Is a sermon necessary for the Jumu`ah prayer on Friday? If it is, then what are the things that have to be said in the Friday sermon? Which of those things have to be said in Arabic?
The sermon is a condition for the validity of Jumu`ah prayer according to the strongest opinion of the people of knowledge as stated by the Hanafî school of law (al-Mabsût 2/23), the Shâfi`î school of law (al-Majmû` 4/513), the Hanbalî school of law, (al-Mughnî 3/170) and the majority of Mâlikî scholars. It is the authentic position of the Mâlikî school, (al-Kâfî 1/249).
There must be two sermons, according to the strongest opinion of the scholars, as supported by al-Shâfi`î, Ahmad b. Hanbal, and Mâlik in a narration for each.
The conditions of the sermon are as follows:
1. The intention of the Imam that he is giving a Jumu`ah sermon. The evidence for this is the hadîth “Works are only by intentions.”
2. The sermon must precede the Jumu`ah prayer. This view is held by the Hanafî school (al-Mabsût 2/26), the Mâlikî school (al-Mudawannah 1/156), the Shâfi`î school (al-Majmû` 4/514) and the Hanbalî school (al-Kashâf 2/31). This is correct according to Sunnah.
3. The Imam should give the sermon while standing if he is capable of doing so. If he gives the sermon while seated, it will still be valid but it will be at variance with the Sunnah.
4. The sermon should be in loud voice, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to deliver the sermon in a loud voice.
5. The sermon should be given in Arabic, if the imam knows it. In a situation where the Imam or the worshippers do not know Arabic, then it is permissible for the sermon to be given in another language. This opinion is supported by Sheikh Muhammad b. `Uthaymîn.
6. The sermon and the Jumu`ah prayer should be offered in succession without pause. The same applies to the parts of the sermon itself. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do it this way. The sermon and the prayer are, in fact, one thing.
There are other conditions mentioned by scholars for the Jumu`ah prayer, but I did not mention them because I do not consider them to be conditions, such as the condition about the minimum number of worshippers. I hold the opinion that the least number of worshippers for Jumu`ah is only three people.
The scholars have determined that the pillars for the Jumu`ah sermon are as follows:
1. It should contain the praise to Allah.
2. It should contain salutations upon the Prophet (peace be upon him)
3. It must offer admonishment to those who are listening.
4. It must contain mention of some verses of the Qur’ân.
There is no doubt that inclusion of these elements in the sermon is preferred, even though some scholars say that these things are not necessary pillars and that it is enough to give a speech that will achieve the goal. This is the opinion adopted by Mâlik. It is also the famous narration in the Hanbalî school of thought and the apparent opinion of Imam Ibn Taymiyah.