Rules Pertaining to the Call to Salaat (Azaan)
(Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi)
FATWASQ. How long after the Azaan should the Maghrib Fardh commence?
A. Between the Azaan and the Iqaamat the duration of the interval should be at least so long that three verses could be recited. This is the minimum.
Q. How much delay should there be after the Maghrib Athaan and the Iqaamah?
A. After the Maghrib Athaan it is Sunnah for there to be an interval of the duration of three short aayats before beginning the Iqaamah. By the time the Muath-thin reaches the musalla in front from the Minaret where he gave the Athaan, it will be time for Iqaamah.
Q. Following the instructions of our Mufti, our Muath-thin only recites the Iqaamah when the Imaam reaches his musalla. Immediately after the Iqaamah, the Imaam commences the Salaat while the musallis are still busy joining the saffs. Someone suggests that the Iqaamah should begin as soon as it is the time provided the Imaam is present. When should the Muath-thin recite the Iqaamah?
A. Usually a time is fixed for the Muath-thin to step forward and recite the Iqaamah whether the Imaam has reached the musalla or not. What your Mufti has implemented is also correct. There is, however, no valid excuse for the lagging musallis. It is not permissible for them to lazily file into the sufoof (rows) as was the practice of the munaafiqeen. They must ensure that they are in the rows in time and that they all begin the Salaat with the Imaam’s Takbeer. Those who are sitting at the back should move forward quickly the moment the Muath-thin steps forward or begins the Iqaamah. Many musallis have the evil attitude of sitting and waiting for the end of the Iqaamah or for the Salaat to begin. Only then do they get up like the munaafiqeen (hypocrites) used to practice. The Qur’aan Majeed severely rebukes them for such indolence.
Q. When the Muazzin delivers the Iqaamat shall everyone (Muqtadees and Imaam) reply?
A. The reply to the lqaamat is to be given by all; Imam, Muqtadi and those who happen to have completed their Salaat and are listening to the Iqaamat.
Q. After the Azaan some people lift their hands and make Dua, others do not lift their hands when making the Dua after Azaan. Which is the correct way?
A. It is “Afdhal” (better) to make the Dua after Azaan without raising the hands, but it is also permissible to raise the hands. However, where the practice of raising the hands after Azaan has become an obligatory practice, there one should refrain from adopting this method of Dua. Reciting the Dua without raising the hands (i.e. after the Azaan) should be the method adopted as this is the best.
Q. While making wudhu if the Athaan begins, should one stop and wait until the end of the Athaan?
A. It is not necessary to stop and wait. One may continue with the wudhu.
Q. Is it proper to make Salaam whilst the Azaan is being called?
A. It is improper to make Salaam while the Azaan is being called.
Q. If the Athaan begins while one is reciting the Qur’aan or an Ustaadh is engaged in teaching, what should be done?
A. The Tilaawat and the teaching should be suspended. It is necessary to listen to the Athaan and to respond to the Muath-thin’s statements. The Tilaawat and teaching could resume after the Athaan.
Q. If while reciting the Qur’aan the Athaan begins, what should be done?
A. Stop the Tilaawat and pay attention to the Athaan.
Q. Can one continue reading Qur`aan Shareef when the Azaan has commenced?
A. Yes, it is permissible.
Q. Is it necessary to respond to the Athaan which is played on a cassette or recited over a radio or with a loudspeaker?
A. It is not a requirement to respond to the Athaan which is recited over a radio or on a cassette. But it is necessary to respond if it is recited using a loudspeaker.
Q. Is it sinful to talk while the Athaan is being recited?
A. Yes, it is sinful to indulge unnecessarily in conversation while the Athaan is being called. It is Sunnatul Muakkadah to listen to the Athaan and respond to it. Some of the Fuqaha have even said that there is danger of an evil death for people who speak during the Athaan.
Q. Is it permissible to talk after the Iqaamah?
A. It is not permissible to talk after Iqaamah.
Q. Should “reply” be given to the second Azaan of Jumuah Salaat?
A. Replying to the Azaan applies to only the first Azaan. When the Muazzin recites the second Azaan in front of the mimbar no reply should be given.
