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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

The Adhan in Islam: A Melodious Call to Prayer for Muslims

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Introduction to Adhan in Islam:

The adhan is a sacred ritual in Islam that has been practiced by Muslims since the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is a declaration of faith and a call to prayer, recited in a melodious voice by a muezzin, a person who is chosen for his good character and clear voice. The adhan is always recited in Arabic, the language of the Quran, regardless of the native language of the muezzin or the listeners. 

The adhan is not only a call to prayer, but also a call to community. It invites the Muslims to gather at the mosque and perform the prayer in congregation, which has many benefits and rewards. As we all know, Salah is the second pillar of Islam

The Meaning of Adhan

The word “adhan” is derived from the Arabic verb “adhina“, meaning “to listen” or “to be informed“. The adhan conveys the message of Islam and announces the time of the obligatory (fard) prayers. 

The adhan consists of a series of phrases that express the core beliefs and values of Muslims, and invite them to worship Allah (swt) and follow His Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad (saw). The translation and significance of each phrase are as follows:

Allahu Akbar 

Arabic script of "Allahu Akbar" repeated twice, which translates to "Allah is the Greatest," a central phrase in the Adhan, denoting the majesty and greatness of God in the Islamic call to prayer.
Allah (swt) is the Greatest

This phrase is repeated four times at the beginning and end of the adhan. It signifies the majesty and sovereignty of Allah (swt), the only God in Islam. It also prepares Muslims for the worship of Allah (swt) and sets the tone for the prayer.

Ashhadu an la ilaha illallah

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah (swt)

This phrase is repeated twice and declares the oneness of Allah (swt), the fundamental doctrine of Islam. This is the foundation of your faith and the most important thing you should know and practice. It also implies your submission and obedience to Allah (swt) and His will. 

Ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (swt)

This phrase is also repeated twice and testifies to the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (saw), the last and final messenger of Allah (swt). It acknowledges the role of Hazrat Muhammad (saw) as the bearer of the Quran and the guidance for Muslims.

It also implies that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the best example and role model for us and that we should follow his teachings and sunnah (traditions).

Hayya ‘ala as-Salah

Arabic calligraphy of the phrase "Hayya 'ala al-Falah" which is part of the Adhan, translating to "Come to success" in the context of Adhan in Islam, signifying the call to prayer as an invitation to spiritual success and prosperity.
Come to Prayer

When you hear the words “Hayya’ alas-Salah,” repeated twice, you know it is time to come to prayer. This is a call for us, as Muslims, to gather in the mosque and perform salah, the ritual prayer that is one of the pillars of our faith. By saying “Hayya’ alas-Salah,” we are reminded to put Allah (swt) first in our lives and to join our brothers and sisters in congregational prayer. This is how we strengthen our bond with Allah (swt) and with each other.

Hayya ‘ala al-Falah

Come to success

This phrase is said twice and invites Muslims to join the prayer and attain success. It implies that prayer is the source of spiritual and worldly success, as it connects Muslims with Allah (swt) and grants them His mercy and forgiveness. This is a reminder for you and me that true success in this life and the next only lies in praying and maintaining our Salah. 

La ilaha illallah

There is no god but Allah (swt)

It is the testimony that there is no god but Allah (swt). Tawheed expresses the foundation of Islam and affirms the oneness of Allah (swt) and the rejection of polytheism.

Learn More: Tawheed: The First Pillar of Islam

The Origin and History of Adhan in Islam

The Adhan has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 7th century. The Adhan was established by Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the messenger of Islam. The first Muezzin was Hazrat Bilal ibn Rabah (ra), a former slave and a loyal companion of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The origin of the Adhan is explained in a hadith narrated by Hazrat Nafi, who conveyed that Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (ra) used to mention:

“When the Muslims arrived in Al-Madinah they used to gather and try to figure out the time for prayer, and no one gave the call to prayer. One day they spoke about that; some of them said: ‘Let us use a bell like the Christians do;’ others said, ‘No, a horn like the Jews have.’ ‘Umar, may, Allah be pleased with him, said: ‘Why don’t you send a man to announce the time of prayer?‘ The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said: ‘O Bilal, get up and give the call to prayer.'” 

[Sunan an-Nasa’I 626]

The Adhan: The Five Daily Calls

The Adhan is recited five times a day, before each of the obligatory prayers: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (sunset), and Isha (night). Fajr Adhan is the first adhan of the day, and it is recited before sunrise.

It has a special phrase that is not found in the other adhans, which is

Arabic script saying 'Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah', which means 'Come to prayer', a phrase from the Adhan, the Islamic call to prayer.
Prayer is better than sleep

This phrase is based on a hadith, which states that Abu Mahdhurah said,

“I used to call the Adhan for the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) and in the first Adhan of Fajr I used to Say: ‘Hayya ‘ala al-falah, as-salatu khairun minan-nawmas-salatu khairun minan-nawm, Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar, la ilaha illallah (Come to prosperity, prayer is better than sleep, prayer is better than sleep, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, there is none worthy of worship except Allah).'”  

This phrase encourages Muslims to wake up early and perform the prayer, rather than staying in bed and missing the opportunity to worship Allah.

