Saudi preachers told to cut Friday sermons short

Authorities threaten action as long sermons discomfort the sick and those who perform Friday prayers outdoors in the heat

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic authorities have asked mosque preachers to cut short their sermons at open-air Friday prayers and threatened action against those who do not comply with the new rules.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs said all Muslim clerics at the kingdom’s mosques must deliver concise and meaningful sermons during Friday prayers on the grounds some of the worshippers are either old or sick while many others who perform the prayers outdoors are subject to scorching heat.

“The imams [preachers] who ignore the ministry’s instructions will be forced to undergo training. If they repeat the offence, they will get a final warning and their salaries will be cut,” said Azam Al Shewair, Head of the Committee for the Assessment of Imams and Khateebs at the ministry.

“They should take into consideration that there are old and sick people, particularly those with diabetes, among the worshippers who cannot tolerate sitting and listening to sermons for long periods. The Imams should follow the wisdom of keeping sermons short and meaningful.”

Al Shewair said the Friday sermon serves as a lesson for the Muslim believers because it handles a certain subject about the affairs of Muslims or discusses a purely jurisprudential topic.

“Imams should, therefore, immediately delve into the topic of the sermon and be to the point,” he added.

The papers quoted another official as saying the impact of the sermon is not measured by its length but by the eloquent, concise and precise wording.

“Imams should refrain from flowery and bombastic language and delve directly into the core of their sermon,” said Saleh Al Humaid, a member of the Board of Senior Ulema and Chairman of the Supreme Judiciary Council.

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