Q. At our Musjid before the Muath-thin starts the Athaan, he recites the aayat, 'Innallaaha wa malaaikatahu….' Is this part of the Athaan procedure?
A. It is a bid’ah. It is not permissible for the Muath-thin to adhere to this innovation. It is not part of the Athaan procedure.
Q. We live in an area in which non-Muslims are the predominant residents. They object to the Athaan given over the loudspeaker especially Fajr time. What should be the reaction of the Muslim community?
A. The microphone is not part of any act of ibaadat. There is absolutely no need for a loudspeaker to recite the Athaan, especially if the non-Muslim neighbours around the Musjid object. It is plain ignorance to create ill-feeling and to antagonize the non-Muslim neighbours for a practice which has no Shar’i significance. The beautiful, simple, Sunnah method is for the Muath-thin to mount the minaret and proclaim the Athaan without the mic.
Q. When the muath-thin is absent, and present in the Musjid are only the Imaam and one musalli who is beardless, wears his trousers below his ankles, does not wear a topi and has renounced the Hanafi Mathhab which he used to follow, who should recite the Athaan and the Iqaamah?
A. The Imaam should recite both the Athaan and the Iqaamah. The faasiq should not be allowed the honour of calling the Athaan and the Iqaamah. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When a faasiq is honoured, the Arsh of Allah shudders.”
Q. It is known that a faasiq such as one who shaves his beard should not be made the Imaam. What is the ruling about Athaan if the Muath-thin is also a faasiq?
A. This mas’alah applies to the Muath-thin as well. It is not permissible to allow a faasiq to be the Muath-thin of a Musjid. The Athaan of a faasiq is Makrooh Tahrimi.
Q. When reciting Iqaamat is it necessary for the Muath-thin to stand directly behind the Imaam in the first saff?
A. No, it is not necessary. He may stand on any side and in any saff.
Q. During the Athaan the Muath-thin forgot to recite ‘As-Salaatu Khairum Minannoum’ in Fajr. What was he supposed to have done? Should the Athaan be repeated?
A. The Athaan should not be repeated. When the Muath-thin realizes that he has omitted a statement from the Athaan or Iqaamat, he should repeat the words immediately before the omitted statements. Then he should continue as usual.
Q. A Muath-thin recited the Athaan quickly in the same way as the Iqaamat. What is the ruling?
A. It is Sunnat to pause after every statement of the Athaan. If this has not been observed, it will be Mustahab to repeat the Athaan.
Q. Some say that the musallis should remain seated in the beginning of the Iqaamah. When the words: ‘Hayya lal falaah’ are recited, only then should they rise and proceed to form the saffs (rows). Is this correct?
A. It is not correct. The musallis should rise immediately the Muath-thin begins the Iqaamah. It is imperative that the rows be formed and all musallis be in position when the Imaam commences Takbeer Tahrimah. The text in the Fiqh Books which say that musallis should get up at the time of ‘Hayya lal falaah’, means that the musallis who are near to the Imaam and already in the saffs, should not remain seated by this time. It merely means that sitting beyond this point is improper. The text does not mean that it is not permissible to rise and form the saffs before ’Hayya alal falaah’. In fact, the Khulafa-e-Raashideen had appointed a man to move among the saffs and ensure that the rows have been correctly formed. Only after he announced that the saffs had already been formed, would the Salaat commence. The text appearing in the Fiqh Kutub has to be interpreted in the light of the Ta-aamul (general practice) of the Sahaabah and Taabieen. An opposite meaning should not be taken. The Fuqaha never gave this text the meaning which some deviants give to it.
Q. It has been noticed that some people who give the Athaan over a loudspeaker, do not turn their heads when reciting ‘Hayya alas Salaah and Hayya alal falaah’. Is it permissible to omit this practice to ensure that the sound is transmitted properly?
A. It is not permissible to discard the Sunnat practice for the purpose mentioned. Even when a loudspeaker is used, it is necessary to turn the head.
Q. I am a follower of the Maaliki Math-hab. For Fajr, two Athaans are called. Will it be valid to perform the Fajr Sunnat Salaat after the first Athaan or should we wait until after the second Athaan in which the words: 'As-Salaatu Khairum minan naum' are recited?
