The adhān (lit. an announcement) is an announcement of the time of prayer in the words of h. 3, on hearing which Muslims flock to the mosque or to a place of prayer. and the iqāmah (lit. setting upright of a thing or establishing an affair) is a similar call in the words of h. 4, at which those gathered in the mosque arrange themselves into ranks and the prayer service is started. Though prayers were said in congregation from the very start when this institution was established very early at Makkah the adhān and the iqāmah were introduced after the flight to Madīnah. But the adhān is not only an announcement to the people to gather together for prayer; it is as well a declaration of the principles of Islām, made with a loud voice, from every locality inhabited by Muslims. It is an announcement to the whole world five times a day as to what Islām is and what it stands for. In the shahādah there is a declaration of the basic principles of Islām that there is no god but Allāh--God is only One--and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh. In the takbīr there is the declaration that Allāh is the greatest of all and that, therefore a Muslim bows before none but Allah--Allāhu Akbar the watchword of Islām is repeated no less than six times in the adhān. In hayya 'ala-l-salā (come to prayer) there is the declaration of the real message of religion which is the realization of the divine in man. This can only be attained through prayer, by drinking deep at the Divine source. In hayya 'ala-l-falāh (come to success) we are told that success or full development of the human faculties, can be attained only through prayer or the realization of the divine in man.
The adhān thus serves a double purpose; it is an announcement of the time of prayer and at the same time an announcement of the principles of Islām and the significance underlying them. It replaces the meaningless ringing of a bell or the blowing of a trumpet by the most effective propaganda of religion that can be thought of. To everyone's door, nay, to his very ears. is carried the message every morning, every noon, every afternoon, every evening and at the time of going to bed that the Unity of God and the messengership of Muhammad, peace
and blessings of Allāh be on him, are the fundamental principles Islām, and that any one can attain to complete self-development through the realization of the divine in him, which is brought about by prayer.
Muslims must give up all business on hearing the call for prayer (v. 1). How adhān was started is stated in hh. 1, 2, while h. 3 gives the words of the adhān and h. 4 the words of the iqāmah. Hh. 5-8 relate to the mode of delivery of the adhān, while hh. 9, 10 show that the adhān must be delivered from a high place and in the loudest voice so that it may reach the largest number of people, The deliverer of the adhān must be a man who is respected for his virtues and he should take no remuneration for this service (hh. 11, 12). The call must be obeyed (h. 13). The words of the adhān should be repeated when it is being delivered, and a prayer must be offered after it has been delivered (hh. 14-16). The adhān may be called out earlier than the time of prayer if there is some other object in view (h. 17). Hh. 18. 19 relate to the delivery of the iqāmah.
1 It is reported about Ibn 'Umar that he used to say,
The Muslims when they came to Madīnah used to gather together and they made an appointment for prayers; no call was given for it. So they talked about it one day. Some of them said, Have a bell like the bell of the Christians; others said, Rather a bugle like the horn of the Jews; 'Umar said, Would
you not appoint a man who should sound a call for the prayer.1 The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said, "O Bilāl! get up and give a call for prayer."
2 Anas said,
When the number of people increased, they conversed that they should make known the time of prayers by some means which they may recognize. So they mentioned that they should light the fire or
1. It appears from other hadīth that the portion that follows relates to another occasion. A consultation was held but nothing was decided then, though 'Umar seems to have made a suggestion that, instead of ringing a bell or blowing a horn, a man should be appointed to give a call for prayers. According to one hadīth 'Abd Allāh ibn Zaid was shown in a vision how to give a call for prayer. So when the Messenger of Allāh came the next day, he informed him: O Messenger of Allāh! I was half asleep and half awake when there came to me one who showed me how to deliver the adhān. The narrator of the Hadīth added, 'Umar had been shown it twenty days previously but concealed it, then he informed the Holy Prophet (AD. 2:27). Bukhārī refers to this by quoting 'Umar as saying, Would you not appoint a man who should give a call for prayer. It was, however, the Holy Prophet's order--or maybe, he himself had received a revelation, similar to the visions of 'Abd Allāh and 'Umar as some reports show--which gave the sanction to the adhān.
ring a bell. Then Bilāl was commanded to callout the adhān, repeating the words, and to say the iqāmah, uttering the words only once.