Adhan for Jummah Prayer

Another important adhan is the one for the Jummah prayer, which is the congregational prayer that Muslims perform on Fridays instead of the Dhuhr prayer. The adhan for the Jummah prayer is similar to the other adhans, except that it is preceded by another adhan that is made earlier in the market or the mosque to alert people of the time of the Jummah prayer. The second adhan is made when the imam takes his place on the pulpit (minbar) to deliver the sermon.

For more information on the Jummah prayer and its significance, readers can read our blog titled Jummah Prayer: Significance, Procedure, and Consequences of Missing it.

The Timing of Adhan

The adhan times are based on the movement of the sun, which varies according to the location, date, and season. The five prayer times are as follows:  

– Fajr: This is the dawn prayer that is performed before sunrise. 

– Dhuhr: This is the noon prayer that is performed when the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. 

– Asr: This is the afternoon prayer that is performed when the shadow of an object becomes equal to its length.

– Maghrib: This is the sunset prayer that is performed after the sun sets below the horizon. 

– Isha: This is the night prayer that is performed when the twilight disappears from the sky. 

You can also find detailed information about the exact time of each prayer in our blog on Five Daily Prayers in Islam. In this blog, you can also find the forbidden hours, during which we must avoid praying. 

With the advancement of modern technology, many Muslims use adhan clocks or apps to remind them of the prayer times. One of the popular apps that Muslims use for adhan reminders is the IslamicFinder Athan App. This app provides accurate prayer times for over 6 million locations worldwide. 

Responding to Adhan

Repeat the Words of the Mu’adhdhin

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught us to repeat the words of the Adhan, except when the Mu’adh-dhin says “Hayya ala as-salah” and “Hayya ala al-falah“, we should say “La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah“. 

[Sahih al-Bukhari 611, 613]

Making Dua (supplication)

Narrated Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah (RA):

Allah’s Messenger (saw) said, “Whoever after listening to the Adhan says,

 ‘Allahumma Rabba hadhihi-dda` watit-tammah, was-salatil qa’imah, ati Muhammadan al-wasilata wal-fadilah, wa b`ath-hu maqaman mahmudan-il-ladhi wa`adtahu’ 

[O Allah! Lord of this perfect call (perfect by not ascribing partners to You) and of the regular prayer which is going to be established, give Muhammad the right of intercession and illustriousness, and resurrect him to the best and the highest place in Paradise that You promised him (of)], 

then my intercession for him will be allowed on the Day of Resurrection”. [Sahih al-Bukhari 614]

Differences between Adhan and Iqamah

The Adhan and Iqamah are two important calls that announce the time and start of the congregational prayers in Islam. The Adhan is a public invitation to join the prayer, while the Iqamah is a final call to stand up and prepare for the prayer. 

Both of them consist of similar phrases, but they differ in the number of repetitions. The Adhan is recited twice for each phrase, while the Iqamah is recited once, except for “qad qamat al-salah” (the prayer has been established), which is also recited twice.

Hazrat Ibn’ Umar (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said:

“When the Adhan was given at the time of the Prophet (S.A.W), the phrases were repeated twice, and when the Iqamah was given, the phrases were repeated once, except that you should say: ‘Qad Qamatis-Salah, Qad Qamatis-Salah (prayer is about to begin, prayer is about to begin).'”

[Sunan an-Nasa’i 628]

The Practice of Saying Adhan in a New Muslim Baby’s Ear

Saying the Adhan in a newborn Muslim baby’s right ear and the Iqamah in the left ear is a Sunnah practiced by Prophet Muhammad (saw), as demonstrated with his grandson Hazrat Hasan (RA). This is one of the first things the baby hears. It’s a way to welcome the baby into the Muslim world. Saying Adhan shows that prayer and Allah are important parts of Islam.  

Share this beautiful Sunnah with new Muslim parents and offer prayers for the baby’s well-being and guidance.

Do you have to say Adhan for Janazah (funeral) prayer?

When it comes to the Janazah, or funeral prayer, in Islam, it’s a bit different. We don’t say the Adhan like we do for other prayers. This prayer is a quiet way for us all to ask Allah to take care of the person who has passed away. It’s about sending good wishes for the person’s next journey, without the usual call to prayer. 

Learn More:  Janazah-Funeral Prayer

Adhan When You’re Traveling

Islam provides flexibility in the practice of faith, especially during extraordinary circumstances such as travel. Sometimes, you can’t do the Adhan the usual way when you’re on the go. But, it’s still important to keep praying, even if things are a bit different. This shows how Islam helps us stay connected to our prayers and to Allah, no matter where we are or what’s happening.

Conclusion

The adhan does more than call to prayer in Islam. It calls for community and unity. It reminds us of Islam’s fundamental beliefs and values. Muslims have practiced this beautiful and melodious declaration of faith for centuries. Its rich history dates back to Prophet Muhammad’s time (peace be upon him). The adhan connects us with Allah (swt) and our fellow Muslims. We worship and pray together. The adhan symbolizes the Muslim ummah’s unity and strength. It reminds us to maintain our faith and follow Prophet Muhammad’s teachings (peace be upon him).

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