Dear aspiring Khatib, A little advice…

Dear aspiring Khatib,

Please pay attention to the following issues:

  1. One simple, harsh truth.
    If you cannot recite al-Fatiha, you should not be giving khutba. Concentrate on what is important before trying to teach others.
  2. Just say “Alhamdulillah” and move on.
    If you don’t know the liturgical recitations before the khutba (like khutba al-Haja) then don’t mumble through them at lightning speed. Just say “Alhamdulillah” and move on.
  3. Do not allow your khutba to be Frankenstein’s monster.
    A piece of Hamza Yusuf, a piece of Abdullah Hakim Quick, a piece of Suhaib Webb, a piece of Yasir Qadhi, and a piece of Nouman Ali Khan. It’s horrible. It’s hard to listen to. It’s unoriginal. Be yourself.
  4. Don’t promise special treats and then don’t deliver.
    If you mention something at the beginning of the khutba, then says “Hey I’ll get back to this at the end” then you never do, it leaves a gaping hole in the mind of the listener.
  5. Don’t tell the listener what they are most likely going to do.
    It’s condescending. “Hey I know that after this you won’t remember anything I say.” Well now I won’t. Actually I will. I’ll remember that instead of concentrating on a captivating topic and a stellar delivery, you insulted my intelligence and wasted my time.
  6. Please verify the sources you use.
    No more “There’s a verse in the Quran that says something along the lines…” or “There’s a hadith that means something like…” or for advanced aspiring khatibs “al-Suyuti narrates…” If you are standing on the Minbar, assuming the Prophetic station, don’t betray that by attributing to him lies. Do your homework, or don’t give khutba.
  7. Don’t mumble.
    I can’t stress this enough. Especially when quoting something. If you do quote something, say it clearly, where you got it from, and enunciate. Also, see #6 above. Also, don’t mumble.
  8. Learn the rules of giving a khutba.
    Start here. Actually learn it, just don’t click through.
  9. Stop being self-deprecating.
    The declarations in your khutba of “Oh I am so ignorant and all of you should be giving khutba instead, but oh well here it goes.” make me lose confidence in you. I need to be confident in what you are saying, so that I can leave feeling inspired. Also, See #5 above. Same sentiment applies.
  10. Don’t overreach.
    Remember that uncle that taught you in Sunday school? The one that would say “Eating Turkey is Haram because Kuffar are making fun of Muslims from Turkey!!!” Well, when you overreach and offer your unqualified opinion on what is and is not Islamic in a khutba, you are this generation’s “that uncle.” Seriously. Leave fatwas, broad commentary on social phenomena, and linguistics nuances of the Quran to qualified people that are teaching that in a class.

Take all of these in mind so that your sermons can inspire, uplift, warn, and give glad tidings.

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