3 Abū Mabdhūrah said,
I said, O Messenger of Allāh! Teach me the way of delivering the adhān. He said, So he touched his forehead (and) said:
"Thou shouldst say:
'Allāh is the Greatest, Allāh is the Greatest, Allāh is the Greatest, Allāh is the Greatest.'
Thou shouldst raise thy voice with it; then thou shouldst say,
'I bear witness that there is no God but Allāh, I bear witness that there is no God but Allāh, I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh, I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh.'
Thou shouldst lower
thy voice with it; then thou shouldst raise thy voice with the bearing of witness,
'I bear witness that there is no God but Allāh, I bear witness that there is no God but Allāh, I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh, I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh. Come to prayer, Come to prayer; Come to success, Come to success'.
Then if it is the morning prayer, thou shouldst say, 'Prayer is better than sleep' 'Prayer is better than sleep';
(Then thou shouldst say),
'Allāh is the Greatest, Allāh is the Greatest, there is no God but Allāh.'"2
2. The repetition of the shahādah a second time as stated in this hadīth is known as tarjī' (lit. returning to a thing again and again). As the previous hadīth and the one that follows show, the general practice in the Holy Prophet's time was that the adhān consisted of fifteen sentences, Allāhu-Akbar four times, ashhadu an lā ilāha illa-llāh twice, ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasūlu-llāh twice (both sentences beginning with ashhadu are known as the shahādah) hayya 'ala-l-salā (pronounced 'ala-s-salā) twice (turning the face to the right), hayya 'ala-l-falāh twice (turning the face to the left), Allāhu Akbar twice and lā ilāha illa-llāh once. The tarji' or repeating the two shahādah sentences twice again in a still louder voice seems to have been resorted to only occasionally. In the adhān for the morning prayer the sentence al-salātu (pronounced as-salāt) khair-un mina-l-naum (pronounced mina-n-naum) was added after hayya 'ala-l-falāh, and repeated twice.
4 Ibn 'Umar said,
In the time of the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, (sentences of) the adhān used to be repeated twice, and (those of) the iqāmah (were uttered) only once, with this exception that he used to say, Prayer is ready, Prayer is ready.3
5 Sa'd reported that
The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, commanded
3. As compared with the adhān, the sentences were uttered only once in the iqāmah, according to this Hadīth. the significance being that sentences that were uttered twice in the adhān were uttered once in the iqāmah. The iqāmah thus consists of Allāhu Akbar being uttered twice--in the adhān it is uttered four times--each of the shahādah sentences once, hayya 'ala-l-salā and hayy'ala-l-falāh each once (without turning to right or left), qad qāmati-l-salā twice, Allāhu Akbar and lā ilāha illa-llāh once.
But the iqāmah may also consist of all the sentences of the adhān with the addition in its proper place of qad qāmati-l-salā uttered twice. Between the delivery of the adhān and the iqāmah there is another difference. The sentences of the adhān are delivered leisurely and in as loud a voice as possible, while the delivery of the iqāmah is marked by quickness.
Bilāl to put his two forefingers into his ears (when delivering the adhān); this, he said, would help in the raising of thy voice.
6 It is related about Bilāl that he put his two forefingers into his ears (when delivering the adhān), while Ibn 'Umar did not put his fore-fingers into his ears;4 and Ibrāhīm said, There is no harm in delivering the adhān without performing ablution; and 'Atā' said, Ablution is necessary and it is the (Prophet's) practice.
7 Abū Juhaifah said,
That he saw Bilāl delivering the adhān. (He said), So I followed him when he turned his face to one side and to the other in the adhān.
