[Moulana Ihtishamul Hasan Sahib Kandhelwi (rahimahullah)]
Salah is an important obligation commanded by Allah Azza Wa Jal. It is the highest form of earning the proximity of the Creator. All the actions related to salah like adhan, iqamah, imamat etc. are the distinguishing features of Islam. Respecting and revering them is tantamount to respecting Islam.
However, due to ignorance of their original status, grandeur and virtue, they are not revered as they should be.
This booklet was prepared in order to fulfil this need so that one can at least be apprized of the majesty and sanctity of adhan and iqamah.
The adhan is generally regarded as merely a call to salah but in reality, the secret of the loftiness and elevation of the Muslims is concealed in it. The adhan is not merely an announcement for salah but is in fact an open invitation to Islam five times daily in every place.
It is for this reason that the shayatin (satans) flee from the sound of adhan. Satanic effects are removed and the limitless mercy of Allah descends, the details of which you will find in this article.
Our final word is that all praises are due to Allah Azza Wa Jal, the Lord of the worlds and salutations be upon the prophets and messengers.
Muhammad Ihtishamul Hasan
17 April 1965
The Grandeur and Virtue of Adhan
Those factors which are the most important for the elevation and fertility of Islam are called the sha’air – distinguishing features – of Islam. From among these distinguishing features, one of the most important is adh ān. If today the Muslims become aware of the importance, grandeur and actual reality of adhan and they afford it its proper perspective, there is no reason why the Muslims should not be elevated on earth.
Regrettably today the greatness and virtue of adhan has been blurred from our eyes. Whatever is done, is being done as a custom or habit. Consequently, we don’t achieve the benefits and fruits which were worthy of this act. When the reality of something is not before the eyes, the effects naturally do not manifest themselves. Only the outward forms remain. When the actual grandeur and importance of worship leave the heart, only the external forms of worship remain behind and these are regarded as habits. This is a sign of the close proximity of Qiyamah. Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Very shortly a time is to come when Islam will remain in name only and only the writing of the Qur’an will remain.’
When only the name of Islam remains and the original source of all guidance, the Qur’an remains in script only, then naturally all the factors and distinguishing features of Islam will only be customary. Their virtue and importance which they supposed to have will not remain in the hearts. Consequently, their original fruits and effects will not manifest themselves.
It is essential to respect and revere all the distinguishing features of Islam. This is what brings Islam and iman to perfection. This is equal to respecting Allah Ta’ala. Therefore, the disrespect of the minutest distinguishing feature of Islam is not tolerated.
Shah Waliullah (Rahimahullah) explains the distinguishing features of Islam as follows:
By the sha’air, I refer to those matters which are external and tangible by means of which Allah Ta’ala is worshipped.
They are specific with Allah Ta’ala to the extent that honouring them is like honouring Allah. Being deficient in them is like being deficient with regard to Allah. This must be embedded in the heart so deeply that it cannot exit without tearing the heart.‛ [Hujjatullahil Balighah, vol.1 p. 66].
The source of Shari’ah is to revere the distinguishing features of Allah Ta’ala and to gain proximity to Him by means of them. Therefore we have been commanded to respect them. Allah Ta’ala states, ‘Whoever respects the distinguishing features of Allah, it is due to the piety of his heart.’
Adhan is also from among these distinguishing features. Its majesty, importance and virtue will be mentioned in the ensuing pages. And only Allah grants the ability.
The Meaning of Adhan
The literal meaning of adhan is to announce. The call to prayer has been named adhan because it is an announcement of salah.
The Inception of Adhan
There was great emphasis to perform salah with congregation. In order to do this, there was a need to gather all the Muslims together at one place at the same time. This was not possible without an announcement.
The Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) discussed this among themselves as to what method to adopt. Some of them mentioned that a fire should be lit so that the people could see it and gather.
Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) rejected this idea because this was a resemblance with the fire-worshippers.
The Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) suggested sounding a horn. Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallan) rejected this idea also because this was a resemblance with the Jews. The Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) then suggested ringing a bell like the church bells. Due to resemblance with the Christians, Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did not accept this suggestion.
The Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) all went away and no decision was reached.
At night, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) was shown the method of adhan in a dream. He mentioned this to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in the morning. On hearing about this dream, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that it was a true dream.
Thereafter, the announcement for salah was made in the manner shown in the dream. This incident has been narrated in authentic ahadith. This incident clearly indicates the following:
(1) the divine laws began according to the expediencies of man in which there was ease for him.
(2) to oppose the nations which are engrossed in misguidance and ignorance in the distinguishing features of Islam is a commendable and meritorious act. One should not adopt any act in Deen which is prevalent among them.
(3) The adhan was initiated for the sake of salah. The original aim was that people hear the adhan and gather for congregation. Hence, there should not be such a long delay after the adhan whereby people are placed in distress. The actual aim of adhan is thereby lost.
(4) Besides the Maghrib Salah, it is preferable to have a delay in the congregation after the adhan so that all the worshippers can easily prepare for salah and gather for the jama’at. During the Maghrib Salah, because a delay is not appropriate, it is necessary to immediately begin the congregation after the adhan. If for some reason there is a delay in the adhan, it is essential to wait a while for the worshippers. It is not necessary to wait for the appointed time. What is essential is the ease of the worshippers. The quest for a larger number of worshippers is meritorious.
Although the adhan was initiated for salah, Allah Ta’ala out of His extreme mercy, assigned it as an important act of worship. He included it among the distinguishing features of Islam.
Shah Waliullah (rahimahullah) writes,
Divine wisdom required that the adhan should not be merely an announcement, but together withthat, it should be a distinguishing feature. In this wayit has become to the uninformed and the informed a call to Deen. Accepting it became a sign of submitting to Allah. Therefore it was necessary for the adhan to contain the mention of Allah, a testimony to the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and an invitation to salah so that it can be an explicit exposition of its aim.‛ [Hujjatullhil Balighah vol.1 p.189]
Now the adhan is an announcement of true Deen and an elevation of the true word. The adhan has such virtues that clearly indicate it to be a distinguishing characteristic of Islam. The place where the adhan is delivered is regarded as Darul Islam – an Islamic governed state. Whenever Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) heard the adhan from any locality, he did not attack that l locality. If he did not hear the adhan, he would attack that place.
This indicates that the adhan is not merely an announcement for salah but an invitation to the true Deen and an exposition of the truth of Islam in front of the creation. Therefore Shah Waliullah (rahimahullah) says regarding the adhan,
‘It is a portion from among the portions of prophethood.‛ [ibid]
Sayyidatuna ‘Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) said that the verse,
‘Whose statement can be better than the one who calls to Allāh, does good deeds and says ‘I am of the Muslims’.
refers to the mu’adhdhins.
We have consequently been commanded to respond to the adhan by repeating the words of the mu’adhdhin and practically answering his call.
The Words of Adhan
Allah is the greatest. (4 times).
Ash hadu an la ilaaha illa Allah
I bear witness that there is no god besides Allah.
Ash hadu an la ilaaha illa Allah
I bear witness that there is no god besides Allah.
Ash hadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah
I bear witness that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the messenger of Allah.
Ash hadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah
I bear witness that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the messenger of Allah.
Hayya alas salah
Come to salah. (twice)
Hayya alal falah
Come to success. (twice)
Allah is the greatest. (twice)
la ilaaha illa Allah
There is no god besides Allah.
A person should stand on a high place and recite these words with a loud voice. Whatever distance his voice reaches, that is where the announcement of truth will reach. In the adhan of Fajr, the words,
As-salatu khairun minan naum
must be recited twice so that people do not become lazy in getting up from their sleep.
There is an invitation to salah in the words,
Hayya alas salah
which is an important obligation of Allah at the time.
In the words,
Hayya alal falah
there is an invitation to the remainder of Deen which is a guarantee of success in this world and the hereafter.
The same words should be repeated at the time of the congregation, but after
Hayya alal falah
the following words should be said twice,
(Salah has begun.) This is called iqamah.
The adhan is delivered in order to call those people who are outside while the iqamah is delivered to invite those people who are in the musjid to join the congregation. Hence, the iqamah does not have to be uttered in a very loud voice. Such a tone which the worshippers can hear is sufficient. They have to be informed that the jama’ah is about to begin.
