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This article is about the Islamic call to prayer. For the settlement in Ras al-Khaimah, see Adhan, Ras al-Khaimah.

The azhan (Arabic: أَذَان[ʔaˈðaːn]), (or azan as pronounced in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, ezan in Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, azon in Uzbekistan, and baang in some regions of Pakistan, Kurdistan, India, and Aceh, Indonesia) is the Islamic call to worship, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is ʾadhina أَذِنَ meaning "to listen, to hear, be informed about". Another derivative of this word is ʾudhun (أُذُن), meaning "ear".

Azhan is called out by a muezzin from the mosque five times a day, traditionally from the minaret, summoning Muslims for mandatory (fard) worship (salat). A second call, known as iqama, (set up) then summons Muslims to line up for the beginning of the prayers. The main purpose behind the multiple loud pronouncements of adhan in every mosque is to make available to everyone an easily intelligible summary of Islamic belief. It is intended to bring to the mind of every believer and non-believer the substance of Islamic beliefs, or its spiritual ideology. In modern times, loudspeakers have been installed on minarets for this purpose.[citation needed]

The adhan recites the Takbir (God is great)[1] followed by the Shahada (There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah).[2] This statement of faith, called the Kalimah, is the first of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Arabic أَذَان
Romanization aḏān, azaan, adhaan
Literal meaning call to prayer


The Muezzin is the person who recites the adhan (azan) from the mosque. Typically in modern times, this is done using a microphone: a recitation that is consequently broadcast to the speakers usually mounted on the higher part of the mosque's minarets, thus calling those nearby to prayer. The Muezzin is the most notable person in the mosque; he is chosen for his talent and ability in reciting the adhan beautifully, melodiously and loudly for all Muslims to hear. This is perhaps one of the most important duties in the mosque, as his companions rely on him in his call for Muslims to come physically to pray. The Imam leads the prayer five times a day. The first Muezzin in Islam was Bilal Ibn Rabah, a black man.[citation needed]


Sunni [3][4][5][6][edit]

Recital Arabic Transliteration Translation
4x الله أكبر Allāhu akbar Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest.
2x أشهد أن لا اله إلا الله Ash-hadu an-lā ilāha illā allāh I acknowledge that there is no deity but God.
2x أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan-Rasul ullāh I acknowledge that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
2x حي على الصلاة Hayya'alas-ṣalāh Hasten to prayer (salah).
2x حي على الفلاح Hayya ʿalal-falāḥ Hasten to success.
2x 1 الصلاة خيرٌ من النوم As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm Prayer is better than sleep. 2 (Only In Fajr prayer's Adhan)
2x الله أكبر Allāhu akbar Allah is greatest.
1x لا إله إلا الله Lā ilāha illā-Allāh There is no deity but God.
  • ^1 Followers of the Maliki madh'hab say this line twice and repeat the following two lines before line four, as noted in Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Ch. 2, No. 0740.
  • ^2 The line "Prayer is better than sleep" is used only for the first prayers of the day at dawn (fajr prayer; Salat al-fajr).
  • ^3 Allah is a compound word of the definite article al and the Arabic word for "deity",[citation needed] ilah, meaning "The God".


Sunni[3][4][5][6] view[edit]

Sunnis state that the adhan (azan) was not written or said by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, but by one of his Sahabah (his companions). Umar, a prominent sahabi of Muhammad, had a vision in his dream, in which the call for prayers was revealed to him by God. He later related this to his companions. Meanwhile, this news reached Muhammad, and he liked it and confirmed it. Because of his stunning voice Muhammad choose a freed Habeshan slave by the name of Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi to make the call for prayers. Muhammad preferred the call better than the use of bells (as used by the Christians) and horns (as by the Jews).[7]

During the Friday prayer (Salat Al Jumu'ah), there is one adhan but some Sunni Muslims increase it to two adhans; the first is to call the people to the mosque, the second is said before the Imam begins the khutbah (sermon). Just before the prayers start, someone amongst the praying people recites the iqama as in all prayers. The basis for this is that at the time of the Caliph Uthman he ordered two adhans to be made, the first of which was to be made in the marketplace to inform the people that the Friday prayer was soon to begin, and the second adhan would be the regular one held in the mosque. Not all Sunnis prefer two adhans as the need for warning the people of the impending time for prayer is no longer essential now that the times for prayers are well known.

Shi'a [3][4][5][6][8] view[edit]

Shi'a sources state Muhammad, according to God's command, ordered the adhan as a means of calling Muslims to prayer. Shi'a Islam teaches that no one else contributed, or had any authority to contribute, towards the composition of the adhan.

Other Shi'a sources state that Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi was, in fact, the first person to recite the adhan publicly out loud in front of the Muslim congregation.

The fundamental phrase Lā- ilāha-illā-al-lāh is the foundation stone of Islam along with the belief in it. It declares that "there is no god but the God". This is the confession of Tawhid or the "doctrine of Oneness [of God]".

