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Adhan or the Muslim call to Prayer

In the early days of Islam, there was no prescribed way of telling people that the time for Prayer had commenced nor was there any means to call the Muslims to the mosque for congregational Prayers. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was however, aware of the Jewish, Christian and pagan practices in this regard. He sought counsel and asked his Companions as to what should be done to call Muslims to the mosque for congregational Prayers. One morning, Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Aziz, may Allah be pleased with him, approached the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and related to him a dream which he had had the night before. He had seen someone announcing the Prayer time and calling people to the mosque for the congregational Prayer in a loud voice. Hadhrat Abdullah then related the words of the Athan which he had heard in the dream. They were as follows:

Transliteration:

Allahu Akbar (four times)

Translation:

Allah is the Greatest (Recited four times)

Transliteration:

Ash-hadu alla ilaha illallah (twice)

Translation

I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah (Recited twice)

Transliteration:

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah (twice)

Translation:

      I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. (Recited twice)

Transliteration:

      Hayya alassalah (twice)

Translation:

      Come to Prayer (Recited twice)

Transliteration:

      Hayya alal-Falah (twice)

Translation:

      Come to success. (Recited twice)

Transliteration:

      Allahu Akbar (twice)

Translation:

      Allah is the Greatest. (Recited twice)

Transliteration:

      La ilaha illallah

Translation:

      There is none worthy of worship except Allah.

Hadhrat Umar, May Allah be pleased with him, who later became the second Khalifa was also sitting in the company of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. He said that he had also had a dream and had heard the same words. The Holy Prophet, on whom be peace and blessings of Allah, was therefore in no doubt that this was a message from Allah, so he adopted the method of Athan to call worshippers to the mosque. Athan is thus widely recognised as the call to Prayer all over the world.

THE METHOD OF SAYING THE ATHAN

The Mu'athin, the person who says the Athan should stand in a prominent position with his face turned towards the Qibla. These days a loudspeaker system is also used to say the Athan. The Mu'athin should touch his ears with his index fingers, right finger touching the right ear and the left finger touching the left and recite the Athan in a loud voice. He should turn his face towards the right when saying the words, Hayya alas Salat and turn his face to the left while reciting the words Hayya alalfalah.

During the Athan for Fajr Prayer, the Mu'athin should also recite the words given below twice after saying, Hayya 'alal falah:

 

Transliteration:

      AsSalatu khairum-minan-naum (twice)

Translation:

      Prayer is better than sleep.

 

 

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said:

Transliteration:

      Itha sami'tumun nida'a faqulu mithal ma yaqulul- mu'ath-thin.

Translation:

Whenever you hear the Athan, say what the Mu'athin is saying.

 

Hence, anyone who hears the Athan should repeat the same, phrase by phrase, after the Mu'athin has recited them but when the Mu'athin says the words Hayya alas-Salat and Hayya alal falah, the person hearing the Athan should say La hawla wa la quwwata illa billa-hil aliy-yil Azeem which means: There is neither might nor any power except with Allah. The Shi'ah community adds the following phrase to their Athan:

Transliteration:

      Ash-hadu anna 'Aliyyan waliyyullah. Hayy 'ala khairil 'aamal.

Translation:

I bear witness that Ali is a Saint and a lawful heir in accordance with the will of the Messenger of Allah and is his immediate Successor.

 

Some other Muslim sects add the following:

Transliteration:

      AsSalatu wassalamu 'alaika ya Rasulallah.

Translation:

Peace and blessings be on you, O Messenger of Allah.

 

We do not know on what authority they have made such additions. According to our knowledge, the wording of Athan, which we have given is authentic. If the congregational Prayer is offered in the open, i.e; outside the mosque, even then, Athan should be recited before the Prayer. After completion of the Athan, listeners should recite the following prayer:

Transliteration:

      Allahumma Rabba hathihid-da watit tammati wassalatil qa-imati, ati Muhammada-nil-wasilata wal-fadhilata wad-darajatar-rafi 'ata, wab 'ath-hu maqamam-mahmuda-nil-lathi wa'attahu. Innaka la tukhliful mi'ad.

