The Adhan, also written as Adhaan, Azan, Azaan or Athan (Arabic: أَذَان[ʔaˈðaːn]), also called Ezan in Turkish,[1] is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the mu'azzin 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".

Adhan is called out by a mu'azzin from the mosque five times a day, traditionally from the minaret, summoning Muslims for obligatory (fard) prayer (salat). A second call, known as the Iqamah 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.[citation needed] In modern times, loudspeakers have been installed on minarets for this purpose.[citation needed]

The Adhan recites the Takbir (God is greater)[2] followed by the Shahada (There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of God).[3] This statement of faith, called the Kalimah, is the first of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Romanizationaḏān, azaan, adhaan
Literal meaningcall to prayer


The minaret in Tunisia's Great Mosque of Kairouan. Historically, the meuzzin would call to prayer from the minaret.

The mu'azzin (Arabic: مُؤَذِّنmuʾaḏḏin) is the person who recites the Adhan[4]:470 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 message can also be recorded, as is the case for London Central Mosque.[citation needed]

The mu'azzin is chosen for his ability in reciting the Adhan clearly, beautifully, melodiously and loudly for all Muslims to hear. This is one of the important duties in the mosque, as his companions and community rely on him in his call for Muslims to come to pray in congregation.[weasel words] The Imam leads the prayer five times a day. The first muezzin in Islam was Bilal ibn Rabah, a freed slave of Abyssinian heritage.[5][page needed]


Details of what is recited and how many times
Recital Arabic Transliteration Translation
4x or 2x 4x 8x or 4x[b] ٱللهُ أَكْبَر ʾAllāhu ʾakbar God is greater
2x 2x 2x أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله ʾašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾillā -llāh I bear witness that there is no deity but God
2x 2x 2x أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ ٱلله ʾašhadu ʾanna Muḥammadan rasūlu -llāh I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God
None 2x[c] None أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ عَلِيًّا وَلِيُّ ٱلله ʾašhadu ʾanna Alīyan walīyu -llāh I bear witness that Ali is the Vicegerent of God
2x 2x 2x حَيَّ عَلَىٰ ٱلصَّلَاة ḥayya ʿalā ṣ-ṣalāh Hasten to the prayer (Salah)
2x 2x 2x حَيَّ عَلَىٰ ٱلْفَلَاح ḥayya ʿalā l-falāḥ Hasten to the salvation
None 2x 2x حَيَّ عَلَىٰ خَيْرِ ٱلْعَمَل ḥayya ʿalā khayri l-ʿamal Hasten to the best of deeds
2x for
Fajr prayer
None None ٱلصَّلَاةُ خَيْرٌ مِنَ ٱلنَّوْم aṣ-ṣalātu khayrun mina n-nawm Prayer is better than sleep
2x 2x 2x ٱللهُ أَكْبَر ʾAllāhu ʾakbar God is greater
1x 2x 1x لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله lā ʾilāha ʾillā -llāh There is no deity but God
  1. ^ The same Adhan is used by Ahmadiyya Muslims.
  2. ^ Traditionally 4x.[11] Followers of the Maliki madhhab also repeat this line four times.
  3. ^ According to Usuli Twelver Shia scholars, this phrase is not an obligatory part of Adhan and Iqamah, but is recommended (Mustahabb). Akhbari Twelver Shia, however, consider it as an obligatory part of Adhan and Iqamah.[12] Fatimid, Ismaili, Alavi Bohras and Dawoodi Bohra believe and include and recite this at same place, twice in main adhan, but not in Iqama. They also recite Muhḥammadun wa Aliyun khayru l-basar wa itaratu huma khayru l-itar (Muhammad and Ali are the best of mankind and their progeny is the best of progenies) twice after the 6th part (Ḥayya ʿala-khayri l-ʿamal). This tradition is continued from their first Da'i al-Mutlaq, Zoeb bin Moosa (1132 CE), after their 21st Imam, At-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim, and claim this is true Fatimid tradition.[13][14][15]
  4. ^ Followers of the Maliki madhhab say this line twice and repeat the following two lines before line four, as noted in Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Ch. 2, No. 0740.


Sunni view

Sunnis state that the adhan was not written or said by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, but by one of his Sahabah (his companions). Abd Allah ibn zyad, a 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 confirmed it. Because of his stunning voice Muhammad chose 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).[8][9][16]

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.

Shia view

Shi'a sources state Muhammad, according to God's command, ordered the adhan as a means of calling Muslims to prayer. Shia Islam teaches that no one else contributed, or had any authority to contribute, towards the composition of the adhan.[8][9][10]

Shia sources also narrate 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 ʾilāha ʾillā llāh 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 rasūlu llāh fulfills the requirement that there should be someone to guide in the name of God, which states Muhammad is God's Messenger,rasūl, nabi (prophet). This is the acceptance of prophethood 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 walīyu llāh

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 llāh means "Ali is His (God's) Wali "the headman."