The phrase Muḥammadun –rasulu-llāh fulfils the requirement that there should be someone to guide in the name of God, which states Muhammad is God's Messenger,rasul, nabi (prophet). This is the acceptance of prophet-hood or Nabuwat of Muhammad.

photo of kalima at Bab al-Nasr of Shia Fatimid dynasty of Cairo with phrase ʿalīyun walī allāh
The qiblah of Mustansir of Shia Fatimid dynasty of, in Mosque of Ibn Tulun of Cairo showing Kalimat ash-shahādah with the phrase ʿalīyun walī allāh

Muhammad declared Ali (Ali bin Abu Talib) as his successor, at Ghadir Khumm, which was required for the continuation of his guidance. According to the hadith of the pond of Khumm, Muhammad stated that "Of whomsoever I am the mawla, Ali is his mawla". Hence, it is recommended to recite the phrase ʿalīyun walī allāh means "Ali is His (God's) Wali "the headman."

There are several Ayahs in the Quran[8][9] and hadiths in the Sunnah confirming the Shia belief of the 12 Imams.

In one of the Qiblah of Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah (1035–1094) of Fatemi era masjid of Qahira (Mosque of Ibn Tulun) engraved his name and kalimat ash-shahādah as lā ʾilāha ʾilā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūl allāh, ʿalīyun walī allāh.

Adhan reminds everyone, these three Islamic teaching Tawhid, Nabuwat and Imamate before each prayer. These three emphasise devotion to God, Muhammad and Imam, which are so linked together that these can not be viewed separately. One leads to other and finally to God.

The phrase is optional to some Shia as justified above. They feel that Ali's Valayat is self-evident, a testification and need not be declared. However, the greatness of God is also taken to be self-evident, but Muslims still declare Allāhu ʾAkbar to publicize their faith. This is the reason that the most Shia give for the recitation of the phrase regarding Ali.

Dua (Invocation)[edit]

What to Recite During Adhan (Call to Prayer)[edit]

While listening to the adhan, Muslims repeat the same words silently, except when the muezzin says:" حي على الصلاة أو حي على الفلاح " (ḥayya ʿala ṣ-ṣalāh or ḥayya ʿala l-falāḥ)[10] they silently say:" لا حولا و لا قوة إلا بالله " (lā hawla wa lā quwata illā billāh) (there is no strength or power except from God).[11]

What to Recite after Adhan[edit]

The following dua (supplications) should be recited:

Immediately after the Adhan recite

1. ﻭَﺃَﻧَﺎ ﺃَﺷَْﻬَﺪُ ﺃَﻥْ ﻟَﺎ ﺇِﻟَﻪَ ﺇِﻟَّﺎ ﺍﻟﻠﻪُ ﻭَﺣْﺪَﻩُ ﻟَﺎ ﺷَﺮِﻳﻚَ ﻟَﻪُ ﻭَﺃَﻥَّ ﻣُﺤَﻤَّﺪﺍً ﻋَﺒْﺪُﻩُ ﻭَﺭَﺳُﻮﻟُﻪُ، ﺭَﺿِﻴﺖُ ﺑِﺎﻟﻠﻪِ ﺭَﺑَّﺎً ﻭَﺑِﻤُﺤَﻤَّﺪٍ ﺭِﺳُﻮﻻً ﻭَﺑِﺎﻹِْﺳﻼَﻡِ ﺩِﻳﻨﺎً ".

Wa 'anaa 'ash-hadu 'an laa 'ilaaha 'illallaahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu wa 'anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasooluhu, radheetu billaahi Rabban, wa bi-Muhammadin Rasoolan wa bil'islaami deenan.[12]

English: I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone with no partner and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and the Lord God's chosen messenger is Muhammad and Islam is his religion.

2. Then invoke blessings on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) thus:

ﺍﻟﻠﻬﻢ ﺻــﻞ ﻋﻠٰﯽ ﻣﺤﻤﺪ ﻭ ﻋﻠٰﯽ ﺁﻝ ﻣﺤﻤﺪ ﻛﻤﺎ ﺻﻠﻴﺖ ﻋﻠٰﯽ ﺇﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢ ﻭ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺁﻝ ﺇﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢ ﺍﻧﻚ ﺣَﻤِﻴﺪٌ ﻣَجيد َ ﺍﻟﻠﻬﻢ ﺑﺎﺭﻙ ﻋﻠٰﯽ ﻣﺤﻤﺪ ﻭ ﻋﻠٰﯽ ﺁﻝ ﻣﺤﻤﺪ ﻛﻤﺎ ﺑﺎﺭ ﻛﺖ ﻋﻠٰﯽ ﺇﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢ ﻭ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺁﻝ ﺇﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢ ﺍﻧﻚ ﺣﻤﻴﺪ ﻣﺠﻴﺪ