The person who delivered the adhan should recite the iqamah so that one person invites the people to the musjid and makes them stand up for salah. Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The one who recited the adhan should recite the iqamah.‛
Shah Waliullah (rahimahullah) writes that the wisdom of this is that when one person has recited the adhan and accumulated the virtues and rewards thereof, others do not have a right to challenge him now and deprive him of further rewards.
Responding to the Adhan and Iqamah
It is mustahab (preferable) to give a verbal and physical response to the factors which the mu’adhdhin is inviting to. The method of doing this is to say from the depths of the heart whatever the mu’adhdhin says and to verbally repeat the words he utters.
Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘When you hear the adhan, say whatever the mu’adhdhin says.‛
Responding to the adhan with the depths of the heart is a guarantee for jannah.
In a hadith of Sahih Muslim, it is mentioned that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘When the mu’adhdhin said Allahu Akbar and one of you said Allahu Akbar, then the mu’adhdhin said Ash hadu an la ilaaha illa Allah and he also said Ash hadu an la ilaaha illa Allah, then the mu’adhdhin said Ash hadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah and he also said Ash hadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah, then the mu’adhdhin said Hayya alas salah and he said La Hawla wa la quwwata illa billa, then the mu’adhdhin said Hayya alal falah and he said La Hawla wa la quwwata illa billa, then the mu’adhdhin said Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar and he also said Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar, then the mu’adhdhin said la ilaaha illa Allah and he also said la ilaaha illa Allah, if this was said with sincerity of the heart, he will enter jannah.‛
This hadith of Muslim Sharīf indicates that when the mu’adhdhin says,
Hayya alal falah and Hayya alal falah the respondent should say, La Hawla wa la quwwata illa billa (There is no power and might except from Allah).
This is a sort of way of seeking Allah’s assistance in order to respond to this call and to give it practical form because without any divinely granted ability, no act of virtue can be committed. This is actual submission whereby the slave completely hands himself over to the Master.
Similarly, at the time of iqamah, instead of saying Qadqamatis Salah one should say AqmahAllahu wa adamaha – May Allah always maintain the salah.
After the adhan, the respondent should recite salat ‘alan Nabi (durud) which is a further testification to the truth of the means by which Allah conveyed the message to us.
In a hadith of Sahih Muslim, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘When you hear the adhan of the mu’adhdhin, repeat the words he says, then convey salutations upon me because the person who conveys one salutation upon me, Allah sends down ten blessings on him. Then seek my wasilah (means). The wasilah is a place in jannah. Only one person from the slaves of Allah will achieve that place and I have hope that it will be me. Whoever seeks the wasilah for me, intercession will become compulsory for him.‛
In a hadith of Sahih Bukhari it is mentioned that Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Whoever hears the adhan and says,
Allahumma Rabba hazihid da’watit tammati was salaatil qaimati aat Muhammada nil waseelata wal fadheelata wab’as-hu maqqaamam mahmooda nillazee wa’attahu
(O Allah, the Lord of this perfect call and the established salah, grant Muhammad the wasilah and virtue and send him to the Muqame Mahmud – the praised position which you have promised.)
my intercession will become compulsory for him on the day of Qiyamah.‛
Thereafter, for a further acceptance of the mu’adhdhin’s call, recite,
Radheetu billahi rabbaw wabi Muhammadin rasoolan wabil Islaami deena
(I have been satisfied with Allah as my Lord, Muhammad as my messenger and Islam as my Deen.)
This is a verbal completion of the response to the adhan. Thereafter one should physically answer the call. Imam Nawawi states that it is mustahab (preferable) to verbally respond to the adhan for every person who hears the adhan, whether male or female, whether he has ablution or not, whether he is in a state of ceremonial purity (tahir) or not or whether it is a menstruating woman. However, a person who is in the toilet or one having intercourse or one in any similar state should not respond.
Similarly, a person performing salah, whether fard or nafl, should not respond. He should respond when he completes his salah. If he responded in salah, it is makruh (reprehensible) because this is an apparent shunning of salah. However his salah will not be invalid because the adhan is also the dhikr of Allah. However, if he said, Hayya alas salah, Hayya alal falah or As-salatu khairun minan naum, his salah will be nullified because this is human speech, if he is aware of the mas’alah. [Nuzhatun Nazirin]
Sayyidatuna Maymunah (radhiyallahu anha) states that once Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was speaking to a group of men and women. He said, ‘O women, when you hear the adhan and iqamah of this Abyssinian, repeat whatever he says. You will receive one hundred thousand stages for each letter.‛
Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) asked, ‘If this is the amount for women, what reward will the men receive?‛
Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Men will receive double the reward.’ [Jam’ul Fawaid]
Qadi Iyad (rahimahullah) states that the adhan is a concise invitation to the belief of iman. It includes both categories of iman: logical aspects as well as those heard from the prophets (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) because the beginning of iman is to establish the being of Allah Ta’ala and to show His perfect attributes and greatness. This has been done by the repetition of the words (Allahu Akbar). The words (Allahu Akbar), in spite of being so brief, express every form of perfection and splendour. (The oneness of Allah Ta’ala has been expressed by the words (la ilaaha illa Allah) while shirk (polytheism), which is the
complete opposite of unity, has been negated. This is actual tauhid – oneness – and the actual foundation of iman. Tauhid precedes everything else.
Then there is the testimony of the prophethood of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). After oneness, this testification is the greatest factor. The entire Shari’ah brought by Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is testified as being true. It takes the next step after tauhid. All these factors are the original obligations which complete the logical beliefs. After testifying to the prophethood, there is an invitation to salah. It has been mentioned after prophethood because its obligation became known through Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The intellect plays no part in this. Then there is an invitation to success. All the matters of the hereafter are included in this.
When the congregation is about to begin, these very words are repeated in the form of the iqamah. It includes an announcement that salah has begun. Before beginning the salah, one testifies these matters which are beliefs of iman, verbally and with the heart so that one can become pre-occupied in salah with a firm resolution and insight. The greatness and importance of salah must be kept in mind as well as the greatness of Allah for whom the salah is being performed. [Nuzhatun Nazirin]
In other words, five times a day for the five salahs, all the matters of iman are announced and admitted two times. Thereafter one is afforded the opportunity of presenting oneself in the court of Allah. This is only the grace of Allah.
The Fruits and Effects of Adhan
The fruits and effects of adhan are of two types: one is that the benefits are general for all those people who live in the area where the adhan is delivered. The second one refers to the specific benefits of the mu’adhdhin.
The general benefits and effects are several.
(1) Shaytan flees from the place where the adhan is delivered and he abandons the area wherever the voice of the mu’adhdhin reaches. It is reported by Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) in Sahih Bukhari that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘When the call of adhan is given, shaytan flees while passing wind, to the extent that he cannot hear the adhan. When the adhan is completed, he returns.‛
When shaytan flees, it is clear that satanic effects will also decrease at that time. The effulgence of the Merciful Almighty and blessings spread all around till where the mu’adhdhin’s voice reaches. Therefore the adhan should be recited in a loud voice so that the satanic effects are diminished far and wide. Darkness should dissipate and the word of truth should be elevated. In this way the light of truth can spread. Consequently, it is beneficial and a tried and tested method to recite the adhan wherever there is a plague or there are the effects of shaytan.
No one remains deprived of this benefit. Five times a day, falsehood has to flee from truth wherever the adhan is delivered.
(2) The city, town or village where the adhan is delivered is saved from the general punishment and wrath of Allah Azza wa Jal on that day. Imam Tabarani has narrated from Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) that Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘When the adhan is called out in any village, Allah saves that village from His punishment on that day.‛ [Jam’ul Fawaid]
It is quite clear that when the name of Allah is taken in a place and His mercy descends there, how can His punishment overcome them on that day? How can mercy and anger come together?
(3) Everything, whether living or non-living, man or other creations, Muslim or non-Muslim, is affected by the adhan and enjoys it wherever it is called out. It is for this reason that everything to which the voice of the mu’adhdhin reaches, supplicates for him and on the day of Qiyamah, will bear witness to his iman and Islam. These are the benefits of adhan which every person will receive and the mu’adhdhin himself will benefit. The benefits which accrue to the mu’adhdhin are several.
