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These are the key points from my Jumua Khutbah (Friday service). When I go digital someday I may include the audio of further speeches too :)

To Understand and Be Understood

Part I


  1. Initial Supplication


I seek refuge with Allah from the Accursed Shaytan

In the Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds

And peace be upon the greatest among the prophets and messengers

Our master and leader Muhammad…..


And upon his righteous and pure progeny. 


As-Salaam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuho!

The Peace, Mercy of God and the Blessings of God be on you!


  1. Starting with verses from the Holy Qur’an (the Final Testament)


Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem

In The Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful


بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

[49:13] O you men! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.


  1. Example
    1. Suppose you've been having trouble with your eyes and you decide to go to an optometrist for help. After briefly listening to your complaint, he takes off his glasses and hands them to you.

" Put these on," he says. "I've worn this pair of glasses for ten years now and they've really helped me. I have an extra pair at home; you can wear these."

So you put them on, but it only makes the problem worse.

"This is terrible!" you exclaim. "I can't see a thing!"

"Well, what's wrong?" he asks. "They work great for me. Try harder."

"I'm trying," you insist. "Everything is a blur."

"Well, what's the matter with you? Think positively."

"Okay. I positively can't see a thing."

"Boy, are you ungrateful!" he chides. "And after all I've done to help you!"


  1. What are the chances you'd go back to that optometrist the next time you need help?


  1. Another Example: Honey, what's wrong, tell me I'll understand - I don't like school anymore - What! After all the sacrifices we've made, you need to apply yourself, get a positive attitude


  1. We have a tendency to fix things up with "good" advice. But we often fail to take the time to diagnose, to really deeply understand the problem first.
  2. We need to seek to understand first and then to be understood
  3. "Unless you're influenced by my uniqueness, I'm not going to be influenced by your advice." - So you have to build skills in empathetic listening on a base of character that inspires openness and trust.


  1. Describing our Bad Habit
    1. People sometimes say: "I can't understand my kid. He just won't listen to me at all." - maybe they need to listen to their kid.
    2. When a person speaks we are usually doing one of these things:
      1. Ignoring - not really listening
      2. Pretending - "Yeah. Uh-huh. Right."
      3. Selective Listening - hearing only certain parts of the conversation
      4. Attentive - paying attention on the words that are being said
      5. Very few of us practice Empathetic Listening - to listen with the intent to understand and not to respond. Get inside the other person's frame of reference
    3. Study: only 10% of our communication is verbal, 30% is our sounds, and 60% is body language!!
    4. We need to be empathetic (not same as sympathetic) to others and sense, intuit, feel


  1. Breaking a Bad Habit
    1. The next time someone is speaking to you, watch yourself carefully (you need to pay attention the first few times, its like learning to drive a car)
      1. You will either evaluate (agree/disagree)
      2. Probe (question based on our own frame of reference)
      3. Advise (give counsel based on our experience)
      4. Or Interpret (try to explain people's motives)
    2. The early Greeks had a magnificent philosophy: Ethos, Pathos, Logos
      1. Ethos = personal credibility (bio of the speaker about to speak)
      2. Pathos = empathetic side, feeling (story telling by the speaker)
      3. Logos = logic (speech has to make sense)
    3. See the call to prayer
      1. First God is Great, then Testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah s.w.t. - this is your ethos
      2. Then Come to prayer, come to prosperity, come to the deed that is good - this is your pathos. Who doesn't want to come to prosperity?
      3. Finally your actual prayer


This is why I believe Allah s.w.t. says  لِتَعَارَفُوا and ends the verse with

إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ


In conclusion, we need to seek to understand by practicing empathetic listening and watching our communication with one another



s.w.t. = May He be Glorified and Exalted

a.s. = Upon him be Peace

p.u.b.h.&f = Peace be Upon him and his family


- Mujtaba Khambatti, Aug. 9, 2007

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