Ammar ibn Yasir reports that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: “Prolonging salah and shortening one’s khutbah is a sign of one’s understanding of the religion. So, prolong the prayer and shorten the khutbah.” This is related by Ahmad and Muslim. Shortening the khutbah and prolonging one’s salah shows one’s understanding of religion, for such a person is able to comprehend and express much in a few words.
Jabir ibn Samurah says: “The Prophet’s salah was of a moderate length and so was his khutbah.” This is related by the group, save al-Bukhari and Abu Dawud.
‘Abdullah ibn abi Aufa reports: “The salah of the Messenger of Allah was long and his khutba.i was short.” This is related by an-Nasa’i with a sahih chain.
Jabir informs: “When the Prophet delivered the khutbah, his eyes became red, his voice rose, and his anger increased as if giving a warning to the enemy.” This is related by Muslim and Ibn Majah.
An-Nawawi says: “It is preferred for the khutbah to be in an eloquent and proper Arabic, and it should be an organized speech that the people can understand. It should not be a speech, which is over the heads of the people, nor should it be shallow or contain foul language as that would defeat its purpose. Its words should be chosen carefully to make them attractive and meaningful.”
Giving his views on the subject, Ibn al-Qayyim says: “The khutbah of the Prophet reinforced the fundamental articles of faith, like belief in Allah, the Exalted, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the meeting with Him. He would mention the paradise and the hellfire and what Allah, the Exalted, has promised to His devoted servants and the people who obey Him and what Allah has promised to His enemies and the miscreant. While listening to his khutbah, the hearts would be filled with belief in Allah, His oneness, and His majesty. His khutbahs were not like speeches of those who speak only of matters of concern of common folk, lamenting earthly life and frightening people of the approaching death. Such speeches cannot inspire faith in Allah or strengthen belief in His oneness or move people by allusion to His mighty works in history, nor can they kindle in hearts intense love for Allah, making the listeners look forward eagerly to the time they will meet Him! The people who hear such speeches gain no benefit at all, except that they will die and that their wealth will be distributed and their bodies will be turned to dust. Woe to such poets, what sort of faith is fostered by such sermons, and what sort of tawhid do they teach or knowledge disseminate? If we study the khutbahs of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam and his companions, we find them embedded with perspicuous guidance, tawhid, attributes of Allah, explaining the basic articles of the faith, inviting people to Allah, and drawing their attention to His providential care that makes Him so beloved to His slaves. His khutbahs referred to Allah’s dealings with others in the past so as to warn his listeners against His wrath and exhort them to remember Him, thank Him and win His pleasure and love. Those who heard these khutbahs were inspired with the love of Allah and they looked forward eagerly to meeting their Lord. As time went by, the example of the Prophet was forgotten and other things prevailed. The main purpose of the khutbah was forgotten. The eloquent and nice words that moved the hearts became rare in speeches. The main thrust of the khutbah was neglected. The hearts were no longer touched and the basic purpose of the khutbah was lost.”