Delivering a positive, powerful and promising Friday Sermon

The Friday sermon (Khutba) is an important weekly lesson for the Muslim community, the Khatib’s purpose is to remind, revive Islamic teaching and renew the iman of the congregation by explaining the texts of Quran and Hadith by using fresh examples thereby raising audience level of understanding. This purpose is achieved by the Khatib when he addresses the following four needs of the community:

1.To galvanise and unite a diverse Muslim community by defining who they are, giving them sense of belonging and identity

2.To reinforce the moral, social and spiritual values that underpin Muslim community.

3.To paint a picture of a possible and exciting future, here and in the hereafter by raising expectations and making them feel positive about themselves

4. To define the next few steps towards this goal by talking about relevant and timely subjects Stories of Islamic pietism-very motivational, sayings of scholars, Biographies of great people, their lives and stories, these are most common sources of Khutba.

The Khatib aims to engage the listener and make him feel greater than himself capable of great feats

and does not speak down to the listeners, always trying to raise them up! A Speech should be uplifting! This happens when the Khatib Speaks with feelings from bottom of his heart, using striking nouns and adjectives to liven up the speech.

The effectiveness of Khatib depends on three factors

1. Style- eloquence, fluent, speaking, English

2. Authority which depends on the Credentials/knowledge/respect/status in community/experience/knowledge,

3. Community activism, Khatib’s involvement with the community

Some problems with Khutba’s

1. Khutba can be detached from everyday reality particularly if Khatib uses arguments + examples from classical commentaries- without connecting them with contemporary situation. How does he meet the challenge of modernity when interpreting the texts? How well does he relate them to social reality? Different approaches to contextualising the text.

2. Young Brits might see Khutba as an empty rhetoric? How does the congregation make the text relevant to their lives?

3. Don’t give clear message- ready-for application

4. Khatib’s wishful thinking

5. Poorly defined topics could be laughed at by educated members of congregation

Suggestions for improving Khutba

1) Need to develop the area of Juxta posing modern life relations to past examples in such a way that the past examples are relevant to our conduct today.

2) Avoid using a modernist frame work to develop the Khutba than the reverse! E.g. optimism (rather then—)

3) Avoid contradictions and in consistence in the logic of the argument.

4) Use eloquent language.

A Guide for Great Oratory

Being invited to give a Friday Khutba or a talk is a wonderful opportunity to gain influence and promote ones work

Before the speech

1. Analyze the needs and the values of the audience and the purpose of the gathering

2. Limit the talk to outlining and explaining 3 points

3. Prepare a strong introduction and conclusion – this is the time you have the most attention of the audience

4. Use PowerPoint presentations as much as possible

Non verbal communication is very Important

Body language Use hands and arms to make natural open gestures Maintain eye contact with the audience 55%

How you say it lively and animated Speak positively and enthusiastically reflecting a positive frame of mind – passion, sincerity and heart-felt emotions 38%

Content of speech a thoughtfully prepared sermon gives optimism, inspiration and guidance 7%

Thoughts on Sermon

1. Three ingredients of a powerful sermon:

  • Speakers credibility
  • Passion
  • Reason & logic

2. “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing” (Thornes Jefferson)

3. “The object of oratory is not truth alone but persuasion” (Macaulay)

4. “No great improvements are possible in lot of mankind until a great change takes place in… modes of thought” (John Stuart Mill.)

Don’t forget the Purpose of Speech

• To engage the listener and make him feel greater than himself capable of great feats

• Do not speak down to the listeners, try to raise them up! Speech should be uplifting!

• Speak with feelings from bottom of the heart

• Use striking nouns and adjectives to liven up the speech