There is no doubt that modern technology is really great and amazing. However, it should be borne in mind that acts of worship are sacrosanct. A person cannot just innovate something of his own and try to apply it without verifying that it is authentic and consistent with the original teachings of Shari`ah. Yes, we should keep abreast of modern technology. However, we should not abandon our established teachings or violate the sacredness of the acts of worship under the pretext of creativity or using technology.

In this context, Sheikh Mas`ud Sabry, Islamic Researcher at IslamOnline.Net, states:

“The Friday khutbah is a well-established act of worship that has been handed down and practiced through generations of the Ummah. The etiquette of Friday khutbah and its general formula—not the content—are taken from the actual practice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said: “Perform Prayer the way you saw me performing it.”

Since the khutbah is a part of the whole body of the Friday Prayer and itself being an act of worship, then we have to stand by the formula given to us by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) without adding things from our imagination. There is no place for creativity in such things. The majority of scholars agree that the original case in acts of worship is to avoid addition or omission or any type of alteration.

The nature of Friday khutbah is that it attempts to improve the con
duct of people and refine their hearts, which cannot be accomplished except by making it a mirror of the real life of people and a medicine for their spiritual maladies and social diseases. By giving one khutbah to a big number of people in different locations with different problems, we are just taking the khutbah out of the real life of people and turning it into a soulless speech that will be go in one ear and out the other. It will never reach the heart to yield the real benefit of it.

Thus, if one performs Friday Prayer in the above mentioned way, i.e., with the imam who delivers the khutbah in one place while the people are in another, it will be considered invalid and unacceptable. It is required for the validity of the Friday Prayer that the imam delivering the khutbah and the people be present in one place.”

Dr. Muhammad Bakr Isma`il, professor at Al-Azhar University, speaking more of the invalidity and the impermissibility of such a formula of Prayer, adds:

“There is an imam for every mosque. On Fridays, he climbs the minbar (pulpit) to deliver the khutbah and let people get touched by his words. When the khutbah is transmitted via the Internet, people may get benefit by listening. But, their prayer is invalid because of the lack of the actual witnessing of the imam, which is really needed. If the people in a certain mosque cannot find an imam, they can perform Zhur instead of the Friday Prayer, but never resort to such a way. Following such a line of thinking will lead to saying that there is no need to have imams in the mosques to lead Prayer, since one imam can do the job and it will be transmitted via the Internet or whatever. This is totally unacceptable.”

Adding more to this, Dr. `Abdul-Fattah `Ashoor, professor of the Exegesis of the Qur’an at Al-Azhar University, states: “There are basic conditions and manners particular to Friday Prayer. These things are stated in the books of fiqh. No one can change such conditions for whatever reason. Among the conditions of the validity of Friday Prayer is that the khutbah should consist of two parts and they should be performed by the imam in front of the people. This cannot be substituted with any speech or khutbah performed through a radio, TV, video conference, or the Internet live streaming.