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Voices of Islamic Authorities: Friday Khutba in Malaysian Mosques

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Al Adib Samuri, Professor Peter Hopkins



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Abstract Malaysia has been introducing Islamization policies since the 1980s and has used Friday khutbas (sermons) to convey government and religious authorities’ ideas and interpretations of Islam. We used content analysis of the texts of khutbas delivered in 2013 and 2014 in six states in Malaysia, all of which were obtained from the respective states’ Islamic authorities’ websites. This research found that weekly Friday khutbas have been used to announce the Islamic authorities’ commitment to safeguard the sanctity of Sunni Islam, to monopolize the interpretation of Islam, to establish the collective mistreatment of minority Muslim groups, and to promote the implementation of hudud law. Our analysis demonstrates that the control exercised and exerted by the government and religious authorities over mosques, covering aspects ranging from the mosque’s administration and appointment of the imam to the preparation of the khutba text has created an ideal opportunity for the government to influence the Muslim society’s understanding and stance on a variety of social, religious and political issues in a multi-ethnic community. Despite the diversity of responses to khutbas, Muslims in Malaysia do not possess a forum in which to debate or criticize the contents of khutbas that are politicized, contain errors or inaccurate facts, are non-inclusive, and provide narrow and limited religious interpretations. Beyond Malaysia, this article may be used as a reference point or source of information for other Muslim communities to prevent governments and religious authorities from controlling khutba sermons, which may lead to the risk that they might be manipulated to benefit certain interested parties.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Samuri MAA, Hopkins P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

Year: 2017

Volume: 28

Issue: 1

Pages: 47-67

Online publication date: 09/02/2017

Acceptance date: 20/12/2016

Date deposited: 08/01/2017

ISSN (print): 0959-6410

ISSN (electronic): 1469-9311

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/09596410.2017.1280916


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