Allaahumma salli alaa Muhammadin wa alaa aali Muhammadin, kamaa sallayta alaa Ibraaheema wa alaa aali Ibraaheema innaka Hameedun Majeed. Allahumma Baarik alaa Muhammadin wa alaa aali Mohammadin kamaa baarakta alaa Ibraaheema wa alaa aali Ibraaheema innaka Hameedun Majeed [13]

3. Then ask waseelah for the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) thus:

ﺍﻟﻠﻬﻢ ﺭﺏ ﻫﺬﻩ ﺍﻟﺪﻋﻮﺓ ﺍﻟﺘﺎﻣﺔ ﻭﺍﻟﺼﻼﺓ ﺍﻟﻘﺎﺋﻤﺔ ﺁﺕ ﻣﺤﻤﺪﺍ ﺍﻟﻮﺳﻴﻠﺔ ﻭﺍﻟﻔﻀﻴﻠﺔ ﻭﺍﺑﻌﺜﻪ ﺍﻟﻤﻘﺎﻡ ﺍﻟﻤﺤﻤﻮﺩ ﺍﻟﺬﻱ ﻭﻋﺪﺗﻪ

Allahumma rabba hadhihi-d-da‘awati-t-tammah wa-s-Salati- l-qa’imah, ati Muhammadan il-wasilata wa-l-fadilah wa-b‘ath-hu maqamam mahmudan illadhi wa‘adtah [14]

4. Make dua to ALLAH in between the adhan and iqamaah

Finally, you can ask Allah anything for yourself and ask the grace of Allah because your supplication will be answered this time.

Muhammad said: "Repeat the words of the Mo'athen and when you finish, ask ALLAH what you want and you will get it"[15]


Each phrase is followed by a longer pause and is repeated one or more times according to fixed rules. During the first statement each phrase is limited in tonal range, less melismatic, and shorter. Upon repetition the phrase is longer, ornamented with melismas, and may possess a tonal range of over an octave. The adhan's form is characterised by contrast and contains twelve melodic passages which move from one to another tonal center of one maqam a fourth or fifth apart. The tempo is mostly slow; it may be faster and with fewer melismas for the sunset prayer. During festivals, it may be performed antiphonally as a duet.[16]


As an extension of the reforms brought about by the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Turkish government at the time, encouraged by Atatürk, introduced secularism to Turkey. The program involved implementing a Turkish adhan program as part of its goals, as opposed to the conventional Arabic call to prayer.[17]

The adhan was replaced with the following:

Tanrı uludur
Şüphesiz bilirim, bildiririm
Tanrı'dan başka yoktur tapacak.
Şüphesiz bilirim, bildiririm;
Tanrı'nın elçisidir Muhammed.
Haydin namaza, haydin felaha,
Namaz uykudan hayırlıdır.

Following the conclusion of said debates, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı) released an official mandate on July 18, 1932, announcing the decision to all the mosques across Turkey, and the practice was continued for a period of 18 years.

On July 16, 1950, a new government was sworn in, led by Adnan Menderes, which restored Arabic as the liturgical language.

Turkish National Anthem[edit]

The adhan is mentioned in the eighth verse of İstiklâl Marşı, the Turkish national anthem:

O glorious God, the sole wish of my soul is that,
No heathen's hand should ever touch the bosom of my sacred Temples.
These adhans, whose shahadahs are the foundations of my Dīn (religion),
May their noble sound last loud and wide over my eternal homeland.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ H Azodanloo (1992), Formalization of friday sermons and consolidation of the Islamic republic of Iran, Journal of Critical Studies of Iran & the Middle East, 1(1), 12-24
  2. ^ N Mohammad (1985), The doctrine of jihad: An introduction, Journal of Law and Religion, 3(2): 381-397
  3. ^ a b c Sahih Bukhari 89.329
  4. ^ a b c Sahih Muslim : Book 020: Number 4477, 4478, 4480, 4481, 4482, 4483
  5. ^ a b c Sunan Abu Dawood : Book 36: Number 4266
  6. ^ a b c Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Arabic) Chapter of Fitan,
    2:45 (India) and 4:501 Tradition # 2225 (Egypt)
    Hadith #2149 (numbering of al-'Alamiyyah)
  7. ^ Haykal, Muhammad Husayn. The Life of Muhammad. p. 200. 
  8. ^ a b Quran : Surah Sajda: Ayah 24-25
  9. ^ Quran : Al‑Ahzaab: Ayah 33
  10. ^ Muwatta
  11. ^ Sahîh Al-Bukhari #548
  12. ^ Sahîh Muslim 386
  13. ^ Sahîh Al-Bukhari 3370
  14. ^ Sahih Al-Bukhari 588
  15. ^ Abu Dawud 524
  16. ^ Touma, Habib Hassan (1996). The Music of the Arabs, p.157-158, trans. Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-88-8.
  17. ^ The Adhan in Turkey

External links[edit]