Lamya's Corner

"There was for Saba, aforetime, a sign in their homeland [Yemen] two gardens to the right and to the left . . . be grateful to Him[Allah] . . .But they turned away, and We sent against them the flood released from the Dams [Maarib dam]" (Qur'an. Saba:15-16)

2nd Day Of Divine Link: Fiqh Of Salah With Sh. Yasir Birjas [Part 4] May 29, 2011

Filed under: Seminar Notes — lamyaalmas @ 8:04 pm

Chapter 3: Adhan and Iqama

Adhan and Iqama—both forms of public announcement of Salah [one to alert that the signs of the start time of Salah has appeared, and the other indicates that the actual performance of the Salah has begun]. These show the value of Salah.

1. What is the adhan? Technical definition: “A specific call and pronouncement, given during the time of prayers, as a notification and an indication to their starting time.”

2. Virtue of adhan: If word got out of the virtue of calling out the adhan, we would see people racing to it. All who listen to the Mua’dhen [person calling out the adhan] or hear him, will testify to him.


Abu Hurayrah (raa) narrates the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “If people would know what is there (as reward) in (calling for) adhan and (praying) in the first row, they would have to draw lots for them (to avoid conflict over them).” [Bukhari]

The Mua’dhen will be honored on the day of judgment for the Prophet (saw) said, “On the Day of Judgment, the Mua’dhins will come having the longest necks.” ‘Longest neck’ symbolizes honor, and may even mean physically so they are recognized among people on the day of Judgment. It is also a sign of beauty, we today talk about long swan like necks in some cultures.

 3. Excellence of Mu’adhen: he is a trustee. In Muslim lands, it is the only job done on time, and if not then he is the only person who will be fired from his job for not doing it.

Abu Hurayrah (raa) narrates the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The Imam is a guarantor, and the mua’dhen is a trustee. Of Allah! Guide the imams and forgive the Mua’dhen’s.” [Abu Dawood and Nisa’]

On hearing the Adhan, we should assume that the Mua’dhen has done his job and called it at the correct time.

4.      The story of the Adhan:

There wasn’t a dire need for it at first in Makkah because the number of Muslims was small. Plus they prayed individually for the most part. But when the Prophet (saw) arrived in Al Madinah , the number of Muslims grew and increasingly so, and out of the convenience of now having a Masjed [Masjed Al Nabee] congregational prayer  in Madinah was regularly performed. Muslims would come to prayer by estimation and because of margins of error sometimes they were too early and sometimes too late.  They would call out “As Salah ul Jami’ah” and whoever heard it would come, and whoever didn’t would miss it. They definitely needed a solution. The Prophet (saw) asked his companions for advice. Some suggested that they blow a horn like the Jews; others suggested that they ring bells like the Christians do in their churches. Others even suggested that they kindle a first like the fire worshippers. The Messenger (saw) was not satisfied with any of these suggestions and waited for someone to come up with a better idea.

One day Abdullah ibn Zayd came to the Messenger and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I had a beautiful dream last night.” “What was the dream you saw?” the Messenger asked Zayd. Zayd answered, “I’ve seen that a man wearing green garments taught me the words of the adhan and advised me to call people with these words.” He then recited the words of the Adhan. The Messenger (saw) recognized that the dream of Zayd was true. Zayd was asked to teach the words to Bilal since he had a more beautiful voice. Bilal stood up and called the Adhan as we know it today, and his voice resounded throughout the city of Al Madinah, and on hearing it Muslims started coming to the Masjed. On hearing it, Umar ibn Al Khattab came running to the Prophet (saw) saying, “O Messenger of Allah, an angel taught me that same words in my dream last night” and the Messenger of Allah said, “Alhamdullilah.” in recognition that it was not a random dreams that Shaytan was involved in. [Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah]

What is the purpose of the adhan? It is calling Muslims to come to salah and hence come to success.

5. The ruling of Adhan: it is not obligatory, but highly recommended [in other words Mustahab] according to the majority of the ulema. Imam Shafi’ee says it is fard kifayyah  [meaning a communal obligation] and hence if no one calls for the adhan in a community then the entire community bears the sin.

6.      Conditions of Adhan:

a)      The call should be given after the start of salah time—please refer to salat start time details here.

b)      To be in Arabic language. [Fact:  The only time it was performed in a language other than Arabic was during the time of Kamal Attaturk who cancelled the Arabic element in Turkey altogether. So much so that he ordered that the Adhan be done in Turkish as well. Today it is done in Arabic language. Clip ]

c)      Adhan should be performed by a Muslim, male who has to believe in these words. What if a non-Muslim offers to call the adan? He is not qualified, as it is not just the words but the actual belief in the words as well. Sisters can do it among sisters only.

d)     To be loud enough for people to hear, so should be called from where people can hear. Today with technology and high tech microphones this is not much of a problem. Only today in the states we are not allowed to call it out in public but is enclosed within the Masjed.

e)      To maintain the order of its statements. What if you make a mistake? Fix it and continue.

f)       To be performed by one individual in it’s entirety. It is not acceptable to split statements of the Adhan between a number of people.

