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The English word muezzin, derived from the Arabic: مُؤَذِّن‎, muʾadh·dhin [mu.ʔað.ðin], simplified mu'azzin,[1] is the person appointed at a mosque to lead and recite the call to prayer for every event of prayer[2] and worship in the mosque. The muezzin's post is an important one, and the community depends on him for an accurate prayer schedule.


The word means "one by the ear", since the word stems from the word for "ear" in Arabic is ʾudhun (أُذُن). As the muʾadh·dhin will place both hands on his ears to recite the call to prayer.

Roles and responsibilities[edit]

The professional muezzin is chosen for his good character, voice and skills to serve at the mosque. However, the muezzin is not considered a cleric, but in a position comparable to a Christian verger. He is responsible for keeping the mosque clean, for rolling the carpets, for cleaning the toilets and the place where people wash their hands, face and feet when they perform the Wuḍu' (Arabic: wuḍū’ وُضُوء, the "purification" of ablution) before offering the prayer.[citation needed] When calling to prayer, the muezzin faces the qiblah, the direction of the Ka'bah in Makkah, while reciting the adhan.[3][dubious ]

Call of the muezzin[edit]

The call of the muezzin is considered an art form, reflected in the melodious chanting of the adhan. In Turkey there is an annual competition to find the country's best muezzin.[4]

Historically, a muezzin would have recited the call to prayer atop the minarets in order to be heard by those around the mosque. Now, mosques often have loudspeakers mounted on the top of the minaret and the muezzin will use a microphone, or a recording is played, allowing the call to prayer to be heard at great distances without climbing the minaret.


The institution of the muezzin has existed since the time of Muhammad. The first muezzin was Bilal ibn Ribah, who walked the streets to call the believers to come to prayer.[5] Bilal is a non-Arab former slave, later raised in ranks to become the first muʾadh·dhin in Islam, who is black and of African descent, of a different race, as Islam practices equality which prohibits racial discrimination, tolerance to racial difference and regardless of status.

Although many of the customs associated with the muezzin remained undecided at the time of Muhammad's death, including which direction one should choose for the calling, where it should be performed, and the use of trumpets, flags or lamps, all of these are elements of the muezzin's role during the adhan.

After minarets became customary at mosques, the office of muezzin in cities was sometimes given to a blind man, who could not see down into the inner courtyards of the citizens' houses and thus could not violate privacy.[citation needed] Whether factual or not, the blindness of muezzin is claimed as almost universal at certain periods by Jose Saramago in his novel concerning historical epistemology, The History of the Siege of Lisbon.[citation needed]

Notable muezzins[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "muezzin".
  2. ^ Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi (26 March 2016). The Laws of Islam (PDF). Enlight Press. p. 470. ISBN 978-0994240989. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  3. ^ A Muazzin calling for prayer in Saudi Arabia
  4. ^ "Muezzin". Aljazeera. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  5. ^ Clarke, John Henrik (1993). African People in World History. Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press. p. 30. ISBN 9780933121775.

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