Almería, Valencia, and Cádiz, in western Islam, under the Umayyads. Al-Azhar University at Cairo, Egypt is the chief centre of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world, founded by the Fatimids in 970 C.E with a large public liberary and several colleges. The basic program of studies was, and still is, Islamic law, theology, and the Arabic language. Later the philosophy, medicine and sciences were added to the curriculum. Gradually these subjects got eliminated after having reached climax resulting in decline. The knowledge of din (faith) is useful for success in this as well the next world, while the knowledge of dunya (world) is essential for this world; hence knowledge of din is fundamental. This is the reason that from very beginning the religious and scientific knowledge were combined. The din (faith) and dunya (worldly affairs) were not separate entities. This helped to flourish in knowledge. Thus the scholars have always enjoyed respect in the Islamic societies. The emphasis is on acquisition of useful and beneficial knowledge. [Read more: Medieval Islamic Education System]
The present state of decline in society is due to abandonment of practice of Din Islam, there is lot of theory but not practice. Dawah the actual job of Ulema needs a lot of knowledge and patience, which is neither part of their training nor considered important due to long term effects. Dawah to a young modern mind cannot be based purely on theological knowledge but with the working knowledge of modern science and technology, which is not un Islamic. For the believer Qur’an and Sunnah is the main source of spiritual knowledge with signs of other knowledge, the other source is the knowledge of these branches attained and preserved by humanity over a long period of human history. This knowledge is gained and retained through the intellect endowed to man by Allah at the time of his creation as mentioned at verse 2:31 in Qur’an. In case of a believer, the understanding of ‘signs’ will strengthen his faith, while a non believer (or weak Muslim) will be inclined to fully comprehend the reality of Islam. Qur’an has repeatedly drawn the attention of man towards the signs of God at; 3:190, 6:37,38 & 100, 17:12, 36:41-44, 71-76, 40:80,81, 56:63-67 and also at many other places. Allah says in Qur’an: “He also made subservient to you whatever is between the heavens and the earth; all from Himself. Surely there are signs in this for those who think.”(Qur’an;45:13), “Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an?..”(Qur’an;4:82). Hence it becomes obligatory for the believers (both men and women) to acquire the knowledge of this world along with the religious sciences to understand the signs of Allah and to harness the powers of nature at ‘heaven and earth; made subservient’ to man to derive benefit out of them. Ignoring the knowledge of religious sciences at the cost of other knowledge or vice versa may be against the spirit of Qur’an (45:13,13:3).
Unfortunately most of traditional Muslim scholars lack in modern scholarship. Just to quote one example of Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz (1910–1999). He was a Saudi Arabian Islamic scholar who remained the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia from 1993 until his death in 1999. Many of Ibn Baz's views and rulings are considered controversial (both inside and outside Saudi Arabia), including those relating to cosmology, women's rights, Saudi Arabia's support for the Oslo Accords, and the acceptability of stationing non-Islamic troops in the land of the Two Holy Mosques during and after the Gulf War.
Here are few examples which throw light on the level of scientific knowledge of Grand Mufti. In 1966, when Ibn Baz was vice-president of the Islamic University of Medina, he wrote an article denouncing Riyadh University for teaching the "falsehood" that the earth rotates and orbits the sun. He believed earth to be flat, however bin Baz changed his mind about the earth's flatness after talking to Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Saud who had spent time in a space shuttle flight in 1985. In his 1966 article, ibn Baz did claim that the sun orbited the earth, and that "the earth is fixed and stable. As a result of the publication of his first article, ibn Baz was ridiculed by Egyptian journalists as an example of Saudi primitiveness, and King Faisal was reportedly so angered by the first article that he ordered the destruction of every unsold copy of the two papers that had published it. Western writers subsequently have drawn parallels between their perception of ibn Baz and the trial of Galileo by the Catholic Church in the 16th century. Many Fatwas issued by famous Islamic Seminaries in India and Pakistan also reflect their lack of understanding of modern scientific scholarship.
Our Khateebs are not expected to become scientists overnight but at least must try to acquire working scientific and modern knowledge of other social sciences which should help them to communicate with the modern educated mind. If they can't then at least refrain form commenting on such matters which can make them laughing stock and reduce their credibility of religious knowledge which they are supposed to be knowing.
Clergy is not in Islam, however learned people or ulema, scholars are very much needed, Alim should not be restricted to the knowledge of Deen but also people with knowledge of other sciences are also scholars and one man with both types of knowledge is of great value. there is long list of such Muslim Ulema.
The society has to share the blame for this situation. Every one like his children to be Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, bureaucrats, businessmen etc but not Alim! The best minds do not go to this field which requires the genus minds to comprehend Quran, Hadith and social sciences.
However efforts can be made to improve the quality of present lot of Ulema, the urgent need to reform the morally corrupt society. Following step may taken at local community level and government level:
- Khateebs should be well paid and their living conditions improved.
- Effort be made to open a Maktib school for Quran recitation and religious education. Some are already working, their condition be improved.
- Steps should be taken to improve their education level and intellectual growth, some incentives may be introduced. They may attend courses.
- Instead of making them dependent on community, they should be encouraged to learn some skills for living or to enhance their income.
- Common people should learn to perform normal rituals at birth, death, marriage and other occasions to reduce dependence on professional Molivi. However this should not compromise on the importance of Ulema for Dawah and religious education.
It is observed while many Khateeb utilise Friday Khutba for the religious education of Muslims, there are others who employ it as tool for sectarianism and to promote their political agenda. Instances of foreign funding of some Khateebs have been reported.
Presently Muslim Ummah is facing the menace of terrorism. The terrorists are using the name of Islam to promote their Takfiri ideology of terror, to radicalise the Muslims for recruitment, provision of funds and general support. This fake ideology can be countered through Khutba on Fridays. unfortunately due to their ignorance and lack of knowledge many Khateebs inadvertently become tool in their hands to rather promote terrorists cause rather than countering it. This is the reason we find many sympathizers around. The Muslim societies are divided and confused. While people at local level take some measures the state must respond in effective manner, to educate the Khateebs and people through Counter Narrative. Well articulated response through Friday Sermons will not only socially and spiritually reform the society but help to eliminate terrorism.
8. Terrorism must be rejected and condemned in unambiguous, unequivocal terms, in every Friday Khutba, rather than support in any veiled form. The Dua (supplications) for all those Shuada from Pak Army, law enforcing agencies and civilians who lost their lives as victim or while fighting against terrorists.
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Why Friday Khutbah (Sermons) are ineffective ?References/Links