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Question: What are the essentials of jumu'ah khutbah? I am used to attending jumu'ahs in the past where Imams, among other things, used to conclude their sermons with du'as. The other day I attended jumu'ah in a relatively new mosque where the Imam did not offer any du'as while concluding his sermon? Is this a sound practice?

Jumu'ah is the weekly assembly of Muslims; it is intended to foster a sense of community, renew their faith, and inspire them to come closer to Allah and realize the Islamic ideals in their lives, individually and collectively. Friday khutbah is precisely intended to achieve this. It is therefore understood that Friday khutbah should have a focused message and should follow a requisite format and content.

All Muslims agree that a the khutbah proper ideally consists of praising and glorification of Allah, benedictions or sending blessings on the Prophet, peace be upon him, advising people to remain conscious of Allah, admonition and reminders based on the Quran and the sunnah, followed by du'as or supplications for all Muslims. Some scholars consider all of the above mentioned as essential aspects of a Friday khutbah, while others consider some of them as simply recommended; so even though a person may be excused of leaving out du'a if he did so by mistake; he should not do so deliberately.

Most of the scholars belonging to both the Shafi and Hanbali schools consider dua as an integral aspect of Friday khutbah. Imam Nawawi considers this to be the authentic view of Shafi school. It is worth remembering that as mentioned in authentic traditions, Friday is the most blessed day of the week, and therefore it is doubly auspicious for dhikr and supplications. Furthermore, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said that there is a special hour on Friday when supplications are more likely to be heard by Allah; hence it is no wonder to see that the Islamic conscience throughout centuries have been following the above format, and thus they have always concluded the khutbah with du'as.

Based on these, it is, therefore, not advisable for anyone to depart from this well established practice of Muslims. As Imams Ibn Taymiyyah and others have pointed out that a scholar must never allow himself to depart from practices that have been preferred by the majority of people based on his own personal preferences, and thus creating doubts and disquiet in their minds, especially in matters of worship.

In conclusion: it is important that khateebs make use of the opportunity of Friday khutbah to offer supplications for Muslims and never stop doing so by following isolated opinions or practices.

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