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 ʾillā llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu llāh, ʿalīyun walī llāh.

Adhan reminds Muslims of these three Islamic teaching Tawhid, Nabuwat and Imamate before each prayer. These three emphasise devotion to God, Muhammad and Imam, which are considered to be so linked together that they 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)

What to recite during Adhan (call to prayer)

While listening to the adhan, Muslims repeat the same words silently, except when the muezzin says: "حَيَّ عَلَىٰ ٱلصَّلَاة or حَيَّ عَلَىٰ ٱلْفَلَاح" (ḥayya ʿalā ṣ-ṣalāh or ḥayya ʿala l-falāḥ)[17] they silently say:" لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِٱلله " (lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata ʾillā bi-llāh) (there is no strength or power except from God).[18]

What to recite after Adhan

Immediately following the Adhan, Muslims recite the following dua (supplications):

1. ﻭَﺃَﻧَﺎ ﺃَﺷْﻬَﺪُ ﺃَﻥْ لَا ﺇِﻟَٰﻪَ إِلَّا ٱللهُ ﻭَﺣْﺪَﻩُ لَا ﺷَﺮِﻳﻚَ ﻟَﻪُ ﻭَﺃَﻥَّ ﻣُﺤَﻤَّﺪًا ﻋَﺒْﺪُﻩُ ﻭَﺭَﺳُﻮﻟُﻪُ، ﺭَﺿِﻴﺖُ بِٱللهِ ﺭَبًّا ﻭَﺑِﻤُﺤَﻤَّﺪٍ رَﺳُﻮلًا وَبِٱلْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا‎ ".

Wa ʾanaa ʾašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāhu waḥdahu lā šarīka lahu wa-ʾanna muḥammadan ʿabduhu wa-rasūluhu, raḍītu bi-llāhi rabban wa-bi-muḥammadin rasūlan wa-bi-lʾislāmi dīnan.[19]

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

2. An invocation of blessings on Muhammad:

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 ﺑﺎﺭﻛﺖ ﻋﻠٰﯽ ﺇﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢ ﻭ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺁﻝ ﺇﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢ ﺍﻧﻚ ﺣﻤﻴﺪ ﻣﺠﻴﺪ

Allāhumma ṣalli ʿalā muḥammadin wa ʿalā ʾaali muḥammadin, kamā ṣallayta ʿalā ʾibrāhīma wa ʿalā ʾaali ʾibrāhīma innaka ḥamīdun maǧīd. Allāhumma bārik ʿalā muḥammadin wa ʿalā ʾaali muḥammadin kamā bārakta ʿalā ʾibrāhīma wa ʿalā ʾaali ʾibrāhīma innaka ḥamīdun maǧīd.[20]

3. Muhammad's name is invoked requested:

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

Allāhumma rabba haḍihi d-daʿawati t-tammah wa-ṣ-ṣalāti l-qaʾimah, ʾāti muḥammadan al-wasīlata wa-l-faḍīlah wa-bʿaṯhu l-maqalam al-maḥmūdan illaḍī waʿadtah[21]

4. Dua are then made directly to God, between the adhan and the iqamaah.

According to Abu Dawud, Muhammad said: "Repeat the words of the muezzin and when you finish, ask God what you want and you will get it".[22]


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. Various geographic regions in the Middle East traditionally perform the Adhan in particular maqamat: Medina, Saudi Arabia uses Maqam Bayati while Mecca uses Maqam Hijaz. 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.[23]

Modern legal standing


In 2016, opposition leader Khaleda alleged that the government were obstructing the broadcasting of adhans through loudspeakers, citing security concerns for the prime minister Sheikh Hasina".[24][citation needed]


In 2016, Israel’s ministerial committee approved a draft bill that limits the volume of the use of public address systems for calls to prayer, particularly, outdoor loudspeakers for adhaan, citing it as a factor of noise pollution.[25][26][27] The bill was submitted by Knesset member Motti Yogev of the far right Zionist party Jewish Home and Robert Ilatov of the right wing Yisrael Beiteinu.[26] The ban is meant to affect three mosques in Abu Dis village of East Jerusalem, disbarring them from broadcasting the morning call (fajr) prayers.[28] The bill was backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said: “I cannot count the times — they are simply too numerous — that citizens have turned to me from all parts of Israeli society, from all religions, with complaints about the noise and suffering caused to them by the excessive noise coming to them from the public address systems of houses of prayer.”[27] The Israel Democracy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, expressed concerns that it specifically stifles the rights of Muslims, and restricts their freedom of religion.[27][28]


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.[29] Following the conclusion of said debates, on the 1 February 1932, the Adhan was chanted in Turkish and the practice was continued for a period of 18 years. There was some resistance against the Adhan in Turkish language and protests surged. In order to suppress this protests, in 1941, a new law was issued, with which people who chanted the Adhan in Arabic could be imprisoned until for up to 3 months and be fined with up to 300 Turkish Lira.

