From Academic Kids

Missing image
A call to prayer in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Adhan (Arabic: أَذَان aḏān; also: azaan, athaan) is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin. It is pronounced as athaan (the second syllable is prolonged, and th is pronounced as in the English word the.) The root of the word is A/tha/na which means "to permit", and another derivative of this word is O/thon (the first O is pronounced as in u in the German word Gtterfunken) and means ear.

The adhan is called out from a minaret of a mosque five times a day (Sunni Islam) and three times a day (Shi'a Islam) for the Fard (mandatory) prayers. The purpose of the adhan is to summon Muslims to the mosque for prayers. There is a second call known as iqama that summons Muslims to line up for the beginning of the prayers.


Sunni Islam's adhan

Sunni sources state that the adhan was not written or said by Muhammad but by one of his Sahabah (the people who saw and believed in Muhammad); however, Muhammad did choose it to be the Muslims' call to prayer in preference to the bell or conch, used by Christians, or the shofar (ram's horn), used by Jews[1] (

During the Friday prayer (Salat Al Jummah), there are two adhans; the first is to call the people to the mosque, the second is said before the Imam begins the khutbah (religious sermon). Just before the prayers start, someone will recite the iqama as in all prayers.

"Allah is the Greatest" (twice) الله اكبر الله اكبر āllahu ākbar, āllahu ākbar
"I bear witness that there is no god except Allah" (twice) اشهد ان لا اله الا الله āsh'hadu ān lā ilaha illā-llah
"I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" (twice) اشهد ان محهدا رسول الله āsh'hadu ānna mūhammadār rasūlu-llah
"Make haste towards prayer" (twice) حي على الصلوة hayyā `alā-s-salah
"Make haste towards welfare" (twice) حي على الفلا ح hayyā `alā-l-falāh
"Allah is the Greatest" (twice) الله اكبر الله اكبر āllahu ākbar, āllahu ākbar
"There is no god except Allah" لا اله الا الله lā ilaha illā-llah
"Prayer is better than sleep" (twice)* الصلو ة خير من النوم ās-salatu khaīru min ān-naūm

*When used to summon the faithful to the first prayers of the day at dawn (fajr salat), the line "Prayer is better than sleep" is inserted in the adhan after the second call to the line "Make haste towards welfare".

Shi'a Islam's adhan

Shi'a sources state that it was Muhammad who, according to Allah's command, ordered the adhan to be 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.

Shi'a Islam teaches that Allah has appointed a vicegerent on Earth for every generation. It teaches that although Muhammad was Allah's final Prophet and Messenger, Allah appointed Ali as the first of Allah's twelve vicegerents to succeed Muhammad in order to lead mankind.

"Allah is the Greatest" (4 times) Allaahu Akbar
"I bear witness that there is no god except Allah" (twice) Ash-hadu al-laa ilaaha illallaah
"I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" (twice) Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar rasoolullaah
"I bear witness that Ali is the vicegerent of Allah and the successor to the Messenger of Allah" (twice) Ash-hadu anna a'liyyan walliyyullaahi was'iyyu rasoolillaah
"Make haste towards prayer" (twice) H'ayya a'las's'alaah
"Make haste towards welfare" (twice) H'ayya a'lal falaah'
"Make haste towards the best deed" (twice) H'ayya a'laa khayril a'mal"
"Allah is the Greatest" (twice) Allaahu Akbar
"There is no god except Allah" (twice) Laa ilaaha illallaah

Tone of the adhan

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 less melismas for the sunset prayer. During festivals, it may be performed antiphonally as a duet. (ibid, p.157-158)


External links

fr:Adhan nl:Azan ja:アザーン


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