Translation:

O Allah, Lord of this Perfect Call, and of the Congregational Prayer, make Muhammad a means of our access to You, and bless him with excellence and the lofty office, And grant him the most exalted station Thou hast promised him. Verily Thou goest not back on Thy promise.

IQAMAH

When the Prayer is about to commence, Iqamat is recited. This is an indication that the Imam has taken his place facing towards the Ka'aba and is ready to begin the Prayer. The Iqamat is a shorter version of the Athan. Other differences between the Athan and the Iqamah are as follows:

  1. The Athan is called aloud while the Iqamat is recited in a low tone.
  2. During the recitation of Iqamat, the fingers are not raised so as to touch the ears as is done in Athan; instead the arms are left hanging straight by one's sides.
  3. The sentence, As-Salatu khairum minan-naum is not recited in the Iqamat.
  4. The Iqamat is recited rapidly, though the Maliki school of thought recite both the Iqamat as well as the Athan, with pauses between the verses. During the Iqamat the sentence Qad qaa-mat-tis-Salat i.e; Salat is ready, is repeated twice after saying, Hay-ya alalfalah.
  5. During the Iqamat, the face is not turned towards the right or to the left when Hayya alas salah and Hayya alal falah are recited, as is done in the Athan.

The text of the Iqamat is as follows:

Transliteration:

      Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar; Ash-hado allaa Ila-ha illallah; Wa Ash-hadu anna Muhammader Rasoolullah;

      Hayya alas-Salat; Hayya alal-falah; Qad qamatis-Salatu, qad qamatis-salah; Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar; La il-laha Illallaah

Translation:

Allah is the Greatest, Allah is Greatest; I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Come to Prayer. Come to success; Salat is ready; Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest; There is none worthy of worship except Allah.

 

According to the Sayings of the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the person who has recited the Athan should also recite the Iqamat. (Sunan Tirmazi, Abwa-bus Salat, Bab Ma Ja'a an man U'ath-thin-o-Pha huwa yuqeem). However, in certain cases, another person may recite the Iqamat with the permission of the Mu'athin or the Imam.

NIYYAT

Niyyah means the intention to perform a Prayer and is an essential part of it. The worshipper should make a Niyyah in his mind as to which type of Prayer, Fardh, Sunnah or Nafl, etc., he is going to perform and how many Raka'at. It is not necessary to make Niyyah by saying the words aloud. The mere intention in one's mind will suffice. The worshipper, therefore, should recite Taujeeh along with the Niyyah. Taujeeh is given in chapter 2.

 

COMBINING PRAYERS

Under certain conditions, two Prayer services may be combined together. For example, Zhuhr Prayer may be combined with 'Asr Prayer. Similarly Maghrib Prayer may be combined with Isha'a Prayer, if the following conditions prevail:

    a. If a person is sick.

    b. If a person is on a journey.

    c. During rain or a storm.

    d. If it is difficult to go to the mosque because of general discomfort caused by heavy rains.

It is preferable to combine the later Prayer with the earlier Prayer. However, in unavoidable circumstances, the earlier Prayer may be combined with the later one.

When the Prayers are combined, one Athan is sufficient for both Prayers but Iqamat has to be recited separately for each Prayer.

It should also be remembered that the Sunnat part of the Prayer service need not be offered when Prayer services are combined together. However, the two Sunnats performed before the Jumua'ah, (Friday) Prayer are necessary and should not be omitted.

In case the Imam is leading the congregation for 'Asr Prayer and a worshipper who comes late does not know which Prayer is being offered, he should join in anyway. Later, if he comes to know that he has missed the earlier Prayer, he should offer it individually after the congregational Prayer. However, if a worshipper who came in late knows that the Imam is leading the later Prayer, he should offer the earlier Prayer individually first and then join in the congregation. For example, if the Imam is leading Isha'a Prayer, the latecomer should offer Maghrib Prayer, which he has missed, and then join in the congregation. If he does not know that the Imam is leading Isha'a Prayer and he joins in thinking that it is Maghrib Prayer which the Imam is leading, he should carry on following the Imam. Afterwards, he has only to offer Maghrib Prayer individually, as his Isha'a Prayer behind the Imam was valid. In normal circumstances, however, one should offer the earlier Prayer first and the later Prayer afterwards.

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