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At the beginning of Islamic prayers and the attached rites, the Prophet originally delivered his khutbah while leaning against a palm-trunk pillar inside the mosque. Hadith reports that later he used a seat with two steps for receiving delegations in the mosque and also preached from a portable minbar.

The first minbar was in 628 AD, and the first purpose it served was for the Prophet to be raised above the crowd while leading prayer and other religious purposes. Often, it is constructed as a domed box at the top of a staircase and is reached through a doorway that can be closed. In its simplest form, the minbar is a platform with three steps. His successors, the caliphs, used his minbar as a symbol of their authority. However, in 706 Caliph al-Walīd destroyed the original minbar of the prophet.

During the reign of the Abbāsid caliphs, it became more permanent in nature; the number of steps increased, commonly executed in stone or brick and even covered with a cloth—the qaṭīfah. It is now a combination of a miḥrāb (a semicircular niche reserved for the Imām to lead the prayer facing the gibla) and a minbar, with a minaret sometimes attached to it.  


While on Minbar, the prophet used to hold a staff. Today, the practice is still common among many Imams because they are following the tradition of the Prophet. In a tradition recorded by Imam Abu Dawood, it is narrated that the companion, Hakam bin Hazn Al Kulfi (RA), said, ‘we witnessed Jumah with the Prophet (SA), and while standing (to deliver the khutba), he was leaning on a staff or bow. (Abu Dawwood: Chapter of a person who delivers a khutba and leans on a bow) Based on this narration, scholars have stated that holding the staff while delivering the khutba is commendable, as it was a practice of the Prophet (SA). In this regard, the great jurist, Allama Shami, recorded the following: ‘Certainly taking the staff is a Sunnah just as standing’. (Raddul Mukhtar).


It is a preferred act (Mustahab) for the Imaam to hold a staff (Asaa) with his left hand while delivering the Khutbah of Jumuah.  In addition to this purpose, scholars of jurisprudence (Fuqahaa) have written that the staff is a symbol of authority.  They posit that if the Muslims conquer a city after a war, the Imaam should hold a sword. However, if it was through the efforts of propagating Islam or agreement, the Imaam holds a staff while delivering the Khutbah. The two objects signify the authority of the Muslims. (Shaami 2/163/Fatawaa Darul Uloom Zakariyya 2/706).

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