The Call For Prayer: Azaan
Yahya narrated it on the authority of his uncle that he had been sitting in the company of Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan (may Allah be well pleased with them) when the ‘Muazzin’ called (Muslims) to Prayer. Muawiya said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying “Muazzin’s will have the longest necks on the Day of Resurrection. (They will be the more deserving of Allah’s mercy and reward) (Sunan Abu Dawood)
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said: “Whoever proclaims the “Azaan” for 7 years, for the sake of reward, Allah keeps him secure from the fire of hell.” (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said: “The one who proclaims the “Azaan” only seeking reward, is like the blood-stained martyr – and when he dies, his body will be safe from insects.” (Bahaare Shariat from Tibrani)
It is an Emphasised Sunnah (Muakkadah) to proclaim the “Azaan” for offering Obligatory Prayers in the mosque. This command is like an Essential (Wajib) in the sense that if the “Azaan’ is not proclaimed, the entire community residing there will be offenders. It is undesirable (Makrooh) to proclaim the ‘Azaan’ without ablution. The ‘Azaan’ for each Obligatory Prayer can be proclaimed after the time starts for each respective Prayer. An ‘Azaan’ proclaimed prior to its time must be repeated in its due time.
Islamic Law (Shariah) has some specific words for the ‘Azaan’ (the Call for Prayer), which are as follows:
Allahu Akbar: Allahu Akbar: Allahu Akbar : Allahu Akbar
Ash-hadu al-laa ilaaha illAllah: Ash-hadu al-laa ilaaha illAllah
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar-Rasoolullah: Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar-Rasoolullah
Hayya alas-Salaah: Hayya alas-Salaah
Hayya alal-Falaah: Hayya alal-Falaah
Allahu Akbar: Allahu Akbar
Laa ilaaha illAllah
Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest
I bear witness that there is no God except Allah, I bear witness that there is no God except Allah
I bear witness that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah, I bear witness that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah
Come towards Prayer, come towards Prayer; Come towards Success, come towards Success
Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest; there is no God except Allah!!
While saying “Hayya alas-Salaah Hayya alal-Falaah” in the ‘Azaan’ or in the ‘Iqamah’, one must face right and left respectively. Upon hearing the ‘Azaan’, it is commanded to reply to it – i.e. to repeat the words which the Caller (Muazzin) is saying, except for the words ‘Hayya alas-Salaah Hayya alal-Falaah’, for which one must say “Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa Billah” (There is neither power nor strength, except with Allah).
In the ‘Azaan’ for the Dawn Prayer, the Caller must say the following words twice after “Hayya alas-Salaah Hayya alal-Falaah” – “AsSalaatu Khairum-minun-Naum” (Prayer is better than sleep). The response to these words is “Sadaqta wa bararta, wa bilHaqqi Nataqta” (You have confirmed the truth and you did well – and you have spoken a fact.)
While the ‘Azaan’ is being said, one must not indulge in any talk, recite Quran, etc., nor indulge in other activities. Listen to the Azaan attentively and reply to it. The same applies to the Iqamah. For the one who stays engrossed in talk while the ‘Azaan’ is being proclaimed, there is a danger of him dying an evil death. (We seek Allah’s refuge)
When the Caller proclaims “Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar-Rasoolullah”, one must respond by sending peace and blessings upon the Holy Prophet – “SallAllahu alayka yaa Rasool Allah” (Allah’s blessings be upon you, O the Messenger of Allah).
The words proclaimed to announce the beginning of the congregational Prayers (with Jamaat), are called “Iqamah’. All words are the same as in the “Azaan’, except that after the second “Hayya alal-Falaah”, the following words are said twice – “Qad QamatisSalaah” (The Prayer has been established). In response to this, one should say “AqamahAllah wa adamaha maa damatiSamawate walArd” (May Allah keep it established, and grant it permanence as long as the skies and the earth remain.)
It is undesirable (Makrooh) for a person who comes in at the time of “Iqamah” to remain standing and wait – he should sit down and stand up only when the Proclaimer (Mukabbir) has announced “Hayya alal-Falaah”. Likewise those who are already present in the mosque must stand up at this moment. The same applies to the Imaam.
If several Azaans are heard, the listener must reply to the first one, and it is better if he replies to all. The ‘Azaan’ for the Sermon (Khutbah) must not be replied to by those who pray behind the ‘Imaam’ in the congregation. (The follower is called Muqtadi).
After the Azaan, one must send blessings upon the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and then supplicate as follows:
Allahumma rabba haazihi-daawatit-taammate was-salaatil-qaaemate aate sayyedenaa Muhammadan-ilWaseelata walFadeelata wad-darajatar-rafeeata wabas-hoo maqaamam-mahmoodanil-lazee wa-attahoo warzuqnaa shafaatahoo yawm-alqiyaamate, innaka laa tukhleful-meeaaad.
(O Allah, the Lord of this perfect call and of the Prayer to be established !! Grant our leader Hazrat Mohammed, the highest point in Paradise, and Excellence, and the highest rank, and install him on the praiseworthy position which You have promised him – and grant us his intercession on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed You do not go against Your promise.)