Lesson For Khateebs from #CharlieHebdo

By Omar Usman

One of the toughest things for those who are in the position of “I give khutbah regularly even though I am not a scholar/imam/shaykh,” is having to address the congregation when issues like this are going on. This has happened to me on multiple occasions – the Danish cartoons, the movie about the Prophet (s), Arab Spring, Gaza, Ferguson, humanitarian crises, and all types of other events.

The conundrum is essentially this: The people come looking for guidance and perspective from a religious perspective. The demographic of khateebs I described (like myself) also want that exact same perspective, but are now in a position to have to deliver it. Do we just ignore it all together and risk being “irrelevant” by giving an evergreen khutbah on patience/forgiveness/taqwa/etc.? Or push to find a way to speak about the topic?

There are two solutions to this problem.

Solution #1: Have a group of peers that are in the same boat. In Khateeb Workshop we continually emphasize the need of having small mastermind groups. In my case, we have a group of just under 10 people who are regular khateebs. Among them are a couple of shaykhs/imams, but the majority is the demographic described above. We consider it a peer group because everyone in there has a minimum of 5 years as a regular khateeb.

This past Thursday/Friday, we began emailing each other about how to speak on this issue. This collaboration helped come up with a way to speak to the topic in a relevant manner, that tried to provide perspective, but also ensured that we did not overstep our bounds in speaking about something we are not qualified to talk about. An example of this is refining our talking points from the perspective of what each Muslim needs to do as opposed to providing political commentary (no matter how tempting) on the issue that would be better reserved for someone who actually has expertise in Political or Social sciences.

Solution #2: Study the masters.

This builds on another theme that we instill in Khateeb Workshop which is to learn from the best. Although I can’t reach out to a dozen imams to see how they were going to address the topic – I can go back a few days after and see the recordings of their khutbahs on this subject. This enables a “regular khateeb” to crystallize and understand the important talking points and perspectives that should be imparted in these types of situations. So next time there is a pressing issue that should be addressed, you are much further ahead in your preparation process and know what you need to do.

Here are a few khutbahs addressing what happened-

Condemning the Charlie Hebdo Attack & Respecting Prophet Muhammad ~ Dr. Yasir Qadhi | 9th Jan 2015



Mocking the Prophet (s) by Sheikh Ahsan Hanif

Khutbah by Sh. Mohammed Faqih

Khutbah by Sh. Joe Bradford on Shame and Guilt

Audio Only:

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