Check these out: This is called Adhan Al Juwab, in which there is a main Mua’dhan and a choir behind him, see clip. This is still done in Syria. In the past, to amplify the sound in a Masjed that was too big, they would have a Mua’dhen for each corner, this second scenario is okay. Here’s another Bida’a. It is important to note that the Adhan is a public announcement and not a public display, and should be performed as it was during the time of the Prophet (saw).

What are the words of the Adhan and what do they mean?






الله أكبر

Allahu Akbar

God is Greatest


أشهد لا اله إلا الله

Ash-had al-la ilaha illa llah

I bear witness that there is no God except the One God.


أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله

Ash-hadu anna Muħammadan rasulullah

I bear witness that Muhammad is God’s Messenger


حي على الصلاة

Hayya ‘ala-salahh

Come to salat (prayer, worship)


حي على الفلاح

Hayya ‘ala ‘l-falah

Come to success


الصلاة خير من النوم

As-salatu khayrun min an-nawm

Salat (prayer, worship) is better than sleep


الله أكبر

Allāhu akbar

God is Greatest


لا إله إلا الله

La ilaha illallah

There is no god except the One God.


Notes on Adhan: In Arabic what is called Af’aal al Tafdheel  is used, which is completely inclusive. When we say  Allahu Akbar [meaning the greatest  it implies that Allah is greater than everything] So, in essence Allah is greater than everything you are doing when Salah time comes. It sets your priority right then and there.

Why is it that you believe that Allah is greater than everyting? Because you bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah.

Come to the Salah? Come to the Falah [Success]? It is not even success—but rather the ultimate and absolute success in this world and the hereafter so the meaning is much more comprehensive than the English translation of the word.

Then again a reminder, that Allah is greater. So remember Allah is greater, and that should translate to, “Leave whatever you are doing and respond to the call for prayer.”

Note: For Salaat Al Fajr another statement is added to remind you to wake up. The statement is “Salah is better than sleeping.”

Q. Are there any other forms of Adhan? In the Maliki format, especially used in North Africa, Libya and parts of Sudan they add Allahu Akbar at the beginning.

8. How many Adhans are there for Fajr Salah?

First opinion: Two Adhans, one before the actual time of fajr [to wake a person up] and one upon the start of Salat al-fajr time [Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmed]

Second opinion: There should be one Adhan for fajr, upon the start of the actual time for fajr [according to Abu Hanifah].

Third opinion:  If there are two Mu’adhins in one locality, then one should call before the actual time, and one for the actual time of fajr [Scholars of Hadith].

9. Etiquettes of Adhan:

a)      Purification: no t obligatory, but is highly recommended.

b)      Face the direction of the Qiblah: No, you do not have to face the Qiblah; you should be facing the people whom you are calling out to. Today we have microphones to amplify the voice. Bilal would call out Adhan at the door, or the roof of the Masjed. Adhan is to call the people, and is not just to fulfill an obligation

c)      Calling from an elevated area: today no need with microphones. When there is no electricity then it is necessary to climb minarets or high/elevated areas to call out the Adhan.

d)     Standing while calling Adhan: Do not have to, but is highly recommended.

e)      Insert index fingers into the ears: Bilal covered one ear with one hand. This is just simply to amplify the voice. This is not a virtue of any kind.

f)       Slowing down while chanting the Adhan: you have to slow down for clarity, don’t kill it. On the other hand, don’t take hours. Average Adhan time is 2 minutes 30 seconds. Should not take longer than the Salaah itself. You need to beautify the Adhan with your voice, if not then give it to someone else.

g)      Follow the rules of Tajweed: observe the rules of tajweed. What if a Mua’dhen doesn’t observe rules of tajweed, is his Adhan still valid? It is valid but does not sound as beautiful. And when you elongate [as in medd in tajweed],  it should not be more than 6.

h)      Turning the face right and left upon saying the two “haya ‘ala . . .’: No,  it does not matter. Bilal did it because he wanted to spread his voice to different directions. You can of course to maintain the Sunnah. Today with the presence of microphones there is no practical need for it.

i)        It is better for the Mua’dhen  who calls the Adhan to call the Iqamah as well

j)        For the listeners to repeat after the Mua’dhen—but remember you should repeat it to yourself, so loud enough for just you to hear and not be a distraction to others.

k)      Adhan should not be interrupted by foreign speech—do not interrupt it to answer a phone call for instance.

l)        People who are in the Masjed should not leave after Adhan has been called unless there is a valid reason, for the delay of the Salah after the Adhan.  But if usual it is disliked to leave. In leaving you are following in the footsteps of Shaytan, who runs and escapes on hearing the Adhan.