(1) Every living and non-living being, every dry and moist creation to which the mu’adhdhin’s voice reaches will seek forgiveness for him. On the day of reckoning, they will testify on his behalf. It is narrated by Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abdir Rahman Ibn Abi Sa’sa’ah (radhiyallahu anhu) that Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) said to him, ‘I see that you prefer living in the jungle and grazing the goats. When you are among your goats or on your farm, then deliver the adhan and call it out loudly because whichever human, jinn or other creation hears the sound of the mu’adhdhin, he will bear testimony for him on the day of Qiyamah. I heard this from Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
It is mentioned with more clarity in other narrations.
Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) states that Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The mu’adhdhin is forgiven to the extent where his voice reaches and every moist and dry thing bears testimony for him.‛ [Sunan Abi Dawud and Nasai]
Sayyiduna Bara’ (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Everything seeks forgiveness for the mu’adhin till where his voice reaches and every moist and dry thing testifies to this. He will receive the reward equal to all the worshippers.‛ [Jam’ul Fawaid]
2. The mu’adhdhins will be at ease on the day of Qiyamah without any fear. They will be sitting on chairs of musk. They will not be questioned. There will be no harshness in their reckoning.
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Three people will not experience extreme anguish on the day of Qiyamah nor will they be harshly reckoned. They will be sitting on mounds of musk while the creation is being questioned. They are: the one who recited the Qur’an for the pleasure of Allah, the one who made imamate for his people and they were pleased with him and the mu’adhdhin who calls out the adhan five times a day.‛ [Ibid]
3. The status of the mu’adhdhins adhan is equal to that of the martyrs in the path of Allah. Allah will fulfil whatever wish they express between the adhan and iqamah.
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The person who calls out the adhan with the hope of reward is like a martyr who is floundering in his blood. He can ask of Allah whatever he wants between the adhan and iqamah. (That is, his every desire will be fulfilled.) [Jam’ul Fawa’id]
4. The mu’adhdhins will have long necks and high stages on the day of Judgement. When they elevated the name of Allah in the world, they themselves will be elevated in the hereafter.
It is reported by Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) in Sahih Muslim that Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The mu’adhdhins will have the longest necks on the day of Qiyamah.‛
Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘If I take an oath, I will be completely truthful by saying that from among all people, Allah Ta’ala loves those who keep an eye on the sun and the moon, that is, the mu’adhdhins. They will be recognized with their long necks on the day of Judgement.‛ [Ibid]
These were some of the benefits specific with the mu’adhdhins which they will obtain in the hereafter.
Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that if the people come to know what is in the adhan and they have to draw lots, they will certainly do so. [Sahih Bukhari]
Looking at these virtues and merits of adhan made Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) comment that if he did not have the responsibilities of khilafah, he would have assumed the task of calling out the adhan. [Fathul Baari]
Amirul Mu’minin ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) used to say that he regretted not having Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) appoint Hasan and Husain (radhiyallahu anhum) as mu’adhdhins.
In short, the adhan which is regarded as a menial task and an ordinary announcement, is in reality a revolutionary announcement of truth which is called out by the caller of Allah five times daily. The truth of Islam is openly claimed thereby displaying the power and the might of the Muslims. There is no reason why a nation that elevates the name of Allah Ta’ala should itself not be elevated on earth. Allah is the greatest. There is no deity besides Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Peace and salutations be upon him.
The Actual Purpose of Adhan
You have been apprized of many important facts about the adhan. You have also learnt that the adhan is an important distinguishing feature of Islam which exposes the magnificence and loftiness of Islam.
Why has the adhan been accorded this much importance? The reason is that the actual aim of adhan is very high and noble, being the root of the religion of Islam. It is the real aim of the mission of all the prophets and messengers. The adhan is an open announcement and exposition of the Deen of Allah Ta’ala and a response to the satanic call. It is for this reason that shaytan braces himself to combat every major power but he cannot bear to even listen to the words of calling towards Deen. He flees so far away that he cannot hear the adhan. When the adhan is completed, he returns full of revenge due to the effect the adhan had on him. He begins to disrupt the salah of the worshippers and tries to disturb everyone. He creates all kinds of thoughts and whisperings to the extent that the worshipper even forgets he is in salah.
Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that when the adhan is called out, shaytan flees while passing wind. He goes so far away that he cannot hear the adhan any more. When the adhan is complete, he returns. When the worshippers stand up for salah and the iqamah is called out, he flees again. When the takbir is completed, he returns. He now endeavours to disturb the worshippers by means of whispering thoughts in their minds and reminding them of other events. They begin thinking of things which they never thought of before to the extent that they even forget how many raka’at they have performed. [Mishkat]
This whispering of shaytan in order to disrupt the salah is a response and an attempt to nullify the call of Allah. Shaytan adopted this stance out of extreme emotional revenge. It is for this reason that the method of combating this disruption of shaytan has been shown to the worshipper so that there is no difference in the concentration and humility of his salah.
The question arises as to how come shaytan flees from the adhan but does not flee from salah which is a higher form of worship. In fact, shaytan comes closer to the worshipper in salah and becomes a barrier between his soul and the salah. Yet salah is the most virtuous form of worship and the actual aim.
The actual cause of this confusion is that the status of adhan does not have any position in the minds but is merely regarded as an announcement for salah. However, adhan has a much more higher status and is a sign of the conciseness of Islam. The adhan, besides being a means of salah, is also an intended aim. The adhan therefore has two virtues. It is itself an important goal and is the means to another important goal. Since these two realities are separate, the specialities and virtues of each one will also be separate. For example, a speciality of adhan is that the sound of the adhan does not remain confined to the earth’s atmosphere. It goes into the heavens.
‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri has quoted from Al-Jami’ As-Saghir of ‘Allamah Suyuti that besides the sound of the adhan and the Qur’an, the sound of the people on earth does not reach the heavens. Only these two sounds reach the heavens directly.
It is narrated by Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) in Sahih Bukhari that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘To whichever jinn, man or other creation the sound of the adhan reaches, they will bear witness for the mu’adhdhin Qiyamah.‛
When the mu’adhdhin has elevated the call of truth, then all the creations that heard his call will testify to his iman on the day of Judgement. How can the one who invites others towards Islam and iman be himself bereft of them? How can he be beyond the obedience of Allah Ta’ala and His messenger? The mu’adhdhin of the musjid is no mulla but is in fact the caller of Allah who calls the people towards the Deen of Allah Ta’ala. He is performing the duty of breaking the false invitation of shaytan. Undoubtedly, shaytan will run away from such a call and all false satanic invitations will disintegrate in front of this call. When every moist and dry thing bears testimony to the faith of the mu’adhdhin, how can shaytan bear to see the fact that he is turning him away from Islam but the rest of creation which heard the adhan is testifying to his faith?
The sound of the caller of Allah goes above the skies as well. The creation in the skies also bear testimony to his faith. This is no low status for the caller to the Deen of Allah Azza Wa Jal. It is for this reason that the mu’adhdhin will be the highest on the day of reckoning as mentioned previously.
The recompense for any act is according to its condition. Since the mu’adhdhins raised their necks in the world to proclaim the truth, undoubtedly, the requirement of the grace of Allah Ta’ala is that their necks will be the highest on the day of reckoning. Their loud voices will be a means of their salvation and success. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) therefore said, ‘Whoever calls out the adhan for seven years with the hope of reward, will be guaranteed freedom from the fire.‛ [Hujjatullahil Balighah, vol.1, p. 189]
Why should he not achieve freedom from the fire of hell when he called out the adhan for such a long period without any recompense? This in itself bears testimony to the faith of his heart and that he is a faithful and obedient servant of Allah Ta’ala. His relationship with Allah is firmly created and through his arduous effort, has gathered together so much of divine mercy which is a tremendous capital. It is for this reason that the adhan is an independent portion of prophethood.
Shah Waliullah writes that the excessive virtues of adhan indicate that it is a distinguishing feature of Islam. Due to the adhan, a locality is termed Darul Islam – an Islamic nation.
Therefore when Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) heard the adhan, he held back and if there was no adhan in any locality, he attacked it.
