In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…
Shaykh Hammood ibn ‘Abdillaah at-Tuwayjiree (d.1413) – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said:
Long Khutbahs (Sermons) with Short Prayers: On this topic, there is the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood – may Allaah be pleased with him – who said:
You people are living in a time wherein prayers are made long, khutbahs (sermons) are short, there are many scholars, but few orators. A time will come upon the people when the prayer will be short, the khutbah will be long, a time of many orators but few scholars…
It was collected by at-Tabaraanee, and al-Haythamee said: Its narrators are those of the Saheeh (hadeeth collections of al-Bukhaaree and/or Muslim).
It was also collected by Imaam Maalik in his Muwatta’, with a similar wording:
…And the people shall encounter a time when the scholars of fiqh are few, but the reciters are many, the letters of the Qur’aan will be memorized, but the rulings will be lost, many shall be asked questions (about Islaam), few will be able to benefit anyone, they shall prolong khutbahs (sermons), and shorten the prayers. Their whims will become evident even before their actions.
…He (Ibn Mas’ood) – may Allaah be pleased with him – also narrated from the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) that he said:
إن قصر الخطبة وطول الصلاة مئنة من فقه الرجل، فأطيلوا الصلاة، واقصروا الخطبة، فإن من البيان سحرًا، وإنه سيأتي بعدكم قوم يطيلون الخطب ويقصرون الصلاة
“Verily, a short khutbah and a long prayer is a sign of a man’s fiqh (religious understanding), so lengthen the prayer and shorten the khutbah, as surely some types of speech are magical. People will come after you who prolong the khutbahs and shorten the prayers.”
It was collected by al-Bazzaar, and part of it was also collected by at-Tabaraanee as words of Ibn Mas’ood (not a hadeeth). Al-Haythamee said, “The version from the words of Ibn Mas’ood comes by way of trustworthy narrators, however al-Bazzaar’s chain includes Qays ibn ar-Rabee’, who was declared reliable by Shu’bah and ath-Thowree, but al-Bukhaaree considered him unreliable.”
I would add that Abul-Waleed at-Tayaalisee and ‘Affaan have also declared him reliable. Ibn ‘Adee said, “Most of his reports are good, and the correct position regarding him should be what Shu’bah said, and so he is acceptable as a narrator.”
…And things have taken place in our times that prove the accuracy of this narration, as many of the imaams prolong their sermons on Fridays and on the ‘Eeds with pointless rambling, much of it serving no benefit. Some of them go on like that for half an hour or longer, and when they go to lead the prayer, they stand for no longer than about five minutes. This is in opposition to the order of the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) to prolong the prayer and shorten the khutbah. It also contradicts his consistent practice as well.
Regarding his order to lengthen the prayer but shorten the khutbah: The hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood has already been mentioned (above).
And Imaams Ahmad, Muslim, and ad-Daarimee collected a report from ‘Ammaar ibn Yaasir (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) saying:
إن طول صلاة الرجل وقصر خطبته مئنة من فقهه، فأطيلوا الصلاة واقصروا الخطبة، وإن من البيان لسحرًا
“Verily the long prayer of a man along with his short khutbah is a sign of his religious understanding, so prolong the prayers and shorten the khutbahs, as some kinds of speech are magical.”
Regarding his actions: An-Nasaa’ee collected a report with an authentic chain from ‘Abdullaah ibn Abee Owfaa – may Allaah be pleased with him – that the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) would prolong the prayer while shortening the khutbah.
Also, Imaams Ahmad, Muslim, ad-Daarimee, and the authors of the (four) Sunan, except for Aboo Daawood, collected a report from Jaabir ibn Samurah – may Allaah be pleased with him – that the prayer of the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) was moderate, and his khutbah was moderate.
And Imaams Ahmad and Aboo Daawood collected a report from al-Hakam ibn Hazn al-Kulafee – may Allaah be pleased with him – who said:
I came to the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) in a group of seven, or nine, and we stayed with him some days, and we witnessed the Jumu’ah prayer: The Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) stood up, leaning on a bow, or a staff, and he praised Allaah and extolled Him with nice, blessed, short statements.
Once this is known, then (know that) Allaah, the Most High, has said:
لقد كان لكم في رسول الله أسوة حسنة لمن كان يرجو الله واليوم الآخر وذكر الله كثيرا
“Verily, there is a fine example to follow in the Messenger of Allaah for those who long for (the meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day and remember Allaah much.” [33:21]
And He, the Most High, has said:
فليحذر الذين يخالفون عن أمره أن تصيبهم فتنة أو يصيبهم عذاب أليهم
“Let those who contradict his order be warned of trials befalling them, or a painful punishment.” [24:63]
Source: It-haaf al-Jamaa’ah (2/169-171), slightly abridged.
Translated by: Moosaa Richardson