10. The dua after the Adhan: Say it in Arabic, so memorize it—here is a translation of the dua “O Allah Owner of this perfect call and Owner of this prayer to be performed, bestow upon Muhammad al-wasilah [a station in Paradise] and al fadilah [a rank above the rest of creation] and send him upon a raised platform which you have promised him. Verily, You never fail in Your promise. “

Is speaking during Adhan permissible? It is not Haram to do so, but not recommended. It is recommended that you say the dua after Adhan.

11. What is Iqamah? “Iqamah is the call to stand up in order to establish the salah.” It is often called “another Adhan” but only you don’t repeat the lines as you do in the Adhan, but just say each line once, although this is a point of difference between scholars as will be discussed in the next point insha Allah.

12. What are the words of the Iqama? By unanimous agreement, the statement of the Adhan should be repeated in the Iqama and the statement “qad qamat is-salah” [the time for the establishment of the salah has come] should be added to it after saying “hayya ala-l-falah”

Scholars differ on the number of times each statement is repeated in the iqamah, holding three opinions:

First opinion: to repeat the statement of the adhan once each, and the statement “qad qamat is-salah” twice [Shafi’I and Ahmed].

Second opinion: Same as the first opinion except that the statement “qad qamat is-salah” should be pronounced once [Malik].

Third opinion: The iqamah should be like the Adhan in repeating each statement twice including the statement “qad qamat is-salah” [Abu Hanifah].

Q. Can we call Iqama while walking? Yes it is a practical call, and not ritualistic.

13. When should the people stand up for Salah? The people in the Masjed should stand up and line up upon seeing the imam entering the prayer area to perform the Salah.  Bilal used to say the Iqamah the moment the Prophet would come to lead the prayer.

14. Scenarios related to the Adhan and Iqama:

a) Can the Adhan be given before the beginning of the Salah time? Yes, for Fajr and Jumuah.

b) Can a blind person call the Adhan? Yes, why ever not.

c) Should an individual praying alone call the Adhan and Iqama? Yes, they can but they don’t have to. Why would they even want to? Well, for some people it helps get them into the mood for Salah.

d) Should a person who enters a Masjed after the congregational Salah is over call the Adhan and Iqama? No. But if it is a different congregation  then  Iqama is enough.

e) Is it permissible to use the new universal Adhan system? In Amman / Jordan this system is in place. This system unifies the Masajed and uses a radio to broadcast the Adhan called out live [remember it is not pre-recorded. It is impermissible to pre-record and then flip a switch at the time of the Adhan]. The virtue of Adhan will eventually die out if it is used everywhere, so it is better to call out the Adhan.

f) Which is better, reading the Qur’an or repeating after the Mua’dhen? Repeating after the Mua’dhen is better as it is only done at specific times of the days.

g) Should the Adhan be used for anything besides the Salah? Yes, it also alerts the community to matters of relevance. It is even called out during Ruqyah  as Shaytan and the Jinn run away, it can also be called out in the corners of the house for the same reason.

h) Does the Iqama nullify the nafl salah?  If someone enters the Masjed and started praying the sunnah for duhr for instance, according to Abu Hanifah, that person should continue until finished even if they are going to miss a raka’a of the fard salah.  The Ulema claim that the following hadith  means that it does not nullify the Salah, but it is not right to continue,  “When the Iqama has been called, there should be no other prayer except for the obligatory one.” So, according to this opinion if you are at the beginning of the salah and know that you will not catch takbeerat al ihram, then leave the salah. If you can finish the salah before the imam starts the obligatory salah or you are able to catch the first raka’a , then go ahead and finish it. You can pray Tahiyyat Al Masjed especially during Jumuah, while the Adhan is going on.

Savor the Sweetness

1)      In non-Muslim countries that don’t respect order, time, etc. the Adhan is the only organized and punctual part of their lives. If anything, this shows that Ibadaat [forms of worship] teach etiquettes.

2)      Non-Muslims who visited Muslim lands are amazed by the Adhan, indeed it is among their most memorable experiences.

3)      Adhan makes a land a Muslim land.

4)      It should be the first thing that child hears when they are born. Why? Is a speculation. A child can hear voices while it is in the womb, and so the mother should read Qur’an to it often and should repeat the Adhan. So, when they come out, they find it familiar when the Adhan is performed in one ear and the Iqama in the other. Check out this document from Tuhfat Al Wadood أحكام الطفل في الصلاة (1) on the ruling for children here [Arabic Only, please let me know if you find a translated version]

5)      Adhan has a profound meaning, that goes beyond just the sound of it.

Action Item

  1. Memorize the words of the Adhan and Iqama

  2. Listen to an expert Mu’adhen over the internet—here are some examples Video 1 , Video 2 , Video 3

  3. Practice the chanting of the Adhan and Iqama

  4. Ask a learned person or the Imam to check your Adhan style for you.

  5. Go to your local Masjed before Salah time, and take permission to give the Adhan.


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