The adhan is a portion of nubuwah because it is a means of encouragement towards the greatest worship in Islam, namely salah. Salah is the root of all virtue. The pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and the anger of shaytan cannot be earned from other acts as they are earned from transitive virtues and the elevating of the true word.‛ [ibid]
The adhan is in itself a distinguishing feature of Islam and a means to another distinguishing feature. It is a portion of prophethood and a means to another portion that is more important.
The adhan has also been instituted to expose the internal condition of the people, whether they have accepted the divine guidance and the Deen of Allah Ta’ala or not. It is therefore necessary for the one listening to the adhan to accept the call and respond to it so that there is an explicit completion of the purpose of adhan.
Responding to the adhan is necessary for every sane mature Muslim, to the extent that it is necessary for women to respond too, although they are not compelled to attend the congregational prayer. The response must not be brief but in detail. One has to reiterate whatever the mu’adhdhin says, word for word.
The adhan is also an invitation to salah and success which cannot be attained without the grace of the Almighty. Therefore one should, at this occasion seek assistance from Allah because man cannot achieve anything merely with his intention and resolve.
The one who does this is promised entry into jannah because he has reiterated the call of Allah verbally and has completed the act of submission physically. Due to the importance and grandeur of the call, he did not suffice on the detailed response only but was focussed towards the brief admission so that the aims of this invitation are properly submerged in the mind. Consequently, after the adhan, one is required to recite the following du’a:
Allahumma Rabba hazihid da’watit tammati was salaatil qaimati aat Muhammada nil waseelata wal fadheelata wab’as-hu maqqaamam mahmooda nillazee wa’attahu
(O Allah, the Lord of this perfect call and the established salah, grant Muhammad the wasilah and virtue and send him to the Muqame Mahmud – the praised position which you have promised).
Jabir (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates in Sahih Bukhari that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘My intercession becomes compulsory for the one who recites this du’a after listening to the adhan.‛
It is essential for the Noble Almighty to grant recompense for a virtuous deed. Therefore this du’a has been suggested. Another du’a to recite is:
Ash hadu an la ilaaha illa Allahu Wahdahu la shareeka lahu wa anna Muhammadan ‘Abduhu wa rasuluhu, Radheetu billahi rabbaw wabi Muhammadin rasoolan wabil Islaami deena
(I bear testimony that there is no deity besides Allah, the one. He has no partner and that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is His servant and messenger. I have been satisfied with Allah as my Lord, Muhammad as my messenger and Islam as my Deen.)
There is a narration of Sayyidunā Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas (radhiyallahu anhu) in Sahih Muslim that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Whoever reads this du’a after listening to the adhan, his sins will be forgiven.‛
In a narration of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibnul ‘Aas (radhiyallahu anhu) in Sahih Muslim, Nabi is reported to have said, ‘When you hear the adhan of the mu’adhdhin, repeat the words he says, then send salutations upon me because the person who sends one salutation upon me, Allah favours him with ten mercies. Then seek wasilah from Allah for me. It is a high stage in jannah which only lone slave of Allah will attain. I have hope to be that one slave. Whoever seeks wasilah for me, my intercession becomes compulsory for him.‛
Shah Waliullah (rahimahullah) writes that the order to supplicate for Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has been issued so that the acceptance of his Deen and choosing his love can be completed. [Hujjatullahil Balighah.]
This purpose of adhan is for all the people because in the adhan, there is an announcement of all those matters which are common in all the inspired books. These are the fundamentals of religion. For those who know the reality of salah and perform it correctly, the adhan is not merely an announcement of truth for them but a special invitation to present oneself in the court of Allah. It is as if a special announcer of Allah is announcing to the chosen servants of Allah, the ruler of all rulers, the king of all kings that the time to attend the court of the Almighty is in close proximity. A general assembly is to be enacted. Be informed and remain alert. Cleanse yourself and present yourself in His court. Now general permission has been granted to everyone to attend because the literal meaning of adhan is to announce and to grant general permission.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar and ‘Allamah Aini state that the literal meaning of adhan is to announce and to grant general permission.
The welcome to the court of the king of kings, the ruler of all rulers will be according to His call. Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that the mua’dhdhin is entrusted to announce that it is the time to attend the court of the Almighty. Therefore it is essential for the mu’adhdhins to be the best people who have the capability of inviting towards Allah’s court. They should be apprized of the etiquette and the conditions for attending this court because this is such a status for which the kingdom of the world can be sacrificed.
After becoming aware of lthe purpose of adhan and its virtues, one should thoroughly know the meaning and message of its words so that a person knows what a great matter he is inviting to and calling the people to a certain direction. If he himself is unaware of the meaning, how can he inform others?
The Meaning of the Words of Adhan
Firstly, the words (Allahu Akbar) – Allah is the greatest are recited four times in a loud voice. Greatness and majesty are for Allah alone. He is the most majestic and the greatest. He is higher than everything. Everything is a non-entity before Him and under His command. There is no reason why man should submit to any force, no matter how massive. By doing this, he will destroy the nobility of his humankind.
This admission, four times, will remove the fear and danger of every kind of power and force from the heart and mind. After the heart and mind have been cleansed from all forces besides Allah, say (Ash hadu an la ilaaha illa Allah) twice. This is a testimony that there is no deity besides Allah. Allah is the only being that is great. Only He can be worshipped and obeyed. Contact must only be made with Him. He is the true deity to be worshipped and is the creator of the universe. Only His laws should be obeyed who is the owner of every place and time. His reign is over all the worlds and the skies.
After testifying this two times, man reaches his original nobility of being a human. He is now freed from the slavery of everything besides Allah. He has now made contact with his Master, Lord, Owner, Creator and Sustainer. After embedding this reality in the mind, a tremendous revolution occurs in a person’s life. All his emotions, ideologies, thoughts and beliefs change. He abandons the entire creation and becomes devoted to Allah alone who controls the whole of creation. His fear is removed from every power.
Now he is not for the creation and the whole creation becomes his. We are Muslims and the entire world is ours.
After admitting this reality, the direction of man’s life changes. Now, instead of following his carnal self or shaytan, he obeys Allah and His prophets (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. He treads that path of life which is open for him from the first day. Therefore he immediately announces another reality: (Ash hadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah) – I bear witness that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the messenger of Allah.
Since Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the messenger of Allah, whatever message he brought is also true. Whatever laws of Allah he conveyed are all correct. The path he showed to mankind is the actual path to success because it is the path of all the messengers and the accepted servants of Allah. His Shari’ah is the concise embodiment of all the previous religions. It contains the best teachings of every Shari’ah. Admitting the prophethood is also an admission of tauhid – oneness – because all the previous nations became misguided due to granting their leaders the status of godhood. They began worshipping human beings and discarded the Lord of the universe. They became misguided themselves and misguided others.
When the prophethood of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is announced and admitted, it becomes an admission to the truth of all the previous prophets and divine books because Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) testified to the truth of all the previous apostles and scriptures.
Now when the path of success, salvation, worship and obedience has been specified, invite others towards it and call people from all sides by saying, (Hayya alas salah) – come to prayer and (Hayya alas falah) – come to success. This is what contains the success of life in this world and salvation in the hereafter.
‘Allamah Qurtubi (rahimahullah) states that in spite of the adhan having concise words, it contains all the essential beliefs because it firstly contains the greatness of Allah, which includes all the attributes of perfection. Then it announces pure tauhid – oneness. This negates disbelief and polytheism in totality. Then it contains the admission of risalah – prophethood. This contains an admission of all the factors that were sent via the messenger. Then there is an invitation towards success, salvation, worship and obedience. The success of the hereafter is dependent on this. The aims of the previous apostles (alayhimussalaam) and all the divine religions are also included in the adhan.
The Virtue of Iqamah
The virtue and greatness of iqamah is the same as that of adhan. The only difference is that the adhan is an invitation to all the people towards Deen and an open or general announcement to present oneself in the court of Allah.
Iqamah on the other hand is only for the specific people who have presented themselves in the court of Allah. They are sitting and eagerly waiting in the musjid to be in front of Allah, to converse and supplicate to Him and present their needs before Him.
Therefore Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that the person who calls out the adhan should recite the iqamah. The one who announced to the people that they should come for worship now has the right to make them stand up for prayer.
Adhan – An Amazing Discovery
Adhan: an incredible medium for the proclamation of Tauhid of the Almighty Allah and the Risalah of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), the sound of which constantly echoes around the globe. Indeed, a symbol of Islam.
