The ruling on being silent and speaking during the khutbah (sermon) on Friday
I go to Jumu’ah prayer, but every time I enter the prayer-hall of the masjid, I give Salaams and the other worshippers return the greeting, even those who are reading Qur’aan. When the khutbah has begun, some worshippers come in and say salaams, and the imam return the greeting in a low voice. Is this permissible?
Praise be to Allaah.
Those who attend Jumu’ah prayer should be quiet and listen attentively to the imam when he is preaching. It is not permissible to speak to others, even if that is to tell them to be quiet. Whoever does that has engaged in idle talk (laghw), and whoever engages in idle talk, his Jumu’ah prayer does not count.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If you say to your companion when the imam is preaching on Friday, ‘Be quiet and listen,’ you have engaged in idle talk.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 892; Muslim, 851).
This prohibition also applies to responding to a question about Islam, let alone any other kind of speech that has to do with worldly matters.
It was narrated that Abu’l-Darda’ said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat on the minbar and addressed the people, and he recited a verse. Ubayy ibn Ka’b was next to me, so I said to him: “O Ubayy, when was this verse revealed?” But he refused to speak to me, so I asked him again and he refused to speak to me, until the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came down (from the minbar). Then Ubayy said to me: “You have gained nothing from your Jumu’ah except idle talk.” When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had finished (the prayer), I went to him and told him (what had happened). He said: “Ubayy was right. When you hear your imam speaking, then keep quiet and listen attentively until he has finished.” Narrated by Ahmad, 20780; Ibn Maajah, 1111; classed as saheeh by al-Busayri and al-Albaani in Tamaam al-Mannah, p. 338.
This indicates that it is obligatory to remain silent and listen attentively, and that it is forbidden to speak while the imam is delivering the khutbah on Friday.
An exception is made from that in the case of speaking to the imam, or the imam speaking to the worshippers for some important reason.
It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said: The people were afflicted with a drought at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and whilst the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was delivering the khutbah one Friday, a Bedouin stood up and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, our wealth has been destroyed and our children are starving. Pray to Allaah for us.” So he raised his hands [and made du'aa']. And it rained that day and the next and the next and the next, until the following Friday, when that Bedouin – or he said, someone else – stood up and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, our houses have been destroyed and our wealth drowned. Pray to Allaah for us.” So he raised his hands… Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 891; Muslim, 897.
It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah said: A man came whilst the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was addressing the people on Friday, and he [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said: “Have you prayed, O So and so?” He said, “No.” He said: “Stand up and pray two rak’ahs.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 888; Muslim, 875.
Whoever quotes these hadeeth as evidence that it is permissible for worshippers to speak to one another and that it is not obligatory to remain silent, is not correct.