Question 186: We saw an Imaam in Al-Bulaydah who, while standing above the pulpit, said to the worshippers: “Say that there is no god but Allah”. Therefore, people pronounced Tahlil (saying: “Laa ilaahaa illaa Allaah [There is no god except Allaah]”) and Takbeer (saying: “Allaahu Akbar [Allaah is the Greatest]”). Is it right for the Imaam to say that? Is it right for the followers to pronounce Tahleel? What is the meaning of the Hadeeth that says: “If you (even) ask your companion to be quiet on Friday while the Imaam is delivering the sermon, you have in fact talked irrelevance.” We would like an answer for this questions.
Answer: First, If the Khateeb (preacher) intends by saying to the listeners: “Say that Allaah is One,” to guide them to what is obligatory upon them concerning Tawheed-ul-‘Uloohiyyah (Oneness of Worship), Tawheed-ul-Ruboobiyyah (Oneness of Allaah’s Lordship) and Tawheed-ul-Asmaa’ wal-Sifaat (Oneness of Allaah’s Names and Attributes), he will not be blamed even if they misunderstood him and pronounced Tahleel and Takbeer in loud voices. But they have committed a mistake due to their misunderstanding and in raising their voices. Moreover, he has to advise and point out to them what he had actually intended so that they won’t do this again. If by saying this, he intended to make them answer him with Tahleel and Takbeer in loud voices, then he has committed a mistake and Bidd`ah as well as the people. This is because it was not reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) or one of the rightly guided caliphs said this in one of their Khutbahs (sermons), and likewise those who listened to them. The Khateeb used to ask any of those who were present in the mosque about a certain thing such as what has happened between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Sulayk. When he entered the Masjid (mosque) while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was delivering Khutbah, Sulayk sat down without performing Tahiyyat-ul-Masjid (two-unit Prayer to salute the mosque). The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him to pray two rak’ahs... read more here.