Amazing though it sounds, but fortunately for the Muslims of the world, it is an established fact. Have a look at the map of the world and you will find Indonesia (an Islamic country), right on the eastern side of the earth’s central land mass. Indonesia consists of numerous small islands, the principle ones amongst them being Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Saibil, all of which are well known. It is the largest Islamic country in the world, with 180 million inhabitants. The number of non-Muslims here is negligible.
As soon as dawn breaks on the eastern island of Saibil, at approximately 5:30 am local time, Fajr Adhan begins. Thousands of Muadhdhins in eastern Indonesia commence proclaiming the Tawhid (oneness) of the Almighty, Omnipotent and Omniscient Allah and Risalah (universal apostleship) of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
The process then continues and advances towards the western islands of Indonesia. The time difference between the eastern and western islands of Indonesia is one and a half hours. Hence one and a half hours after the adhan has been completed in Saibil, it echoes in Jakarta on Java island. Sumatra then follows suit and before this auspicious process of the calling of adhan ends in Indonesia, it has already begun in Malaysia.
Burma is then next in line, and within an hour of its commencement in Jakarta, it reaches Dacca, the capital city of Bangladesh. No sooner the calling of adhan ends in Bangladesh, it has already prevailed in western India, from Calcutta to Srinigar. It then advances towards Bombay and the environment of the entire India resounds with this august proclamation.
Srinigar and Sialkot (a city in north Pakistan) have the same timing for adhan. The time difference between Sialkot, Kota, Karachi and Gowadar (a city in Baluchistan, a province of Pakistan) is forty minutes, and within this time, Fajr adhan is heard throughout Pakistan. Before it ends there, however, it has already begun in Afghanistan and Muscat.
The time difference between Muscat and Baghdad is one hour. Adhan resounds during this one hour in the environments of Hijaze Muqaddas (the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah), Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq. The time difference between Baghdad and Alexandria (or Iskandariyyah as it is known in Arabic) in Egypt is again one hour. Adhan continues to resound in Syria, Egypt, Somalia and Sudan during this hour. Alexandria and Istanbul (the principle city of Turkey) are situated on the same geographical longitude. The time difference between Eastern and Western Turkey is one and a half hours, and during this time it is echoed with the call to prayer.
Alexandria and Tripoli (the capital city of Libya) are located at an hour’s difference from one another. The process of calling adhan thus continues throughout the whole of Africa. Therefore, the proclamation of the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that had begun in the eastern islands of Indonesia reaches the eastern shore of the Atlantic ocean after nine and a half hours.
Prior to the adhan reaching the shores of the Atlantic, the process of Zuhr adhan has alreadycommenced in eastern Indonesia, and before it reaches Dacca, ‘Asr adhan has started. This has hardly reached Jakarta when the time of Maghrib becomes due, an no sooner has Maghrib time reahed Sumatra, then the time for calling the Isha adhan has commenced in Saibil. When the muadhdhins of Indonesia are calling out the Fajr adhan, the muadhdhins in Africa are calling out the adhan for Isha.
If we were to ponder over this phenomenon seriously and studiously, we would conclude the amazing fact that there is not a single moment when thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of muadhdhins around the world are not proclaiming the oneness of Allah and the apostleship of the noble Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) on the surface of this earth! Insha-allah, by the will of Allah, the Almighty, this universal and continuous calling of the adhan shall not cease until the day of Judgement, and we should all continue to make du’a for the same. [Adapted from the tabloid, Ar-Rasheed November 1996]
The Rules of Adhan
Adhan is the call to salah. It is sunnah to recite the adhan for the five daily salahs and for Jumu’ah salah.
1. If the adhan is being called out for any salah, it is essential that it be delivered during the time of that salah. If the adhan is delivered before the commencement of the time, it will not be valid. When the time enters, the adhan will have to be repeated irrespective of whether it was for fajr salah or any other salah.
2. The adhan and the iqamah have to be in Arabic and in exactly the same words as conveyed to us from Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). If the adhan is delivered in any other language, or in Arabic, but in different words; then this will not be valid even if, upon hearing it, people understand it as adhan and the purpose of adhan is fulfilled (i.e. even if people respond to the adhan by coming to offer their salah).
3. It is necessary for the muadhdhin to be a male. The adhan of a female is not proper. If a woman delivers the adhan, it should be repeated. If salah is offered without it being repeated, it will be as if the salah was offered without any adhan.
4. It is necessary that the muadhdhin be of sound intellect. If a child who has not reached the age of understanding, a mentally deranged person or an intoxicated person delivers the adhan; it will not be counted.
5. The sunnah method of calling out the adhan is that the person calling out the adhan should be free from the major and minor impurities (hadath akbar and hadath asghar). He should go to an elevated place away from the musjid, face the qiblah, insert his forefingers into both his ears, and say the following words as loud as possible without overstraining himself:
Allahu Akbar four times,
Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah twice,
Ash hadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah twice,
Hayya alas salah twice,
Hayya alal falah twice,
Allahu Akbar twice again, and
La ilaha illa Allah once.
When saying Hayya alas salah, he should turn his face towards the right in such a way that his chest and feet do not turn away from the qiblah. When saying Hayya alas falah, he should turn his face towards the left in such a way that his chest and feet do not turn away from the qiblah.
In the fajr adhan, after saying Hayya alas falah, he should add the words:
As-Salahu khayrum minan naum twice.
The total number of sentences of adhan are therefore fifteen while there are seventeen sentences for the adhan of Fajr.
The words of the adhan should not be uttered in a singing tune, nor should they be uttered in such a way that some of the words are said loudly while others are said softly.
After saying Allahu Akbar twice, the muadhdhin should wait to the extent that the person who is listening to the adhan can reply to it.
Apart from Allahu Akbar, even for the other sentences, he should wait for a similar period before continuing with the following sentences.
6. The method of iqamah is also the same. The difference is that it is preferable to call out the adhan outside the musjid, while the iqamah is called out inside.
Adhan is called out in a loud tone while iqamah is called out in a comparatively lower tone.
In iqamah one does not say As-salahu khairun minan naum‛. Instead, for all the five salahs, one has to say Qad qamatis salah‛ two times.
When saying the iqamah, one does not have to insert one’s fore-fingers into one’s ears. The reason for inserting the fingers into the ears is to raise the voice and this is not necessary when saying the iqamah.
During the iqamah, it is not necessary to turn to the right and left when saying Hayya alas salah and Hayya alal falah. However, some jurists are in favour of this.
More Rules Concerning the Adhan and Iqamah
1. For every fard-e-ayn salah, it is sunnat-e-mu’akkadah for males to call out the adhan once. This is irrespective of whether a person is a traveller or not, whether he is performing the salah in congregation or alone, or whether he is performing a qada salah or not. For jumu’ah salah, the adhan should be called out twice.
2. If a salah was missed for a reason in which all the people were involved, then the adhan for that salah should be delivered aloud. If it was missed for some specific reason, it should be delivered secretly in a soft voice so that people do not come to know of any missed salah by hearing the adhan aloud. The reason for this is that missing a salah is a sign of negligence and laziness and to be negligent and lazy in the affairs of Deen is a sin. It is not appropriate to announce or expose one’s sins.
If several salahs were missed and all are being performed at one time, it will be sunnah to call out the adhan for the first time only. As for the other salahs, only the iqamah is sunnah. However, it is mustahab to call out the adhan for each salah separately.
3. If a person is travelling and all his companions are present with him, it is mustahab and not sunnat-e-mu’akkadah, for him to deliver the adhan.
4. If a person offers his salah at home, whether alone or in congregation, then both the adhan and the iqamah will be mustahab for him on condition that the adhan and iqamah of the musjid of that area or town has already been called out. This is so because the adhan and iqamah of the area is sufficient for all the residents of that neighbourhood.
5. If a person goes to a musjid in which the adhan, iqamah and salah has already been performed, it will be makruh for him to deliver the adhan and iqamah when offering his own salah. However, if that musjid does not have any appointed imam or muadhdhin, it will not be makruh, but preferable.
