November 29 2022 4:06 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

‘Universal’ Friday sermon raises controversy

Worshippers performer Friday prayers at Al-Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman. (Photo: Jordan News)
Worshippers performer Friday prayers at Al-Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — A section about “obedience to rulers” repeated by several different imams during the unified Friday sermons stirred up activists, who took to social media to protest the selection of the topic.اضافة اعلان

Several imams quoted a hadith, or saying of Prophet Mohammad, whose authenticity is questionable, that calls for people to obey their rulers ‘even if they take your money or flog your back’ during the Friday sermon.

“The Friday sermon called for obedience to the ruler, which is purely Sharia-based; however using the phrase ‘even if he takes your money or flogs your back’ by many imams was what provoked anger about the prayer,” an imam based in Zarqa, who preferred to be anonymous, told Jordan News over the phone.

“Given the present circumstances, including high prices and unemployment, some political parties contested the controversial phrase,” said the imam.

The Preaching and Guidance Directorate of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs transmits the unified Friday sermon script to Imams on a weekly basis via WhatsApp. Imams receive the script on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, according to the source from Zarqa.

It is customary that the Ministry chooses the topic of each Friday sermon, but the quoted phrase was not included in the script the imams received, he added. Nonetheless, several imams quoted the same hadith anyway.

The hadith in question comes from Sahih Muslim, one of the six major collections of hadith.  According to Hudhaifa Bin Al-Yaman, Prophet Mohammad said: “There will come leaders who will not follow my guidance and will not follow my Sunnah. There will be amongst them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies of human.”

Hudhaifa asked: “What shall I do if I reach that?” The Prophet replied: “You should obey the rulers even if they flogged your back and took your wealth; listen and obey.”

Mohammad Alazzam, an activist with 16.3K followers on Twitter, tweeted on Saturday: “Unprecedented, the Friday sermon in question has raised controversy and provoked negative comments in Jordan. We call on the Awqaf minister and officials to resign for such a performance that does not serve the country’s interests.”

On its part, the Ministry of Awqaf issued a statement on Friday claiming that the unified sermon did not contain the text of the controversial hadith and threatened to take legal action against who claimed it did.

Not all those who heard the controversial sermon were bothered by the phrase. Mahmoud Saleh, a Muslim man who regularly attends the Friday prayer, said that as long as the delivered hadith is genuinely true, “we as Muslims should abide by it.”

The said hadith, although listed in the second most authentic book in Islam, has historically raised controversy over its authenticity, and due to different interpretations by scholars across ages.

Read more National