4. Fore-fingers are not put into ears in the iqāmah.
8 Mūsā said,
I saw Bilāl (when) he went forth to the Abtah and delivered the adhān, so when he reached hayya 'ala-l-salā, hayya 'ala-falāh, he turned his neck to the right side and to the left and did not turn round.5
9 A woman of the Banī Najjār said,
My house was the highest house in the environs of the mosque and Bilāl used to deliver the morning adhān on it.6
10 'Abd Allāh reported ... that
Abu Sa'īd Khudrī said to him, I see thee living
5. With hayya 'ala-l-salā, the mu'adhdhin turns his face to the right side and with hayya 'ala-l-falāh to the left.
6. A high place, the top of a house or a minaret, would carry the voice farthest.
among goats and in the desert, so when thou are among thy goats or in thy desert and deliverest the adhān for prayer, raise thy voice with the adhān, for neither jinn nor man nor anything else hears the voice of the crier within its reach but it shall bear witness for him on the day of Resurrection.7
11 Abū Hurairah said, The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said:
"The Imām is a surety and the deliverer of the adhān is one in whom confidence is placed;8 O Allāh! direct aright the leaders of prayer and grant protection to the deliverers of the adhān."
7. The voice in delivering the adhān should be raised as high as possible.
8. The hadīth speaks of the imām as dzāmin, being as it were a surety that prayers are observed in the right manner; and it speaks of the mu'adhdhin (one p. 98 who delivers the adhān) as mu'taman, i.e., one in whom trust is placed, which indicates on the one hand that he is the keeper of the time of prayer and on the other that he must be a man who is respected on account of his high qualities.
12 Uthmān ibn Abi-l-'Ās said,
O Messenger of Allāh! Make me the imām of a people. He said:
"Thou art their imām and do thou follow the weakest of them9 and appoint a mu'adhdhin who does not take any remuneration for his adhān."10
13 Abu Hurairah said,
The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, commanded us (saying):
"When you are in the mosque and a call for prayers is sounded, let not one of you go out until he has said his prayers."
9. The imām should have regard for the weakest and make his prayer so light that the weakest man may not feel it a burden.
10. Islām thus requires that a duty which relates to the prayers should be performed out of love.
14 Abū Sa'īd Khudrī reported that
The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said:
"When you hear the adhān, say what the mu'dhdhin says."
15 Yahyā said,
Some of our brethren related to me that when he (Mu'āwiyah) heard the words, Come to prayer, he said, There is no strength nor power but in Allāh, and he said, Thus did we hear your Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, say.11
16 Jābir reported that The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said:
11. Hayya 'ala-l-salā being an order, the proper response to it is that given in this hadīth, When the adhān is being delivered, the hearer should repeat its sentences and when it is finished, be should offer the prayer mentioned in the next hadīth.
"Whoever says when he hears the adhān,
'O Allāh! the Lord of this perfect call and everliving prayer, grant to Muhammad nearness and excellence and raise him to the position of glory which Thou hast promised him,'
My intercession will be due to him on the day of Resurrection."
17 'Abd Allāh reported on the authority of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, (who) said:
"Let not the adhān of Bilāl prevent one of you from taking his breakfast,12 for he delivers the adhān while it is night, so that he may send back the one of you who is saying his
12. "Breakfast" here means the meal taken before dawn when a man intends to fast. The hadīth thus allows the calling out of the adhān before the time of prayer. By prayer in the concluding portion is meant the tahajjud prayer.
prayer or awaken the one who is sleeping."
18 Abd Allāh reported that The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said:
"Between every two adhāns, there is a prayer for him who likes."12 (He said this) thrice.
19 Ziyād said that
He delivered the adhān, and Bilāl desired to call out the iqāmah but the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be on him, said:
"O brother of Sudā'! The one who calls out the adhān shall call out the iqāmah.",14
(Ah. IV, 169.)
13. By the two adhāns are meant the adhān and the iqāmah. The interval between the two should be at least such that a man may be- able to say two rak'ahs of optional prayer. Another hadīth says that there should be an interval such that a man taking his food may finish it, say, about a quarter of an hour.
14. There may be exceptions to this general rule. Sudā' is the name of a tribe in Yaman and Ziyād was a member of this tribe.