6. If a person is in a place in which all the conditions for Jumu’ah salah are found and Jumu’ah is even performed there, yet despite this, he offers Zuhr salah instead of Jumu’ah salah, it will be makruh for him to call out the adhan and iqamah. This is irrespective of whether he offers the Zuhr salah due to some excuse or not, or whether he offers it before the completion of the Jumu’ah salah or after its completion.
7. It is makruh for women to call out the adhan and iqamah irrespective of whether they are offering their salah in congregation or individually.
8. Apart from the fard-e-ayn salah, adhan for any other salah is not prescribed – irrespective of whether it is a fard-e-kifayah salah, such as janazah salah, or a waajib salah, such as witr salah, the salahs of Id; or whether it is a nafl salah.
9. It is mustahab for the person who hears the adhan to reply to it, irrespective of whether he is a male or female, in a state of purity or impurity. Some ulama have said that it is wajib. But the preferred opinion is that it is mustahab.
Replying to the adhan means that the words which the muadhdhin says should be repeated. However, when replying to Hayya alas salah and Hayya alal falah, he should say, La hawla wa la quwwata illa billahil aliyyil azīm.
For As-salaho khairun minan naum, he should say Sadaqta wa bararta.
After the adhan, he should send salutations to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alay and then read the following dua:
10. On hearing the adhan of Jumu’ah, it is wajib to leave whatever one may be occupied with, and go for the Jumu’ah salah to the Jame Musjid. It is haram to occupy oneself in any transaction or any other sort of work.
11. Replying to the iqamah is also mustahab and not wajib. In replying to Qad qamatis salah, one should say Aqamahallahu wa adamaha.
12. In eight situations, an answer to the adhan should not be given:
(1) while offering salah,
(2) while listening to a khutbah irrespective of whether it is a khutbah of Jumu’ah or any other khutbah,
(3) when one is in a state of haid,
(4) when one is in a state of nifas, (5) while one is teaching or learning the knowledge of Deen, (6) while one is having sexual intercourse,
(7) while one is relieving oneself, (8) while one is eating, i.e. it is not necessary.
After having completed these occupations and much time has not lapsed since hearing the adhan, one should reply to it, otherwise one should not reply.
It is not necessary for the person who is calling out the adhan to respond to the adhan as well.
13. If a person forgets to reply to the adhan or intentionally does not reply to it and on the completion of the adhan, he remembers or decides to reply to it, he should reply to it if much time has not lapsed, otherwise he should not reply.
14. If considerable time has passed after having called out the iqamah and the congregation has not stood up as yet, the iqamah should be repeated. But if much time has not passed, it does not have to be repeated.
The iqamah for Fajr Salah has been called out but the imam has not offered his sunnah salah of Fajr as yet. If he occupies himself in offering his sunnah, then the time that he takes will not be regarded as a long time and it will therefore not be necessary to repeat the iqamah. However, if one occupies oneself with something that is not a part of salah, such as eating and drinking, then in this case the iqamah will have to be repeated.
15. While the muadhdhin calls out the adhan; he dies, falls unconscious, his voice breaks down completely or he forgets and there is no one to correct him, or his wudu breaks and he rushes to repeat it – in all these cases, it will be sunnat-e-mu’akkadah to repeat the adhan.
16. If a person’s wudu breaks while he is calling out the adhan or iqamah, it will be preferable for him to complete the adhan or iqamah and thereafter perform his wudu.
17. It is makruh for one muadhdhin to call out the adhan in two musjids. He should call out the adhan in the musjid in which he offers his fard salah.
18. It is the right of the person who calls out the adhan to call out the iqamah as well. But if after calling out the adhan, he goes away somewhere or permits someone else to call out the iqamah, it is permissible for that person to call out the iqamah.
19. It is permissible for several muadhdhins to call out the adhan at the same time.
20. The muadhdhin should complete his iqamah at the place where he commenced it. He should not move from place to place while reciting the iqamah.
21. Niyyah is not a condition for adhan and iqamah. However, one is not rewarded without making an intention. The intention is that one is calling out the adhan solely for the pleasure of Allah and for the reward of it, and for no other reason.
The Sunnats and Mustahabs of Adhan and Iqamah
The sunnats of adhan and iqamah are of two types. Some are related to the muadhdhin while others are related to the adhan and iqamah. We will first mention the sunnats related to the muadhdhin, and then those that are related to the adhan and iqamah.
Sunnats related to the muadhdhin
1. The muadhdhin has to be a male. The adhan and iqamah of a female is makruh-e-tahrimi. If a woman calls out the adhan, it will have to be repeated, but not the iqamah. This is so because repetition of the iqamah is not stipulated as opposed to the repetition of the adhan.
2. The muadhdhin has to be of sound mind. The adhan and iqamah of a mentally deranged person, intoxicated person or an immature child is makruh. Their adhan will have to be repeated and not their iqamah.
3. The muadhdhin must know the necessary rules applicable to him and he must also know the times of the different salahs. If an ignorant person calls out the adhan, he will not obtain the same reward as that of a qualified muadhdhin.
4. The muadhdhin must be pious and religiously-minded and he must be aware of the condition of the people – reminding those who do not attend the congregation. He must do this if he has no fear of anyone causing harm to him.
5. The muadhdhin must have a loud voice.
Sunnats related to the adhan and iqamah
1. The adhan should be called out at an elevated place outside the musjid. The iqamah should be called out inside the musjid. To call out the adhan inside the musjid is makruh-e-tanzihi. However, it is not makruh to call out the second adhan of Jumu’ah inside the musjid in front of the pulpit (mimbar). In fact, this is practised in all the Muslim countries.
2. The adhan has to be called out in a standing position. If anyone calls it out while sitting, it will be makruh and it will have to be repeated. However, if a traveller is on his mount or a person delivers adhan for his own salah, it will not have to be repeated.
3. The adhan has to be called out in a loud voice. However, if a person is calling out the adhan for his own salah, he has the choice to say it aloud or softly. Even then, there is more reward in saying it aloud.
4. It is mustahab to insert the fore-fingers into the ears at the time of calling out the adhan.
5. The words of the adhan should be said with a pause between them, while the iqamah should be said quickly. In other words, when saying the takbirs of the adhan, the muadhdhin should pause after every two takbirs so that those who are listening to the adhan can repeat the words. Apart from the takbirs, he should pause after every sentence and thereafter continue with the next sentence. If, due to some reason, he does not pause in this way, it will be mustahab to repeat the adhan.
If the iqamah was called out by pausing, it is not mustahab to repeat it.
6. When calling out the adhan, it is sunnah to turn towards the right and left when saying Hayya alas salah and Hayya alal falah. This is irrespective of whether the adhan is for a salah or for some other reason. However, his chest and feet should not turn away from the qiblah.
7. The Adhan and iqamah should be called while facing the qiblah as long as one is not mounted on an animal. It is makruh-e-tanzihi to call out the adhan and iqamah while one is not facing the qiblah.
8. At the time of calling out the adhan, it is necessary for the person to be pure from hadath-e-akbar (major impurity) and mustahab to be pure from both the major and minor impurities. At the time of calling out the iqamah, it is necessary to be pure from both the impurities. If a person calls out the adhan while in a state of hadath-e-akbar, it will be makruh-e-tahrimi and it will be mustahab to repeat that adhan. Similarly, if a person calls out the iqamah while in a state of major or minor impurity, it will be makruh-e-tahrimi but it is not mustahab to repeat the iqamah.
9. It is sunnah to say the words of the adhan and iqamah in sequence. If an error is made in the order of the adhan or iqamah, such an error should be rectified by repeating the misplaced sentence in its proper sequence, e.g a person says,
Ash hado anna Muhammadar Rasulullah before Ash hado an la ilsha illa Allahu,
or he says, Hayya alal falah before Hayya alas salah.
In the first instance, the sequence of the adhan is set in order by calling out,
Ash hado an la ilaha illa Allahu and then repeating,
Ash hado anna Muhammadar Rasulullah.
In the second instance, after saying,
Hayya alas salah,
he should repeat,
Hayya alal falah.
It is not necessary to repeat the entire adhan.
