Belief & Worship FAQs & Fatwas Prayer

Length of Friday Khutbah (Sermon)

Our MSA (Muslim Student Association) wants to start Friday khutbahs (sermons). A discussion came up regarding the length of the sermon. Please share with us, how long should it be?


Imam Malik radi allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) did not offer any opinion regarding the length of the Friday Sermon. For that reason we say that the length of the sermon is defined by ‘urf (custom of the people) as long as it does not leave out praising God, sending blessings on the Prophet ﷺ (peace and blessings of God be upon him) and reminding people of their responsibilities. Thus, the length is left to custom.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) knows best.

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.


  • I’ve sat through T3 speed khutbahs
    ; and dial-up speed khutbahs haha … neither of which are very enjoyable.

    So striking a balance with the time is ideal.

    • I would disagree with your opinion. I think it depends on the speaker and the passion he has when talking. Sometimes I learn a lot more from a 13 minute khutbah given at hospital praying rooms for doctors than a 1 hour khutbah at a masjid. It depends on the speaker.

  • Salaam ustadh, are there not narrations encouraging prolonging the salaah and shortening the khutbah? How are they explained? jazakallah khayr

    • As,

      The words used by the Prophet (sa) “to lengthen” “to shorten” were not explicitly defined by the him (sa). Thus, as noted by the scholars of Usul and illustrated by the answer of Malik (ra), they are defined by ‘Urf if there is no ijm’a or qiyas jali.

      Allah knows best

  • As Salam Aleikoum Sheik,

    May Allah bless you in this world and the hereafter for all your works and effort to bring us a contemporary understanding of our deen.

    I am a bit confused with your the 1st part of your answer: Imam Malik radi allahu `anhu did not offer…

    I was hopped something starting by if possible: The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam used to … And going steps by steps by order the salafs, ullemas… As you know better than I.

    • Salam Fred,

      I’m guessing that Imam Suhaib didn’t begin that way because he succinctly stated the opinion of Maliki madh’hab.

    • As,

      Dear Fred:

      Great question. Scholars noted that a person who has not been trained in the usul should avoid quoting verses and hadith that carry legal intent (where there is room form interpretation). “The dalil are not used unless their usul are.” Is a great axiom that protects the deen from the over zealous and the laxed. For that reason, we refer to those who are more knowledgeable then us in understanding the deen.

      Imam Malik said, “I studied with over 700 scholars of Medina, all of them giving me permission to grant fatwa, before I did so.” Certainly we should feel comfortable with his answer (it is not binding of course) instead of simply going to the books of hadith or tafsir and making our own ijtihad, especially if a person is not trained, or learned from a person who learned from books- did not sit with the scholars for any serious amount of time! Imam ibn Taymiyya said, “In such cases, it is an obligation to ask the people who know.”

      Thus, my quoting Imam Malik (ra) whose grandfather was a companion of the Prophet (sa) and whose father was a student of the companions (ra) should in know way cause you confusion. It is simply acting on the verse, “Ask those who know if you don’t.”

      If you feel comfortable in going to the books of hadith and the Qur’an without having the perquisite knowledge, that is between you and Allah. If you feel that you have reached the level of ijtihad, then that is between you and him as well.

      Often times our backgrounds and experiences, tend to smog our vision. I had a friend who was a shia before. After coming to Ahl Sunna he was so against the concept of Imamat that he swerved to another extreme- I don’t need to the people of knowledge, I just need what the Prophet (sa) said. That is problematic considering this person did not the basics of the Arabic language or Usul needed to understand what the Prophet (sa) was saying. Point being that sometimes our experiences, although they guide us to the truth by God’s leave, if not thought out and seen as a total process, can lead us to0 far to, one extreme or the other.

      May Allah grant us insaf.

      • Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        As a matter of fact, Suhaib Webb you are on one extreme saying we should just put an Imams opinion out there without daleel.

        Daleel should be offered. Imam Malik’s reasoning should be offered.

        This is the way Sheikh Salih Al Munajid does it. I think he is a most excellent sheikh, Allah is his assessor and I do not ascribe purity to anyone before Allah.

  • Brother suhaib webb, can please answer my question??
    Question :

    the masjid nearest around 1km from my house is inside the graveyard. The masjid building is in the middle space of graveyard. Masjid is surrounded by graves on all sides but there is an extra small between graves and masjid building. Does this masjid come under doubtful matters that should be avoided. Does thehadith that all earth is masjid except graveyard&toilet apply to this. Please explain? Is it haram or makruh to do salah there for both men& women?

  • I think we are not talking about the content of the Khutbah. Sometimes the content of the khutbah might need us to spend more time than other topics. Instead of looking at the time limit, we should look at the current state of our Masjid congregation. The majority arrive late because the want to do the prayer but justify their Jummah prayer by listening to the tidbits of the Khutbah. You will also see many people leaving the masjid in droves as the Jummah prayer ends.

    We should realize that in America that Friday is a working day and the Imam should make his Khutbah’s to the point to accomodate all members of the congregation.

    I firmly believe that everything can be said in 10 to 15 minutes. Anything more is redundant and if you do a pop-quiz on the Khutbah most brothers and sisters will not remember anything said after 15 to 20 minutes.

    Imams should focus on human psychology and also the society where they are giving Khutbahs. One hour long Khutbahs are a waste of time because the Imam is not focusing on the congregation.

    Imams should research about listening skills of human beings. Also Imams need to reduce redundancy and see how they can actually be succinct and create a bigger impact.

    A really khutbah is when the congregation ends up talking about the Khutbah after Jummah.

    I highly encourage brothers and sisters to do surveys after Jummah prayers. Unfortunately most people don’t remember what the Imam said.

    This is unfortunate. One of these days I need to train Imam’s how make proper speeches. Length is not greatness. Quality of the khutbah will create a greater impact.

    If we look at Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH )Khutbahs you will see that none of them are redundant and no one is capable of dozing off. However these days many Imam’s are not reading the old Khutbahs. If we focus on the prose and style of our Prophet (PBUH) we will notice that proper Khutbah’s should be succinct, full of quality and have one theme.

    I recorded my own Imam’s Khutbah and wrote his khutbah on paper and gave the khutbah to some speech preparers. All speech preparers mentioned one key problem. Redundancy and bloated sentences.

    We were able to streamline the same one hour khutbah to 15 minutes.

    I challenge any Imam struggling with speech skills and I guarantee I can cut down the khutbah and make it more meaningful for the congregation.

    At the end of the day Imam’s must ask themselves one question, “Do I care if my congregation remembers what I said? Will the remember to share and discuss the khutbah with their families and friends?”

    • Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Brother/sister I agree with you.

      15 minutes max,is the best. 5-10 minutes is optimal.

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