On 17 June 1950, a new government led by Adnan Menderes, restored Arabic as the liturgical language.[30]


The Fittja Mosque (in Botkyrka south of Stockholm) was in 2013 the first mosque to be granted permission for a weekly public call to Friday prayer, on condition that the sound volume does not exceed 60 dB.[31] In Karlskrona (province of Blekinge, southern Sweden) the Islamic association built a minaret in 2017 and has had weekly prayer calls since then.[32][33] The temporary mosque in Växjö filed for a similar permission in February 2018,[34] which sparked a nationwide debate about the practice.[35][36][37] A yearlong permission was granted by the Swedish Police Authority in May the same year.[38][39]

In popular culture

Turkish National Anthem

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.

"The Armed Man"

The adhan appears in "The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace" composed by Karl Jenkins.

See also


  1. ^ Nathal M. Dessing Rituals of Birth, Circumcision, Marriage, and Death Among Muslims in the Netherlands Peeters Publishers 2001 ISBN 978-9-042-91059-1 page 25
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ N Mohammad (1985), The doctrine of jihad: An introduction, Journal of Law and Religion, 3(2): 381-397
  4. ^ Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi (26 March 2016). The Laws of Islam (PDF). Enlight Press. ISBN 978-0994240989. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  5. ^ William Muir, The Life of Mohammad from Original Sources, reprinted by Adamant Media ISBN 1-4021-8272-4
  6. ^ Sahih Bukhari 89.329 Archived 2008-12-04 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Sahih Muslim : Book 020: Number 4477, 4478, 4480, 4481, 4482, 4483 Archived 2011-08-20 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b c d Sunan Abu Dawood : Book 36: Number 4266 Archived 2011-08-06 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c d Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Arabic) Chapter of Fitan, 2:45 (India) and 4:501 Tradition # 2225 (Egypt); Hadith #2149 (numbering of al-'Alamiyyah)
  10. ^ a b Quran : Surah Sajda: Ayah 24-25
  11. ^ Kitab rab as-sad by Sana'ani
  12. ^ "Akhbari". Akhbari. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  13. ^ Islamic Laws : Rules of Namaz » Adhan and Iqamah Archived September 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Importance and Conditions of Prayers - Question #466 Archived July 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Adhan Call to Prayer". duas.org. Retrieved on 25 August 2016.
  16. ^ Haykal, Muhammad Husayn (May 1994). The Life of Muhammad. p. 200. ISBN 9789839154177.
  17. ^ Muwatta
  18. ^ Sahih Al-Bukhari #548
  19. ^ Sahîh Muslim 386
  20. ^ Sahîh Al-Bukhari 3370
  21. ^ Sahih Al-Bukhari 588
  22. ^ Abu Dawud 524
  23. ^ Touma, Habib Hassan (1996). The Music of the Arabs, p.157-158, trans. Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-88-8.
  24. ^ "Azan not being allowed thru loudhailers for Hasina's security: Khaleda". Prothom Alo. Prothom Alo. 28 June 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-01-10. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Israel to limit volume of prayer call from mosques".
  26. ^ a b "Israel to ban use of loudspeakers for 'Azaan' despite protest". The Financial Express. Ynet. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  27. ^ a b c "Israeli PM backs bill to limit Azan". Dawn. AFP. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  28. ^ a b Hawwash, Kamel (7 November 2016). "Israel's ban on the Muslim call to prayer in Jerusalem is the tip of the iceberg". Middle East Monitor. Middle East Monitor. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  29. ^ The Adhan in Turkey Archived April 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Aydar, Hidayet (2006). "The issue of chanting the Adhan in languages other than Arabic and related social reactions against it in Turkey". dergipark.gov.tr. p. 59-62. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  31. ^ "Ljudkablar dras för första böneutropet" [Cables laid out for the first call to prayer] (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 24 April 2014.
  32. ^ "Blekinge har fått sin första minaret" [Blekinge has gotten its first minaret] (in Swedish). Sveriges Television. 13 Oct 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Swedish town allows calls to prayer from minaret". Anadolu Agency. 17 Nov 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  34. ^ "Moskén i Växjö vill ha böneutrop" [The mosque in Växjö wants prayer calls] (in Swedish). Sveriges Television. 12 February 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  35. ^ "Christian Democrat leader opposes Muslim call to prayer in Sweden". Radio Sweden. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  36. ^ Lawal Olatunde (14 February 2018). "Swedish church supports Muslims Adhan". Islamic Hotspot. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  37. ^ "This Jewish leader is defending the Muslim call to prayer in Sweden". The New Arab. 19 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  38. ^ Thorneus, Ebba (May 8, 2018). "Polisen tillåter böneutrop via högtalare". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  39. ^ Broke, Cecilia (May 8, 2018). "Polisen ger klartecken till böneutrop i Växjö" [The Police gives clearance for prayer calls in Växjö]. SVT (in Swedish). Retrieved December 27, 2018.

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