10. While calling out the adhan and iqamah, no other words should be spoken (This ruling is for the muadhdhin. It is not proper for those listening to the adhan and iqamah to talk, recite the Quran or occupy themselves in any other task. They should concentrate in replying to the adhan and iqamah. If a person is reciting the Qur’an, he should stop and concentrate on replying to the adhan and iqamah), even if they be a greeting or a reply to a greeting. If a person speaks while calling out the adhan or iqamah and he spoke considerably, he should repeat the adhan and not the iqamah.
Miscellaneous Questions Regarding Adhan
Question: Is it permissible to kiss the thumbs upon hearing the name of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) during the adhan?
Answer: Kissing the thumbs upon hearing the name of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has no basis in the Shari’ah.
Question: I noticed that the muazzin in our mosque, before giving adhan recites the following durood – sallallaho alan Nabiyye ummiye wa alihi sallallahoalayhi wassalam as salatau wa salaman alayka ya rasoollah. Is it correct to recite this before giving adhan as well as before iqamah?
Answer: If it is done silently by himself, then any form of Durood or Dhikr may be recited. The word, ‘Ya Rasulullah’ should not be used since many people attach wrong beliefs to these words. If these words are said aloud like the words of the Adhan and Iqamat, it is a bid’ah (innovation) and will be haraam.
Question: In replying to the adhan, should we say “sallahu alahai wasallam” while replying to “Ashadu Anna Muhammed ar Rasoolullah”? Are we supposed to say “sallahu alahi wasallam”?
Answer: According to the narrators of Hadith, we are supposed to repeat the exact words of the muadhdhin except for ‘Hayya alas Salah’ and ‘Hayya alal Falah’, There is no mention of saying the words, ‘Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam’. However, if one does so, without thinking it to be necessary, then there is no harm in it.
Question: Is the hadith that mentions replying back to ‘Qadqamatis Salah” unauthentic?
Answer: This Hadith is recorded by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan, Hadith 529. The chain of narrators have been classified as weak (in Mukhtasar al-Munzhiri, vol.1 pg.285). However, such a Hadith can be used to establish a mustahab act. The fact that it is weak does not necessitate its total rejection.
Question: The purpose of installing a transmitter and receivers at homes is because the adhan could not be heard with the normal microphone system. Is it permissible to install transmitters? At present the adhan, Jumu’ah khutbah and other special programs are being transmitted.
Answer: To install transmitters is mubah (permissible). There is no prohibition in Shari’ah for that.
The transmitters serve as a reminder for salat and an ideal opportunity for womenfolk to benefit from the discourses of the Ulama in the Musjid.
Question: In our town there are many adhans all at once. Should we wait for all the adhans to be over before praying. Sometimes we cannot hear the adhan properly.
Answer: A person should answer and comply with the adhan of his or her Musjid, i.e. the Musjid nearest to one’s house. There is no need to wait for all the adhans to finish.
Question: In our musjid, the adhan is recited quite loudly over the loudspeaker. The non-Muslim residents become annoyed. Should the loudspeaker not be toned down to avoid dispute and ill-feeling with the non-Muslim neighbours?
Answer: Yes, the system should be toned down. The Shari’ah does not instruct that the adhan be recited over a microphone system nor does it have to be excessively loud.
Question: Should the musallis respond to the second adhan recited in front of the mimbar on Fridays?
Answer: The response should be in the mind, without any lip or tongue movement. The du’a too should be read in the mind.
Question: If the muadhdhin’s wudu breaks during the adhan, what should he do?
Answer: He should complete the adhan.
Question: When reciting the Iqamah, should the muadhdhin stand immediately behind the imam in the first saff?
Answer: The iqamah may be recited from any position in any saff. No specific place has been allocated for the iqamah.
Question: What should be done if the adhan commences while one is reciting the Qur’an or performing wudu?
Answer: Halt the recitation of the Qur’an and respond to the adhan. One may resume the recitation after reciting the dua after adhan.
If the adhan begins while one is performing wudu, continue with the wudu, but respond to the adhan as well.
Question: In my masjid, the words, ‘Ya Rasulallah‛ are said after adhan and also by the Imam in the Friday Khutbah. Is this permissible?
Answer: ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Abi Layla (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Ka’b Ibn ‘Ujra (radhiyallahu anhu) met me in the Musjid. He said to me, ‘Should I not gift you something that I had heard from Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)?’ I replied, ‘Most certainly, please do so.’ He said, ‘We asked Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), ‘O Rasul of Allah, how should we send salat (blessings) upon you and the Ahlul-Bayt (members of your household)? For Allah has shown us only how to send salams (salutations) upon you (but not Salat)?’ Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, ‘Say, O Allah, send Salat (blessings) upon Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) like how you sent them upon Ibrahim (alayhissalaam). Verily You are the most worthy of praise, most honourable (the formula of Durood-e-Ibrahim).’ [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]
In this Hadith (tradition), Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) taught his Sahaba (radhiyallahu anhum) the way of sending Salat and Salam (blessings and salutations) upon him. Also we see no similarity between the way taught by Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the baseless custom prevailing nowadays.
Undoubtedly, Salat is a powerful blessing and a means of great rewards, provided it is carried out in the way shown by our beloved Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Neither has Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) nor the Sahaba (Radhiyallahu Anhum), Tabi’in (Rahimahumullah) and pious predecessors specified any time or mode for reciting of Durud and Salam as is the practice nowadays. Neither did any of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) nor Tabi’in carry out the practice that is now prevalent. In fact, they strongly opposed such innovations.
To specify certain times, e.g. after Fard (obligatory) prayers or after Jumu’ah, likewise, after adhan and to recite in a loud voice or in group form, etc. and to regard these practices as necessary and part of Deen is undoubtedly an innovation. It is narrated that Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) once heard of a group that had gathered in a Musjid reciting the Kalimah and Durud and Salam in a loud voice. He immediately confronted them and said, ‘This is a practice we have not seen in the time of Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). I regard you all to be only innovators.’ He continued to say this until he chased them all out of the Musjid.
Most definitely, we should make it a practice to recite Durud and Salam on Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as much as possible, but we should be careful to do this only in the way shown to us by Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself. [Ahsanul Fatawa vol.1 pg.363 ]
The Philosophy of Adhān
The following is an in-depth study into the inception and establishment of the adhan as expounded by Moulana Idris Kandhelwi in his book, Seeratul Mustafa.
After Iman (belief), Salah occupies the loftiest status in Islam. The performance of Salah with Jama‘at is of supreme importance. It is somewhat problematic for all the people to gather at a specific place and time without any form of announcement. When Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) brought this up in a consultation, someone suggested lighting a fire. Another person suggested the chiming of bells whilst another proposed blowing a trumpet. Rasulullsh (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) loathed the use of fire as this bore resemblance to the Zoroastrians. He objected to the chiming of bells due to its resemblance to the practice of the Christians and he was opposed to the use of a trumpet as it may be tantamount to emulation of the Jews. Without reaching any firm decision, the gathering broke up and everyone returned home.
During this period, ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) was shown the celebrated dream of adhan and iqamah. When he related his dream to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), the latter remarked: ‘This dream is true.‛ In other words, this dream is from Allah and it is free of nafsani (sensual) and Shaytani (satanic) influence. Although a categorical injunction cannot be established on the basis of a pious dream or inspiration, yet the endorsement issued by Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of the contents of this dream has actually made it acquire the status of divine revelation. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) instructed the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) to call out the adhan using the same words. The adhan subsequently became one of the sha‘air (salient features) of Deen.
Then again, the configuration and sequence of the words of adhan is also remarkable. These few words sum up the three basic fundamentals of Islam; tauhid (oneness of Allah Ta‘ala), risalat (prophethood) and the hereafter. The words Allahu Akbar describe the greatness and magnanimity of Allah Ta‘ala. The words Ash-hadu Alla ilaha Ilallah confirm the tauhid (oneness of Allah Ta‘ala) and negate polytheism. The words Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadar-Rasulullah affirm the prophethood of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). They are a proclamation of the fact that we have recognised Allah Ta‘ala and the method of worshipping Him through the medium of none other than Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
Following this proclamation of tauhid and risalat, the greatest form of devotion is salah and to this objective thewords of ‘Hayya ‘Alas-Salah’, summon the believers. And with the words ‘Hayya ‘Alal Falah’, a call to perpetual success is made and these words are a subtle reference to the hereafter as well. In other words, if you desire eternity and perpetual success, apply yourself to the sole worship of Allah Ta‘ala. The word success refers to the success of the hereafter. And finally the adhan is terminated with the opening words of Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ilallah. In other words, Allah Ta‘ala is the greatest and nobody is entitled to worship and devotion but Him. (Imam Qurtubi and others say: ‘The adhan, in spite of its limited number of words, comprises of a number of articles of faith. It commences with the greatness of Allah Ta‘ala. This also includes the very presence of Allah Ta‘ala. Thereafter, it mentions tauhid and negates shirk (polytheism). It then declares the risalat (prophethood) of Muhammad Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Immediately after Shahadah, it summons (the faithful) to a specific form of devotion because the knowledge of this devotion could only be gleaned from Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Thereafter it calls to success and this success is a reference to an eternal success. And in this is a subtle indication towards the hereafter. Finally the adhan, repeats the opening words to addmore emphasis to (its message).‛ [Fathul-Bari volume 2, page 62)]
The person whom Allah Ta‘ala has granted a little common sense will, by merely glancing over the translation of the adhan, realise that the adhan is an embodiment of d‘awat (invitation) to the truth and it is a voice that invites towards Allah Ta‘ala. On the contrary, the chimes of the Christians, the trumpet of the Jews and the conch-shell of the Hindus are merely objects of play and amusement. With the proclamation of Allah’s greatness and grandeur, with the declaration of His oneness and divinity, a devotee is able to reach Allah. He will never be able to reach the Almighty with the thumping of drums or the clanging of bells.
Persian couplet: “The path you are treading on is the path that leads to Turkey (whilst your intention is to go elsewhere)”
It seems like the words of the adhan were sanctioned through a dream because the adhan embraces proclamation of the prophethood of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). And to publicly proclaim this prophethood and to invite towards his Deen is a compulsion upon the servants and devotees.
Persian couplet: “It is better and more satisfying when the mysteries of the beloved are expressed by someone else.”
On the night of M‘iraj, Allah Ta‘ala directly instructed Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to establish Salah. And Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also heard the words of the adhan being called out as he was ascending and descending the levels of the heavens. It appears in Khasaisul-Kubra on the authority of Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) that an angel called out the adhan in the heavens and Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) heard it. [Khasaisul-Kubra volume 1 page 164]
Hadhrat ‘Ayeshah (radhiyallahu anha) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Jibril called out the adhan in the sky and he urged me forward to lead the Salah. So I led the angels in prayer.‛ [Khasaisul-Kubra volume 1, page 176]
Furthermore, after hijrah, when the need arose for a public announcement to summon the faithful to salah, ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) was taught the words of the adhan and iqamah in a dream. When he heard the dream being related to him by ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu), Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) instantly realised that these were the words of adhan and iqamah he had heard whilst in M‘iraj. This is why, on hearing the words, he spontaneously declared: ‘This is an authentic dream.‛ In other words, this dream precisely corresponds to what I had heard whilst awake on the night of M‘iraj.
There are conflicting narrations in regards to the (number of) words of the adhan and iqamah. According to the adhan of Abu Mahdhurah (radhiyallahu anhu), tarj‘i (A reference to certain words of the adhan being repeated; first softly and then relatively loudly) is an integral part of the adhan. Hence, the adhan will comprise of nineteen words whilst the iqamah will comprise of seventeen words. Imam Shafi‘i (Rahimahullah) has opted for the adhan of Abu Mahzurah (radhiyallahu anhu).
Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahimahullah) has preferred the adhan of ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) because after all, the actual legislation of the adhan is linked to the dream of ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu). Furthermore, Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) also had the identical dream that corresponds to the adhan of ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu).
Shaikh Ibn I‘lan Makkirm (rahimahullah) writes in Sharh Kitabul Adhkar, volume 2 page 70, that it is cited in Tabrani’s Awsat that Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) also saw the identical dream.
Then Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) declared the dream to be authentic and instructed Bilal (radhiyallahu anhu) to call out the adhan accordingly because the adhan of ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) was identical to the adhan Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) heard Jibril (alayhissalaam) calling out in the heavens when he undertook his journey of M‘iraj. And at the urging of Jibril (alayhissalaam), Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) led the angels in salah. It appears in a Hadith that when ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) related his dream to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), he advised him, ‘Teach the words of adhan you were taught in the dream to Bilal because he has a louder voice than you.‛
Thereafter, during the lifetime of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and in his very presence, Bilal (radhiyallahu anhu) continued calling out the adhan in exactly the same words that were taught to him by ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu).
Furthermore, on the basis of authentic and explicit Ahadith, it is categorically established that the adhan of ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) did not contain tarj‘i. Also, as mentioned above, Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) and ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) saw exactly the same dream as ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid radhiyallahu anhu (and this dream makes no mention of tarj‘i).
For these reasons, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahimahullah) pronounces the adhan of ‘Abdullah Ibn Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) that is mentioned in a number of Ahadith as more appropriate.
Since the adhan is one of the Shi‘ar (salient features) of Islam and its words contain a form of distinctive spiritual illumination and barakat (blessings), the Shari‘ah has enjoined calling out the adhan in the ear of a newborn child so that the words of tauhid and risalat are the first words to land on the child’s ears upon his entry into this world. This will enable the child to renew his pact of alastu [ i.e. A reference to the pact every soul had taken with Allah Ta‘ala in the realm of souls wherein Allah Ta‘ala questioned the souls saying: ‘Alastu Birabbikum….‛ (Am I not your Lord?) Hence the name ‘the realm of Alastu’.]
The Benefit of Responding to the Adhan
The adhan is called out for the fard salats. For those who listen to the adhan, according to some scholars it is mustahabb (preferable) to respond to the adhan while others are of the view that it is wajib (compulsory). [Namaze Masnun p.253.]
The person who responds to the adhan regularly with respect and reverence and shuns all innovations, will Insha Allah, be blessed with uttering the kalimah i.e La ilaha ilah Allah at the time of death. What greater good fortune can there be? Moulana Zul Fiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi (Damat Barakatuhum) has on numerous occasions quoted Moulana Ahmad Ali Lahori (Rahimahullah) as saying that it was his experience that whoever regularly responded to the adhan was granted the good fortune of reciting the kalimah at the time of death. [Nabi Karim Ki Pasandidah Namaz, p. 143]
The reason for this is that when one is about to die, those around him are commanded to recite the kalimah in a loud voice, so that he could hear it and also begin reciting the same. He must not be commanded to read the kalimah. The same condition is found in responding to the adhan, namely, one person is calling out the kalimah and the listener is responding to it. In this manner, a habit is created in the listener to recite the kalimah as soon as he hears it. This habit will be of immense benefit at the time of death.
One who is not in the habit of responding to the adhan, may perhaps say, ‘onions, potatoes‛ or begin singing or doing some action that he habitually committed during the course of his life. Some people respond by saying, ‘I have committed sins my whole life. Now what benefit is there in reciting the kalimah?‛ In this way, a person rejects the kalimah at this most crucial hour. May Allah save us from an evil consequence.
How Do We Treat Our Muadhdhins
When the musjid committee employs a muadhdhin, there is no clear-cut job description detailing what is expected of him. As a result, the muadhdhin find himself responsible to the entire congregation, rather than the appropriate authorities. He is thus expected to be a security officer, a toilet cleaner or a gardener coupled with the noble task of calling out the adhan.
Similarly, there is a stark lack of consideration for the duration of service when it comes to leave, allowances, etc. Muadhdhins are totally neglected in the field of education and training and there is an absence of opportunities for personal development. Many muadhdhins undergo poor social conditions because their living quarters are not conducive to decent living standards. Muadhdhins generally hold the perception that conditions of employment such as punctuality for salah are not uniformly enforced between them and the imams, who may sometimes be late or even absent from salah without the reprimands the muadhdhins receive.
The musjid trustees assume a position of authority which has to be discharged with compassion and justice. Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Woe to the rulers, leaders and trustees. On the day of Resurrection, some people will wish they could be suspended between the heaven and the earth rather than having to face the burden of their responsibilities.‛ [Sahih Ibn Hibban]
After all, the muadhdhin is a human being who can err and slip. Overlook his faults and treat him justly just as you would treat any other human being. He is entitled to decent working conditions and a reasonable salary.