A. The first Athaan is recited before Subh Saadiq, i.e. before the entry of Fajr time, hence it is not permissible to perform the Sunnats of Fajr after the first Athaan. You have to wait until after the second Athaan. It will also be permissible to perform the Sunnats before the second Athaan as long as Fajr time has commenced.
Q. If the Athaan is recited at Zawwaal, is it valid?
A. It is not permissible to give Athaan at the time of Zawwaal. Such Athaan should be repeated.
Q. In Iqaamah is it permissible to turn the face right and left as in Athaan?
A. In Iqaamah it is permissible to turn the face both sides. It is also permissible to refrain from turning the face.
Q. Is it permissible for the one who recited the Athaan to become the Imaam?
A. It is permissible for the one who gave the Athaan to become Imaam and another person gives the Iqaamah.
Q. My cellmate is a non-Muslim. He becomes extremely agitated if I call the Athaan loudly Fajr time because he is disturbed in his sleep. Can I omit the Athaan?
A. Recite the Athaan softly so that you do not disturb the kuffaar cellmates. Recite so that only you can hear the Athaan.
Q. According to the Maaliki Mathhab is it permissible to recite the Athaan inside the Musjid?
A. The objective of Athaan according to all Math-habs is to call the community to the Musjid for Salaat. It is therefore Makrooh to call the Athaan from inside the Musjid as a normal/permanent practice. According to the Maaliki Math-hab, only on the occasion of heavy rain when Isha is performed during Maghrib time should the Isha’ Athaan be recited in a low tone inside the Musjid. The Sunnah practice for the usual Athaan is from the Minaarah.
Q. Where should the second Athaan for Jumuah be recited according to the Maaliki Math-hab?
A. Even according to the Maaliki Math-hab, the second Athaan on Friday should be in front of the mimbar.
Q. If one does not hear the Athaan at the Musjid, is it still obligatory to attend the Musjid or Jamaat Khaanah for Salaat?
A. Performing Salaat in jamaa’t at the Musjid is not dependent on hearing the Athaan. Whether you hear the Athaan or not, it remains Waajib to go to the Musjid for the Fardh Salaat unless one has a valid reason for absence.
Q. Salaat was performed in the Musjid without the Athaan. Is the Salaat valid?
A. While the Salaat performed in the Musjid without Athaan is valid, it is not permissible to deliberately omit Athaan.
Q. Will it be sinful to continuously omit Athaan?
A. In fact, if Athaan is not recited in a town, the Shariah commands the Ameer of the State to wage war against that community – war with the Sword if the community refuses to proclaim Athaan five times a day. It is not permissible to omit the Waajib Athaan without valid reason.
Q. What is the Shariah’s view regarding an alarm in the Musjid to alert musallis of the time when the Jamaat commences? When it is time for the Jamaat, the alarm rings.
A. It is not permissible to use alarms to alert the musallis in the Musjid of the time for Jamaat. It is bid’ah to do so. The Shariah’s method for this function is the Iqaamah. It is haraam to add a new practice to the Iqaamah.
Q. In Gambia recently, on a day when it was raining heavily, the Muath-thin in the Athaan announced in Arabic: 'Stay in your homes for Salaat.' He said this instead of Hayya alas Salaah. Please comment.
A. In the Maaliki, Hambali and Shaafi’ Math-habs, if the weather is truly bad and threatening, then it is valid for the Muath-thin to proclaim ‘Sal-loo fir Rihaal’, after reciting the two hayyalatain. It is not permissible to omit Hayya alas Salaah and Hayya alal Falaah.
Q. Should one perform Azaan and Iqaamah whilst on a journey?
A. When a musaafir (traveller) whilst on his journey performs Salaat in the wilderness, desert, veld or farmland, he should not omit Athaan and Iqaamat. Even if he is travelling alone, Athaan and Iqaamat are necessary despite the Salaat being valid without these two acts of Ibaadat. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that when a person performs Salaat alone in the wilderness with Iqaamat, then two Angels join him. These two Angels become his muqtadis (followers). If he proclaims the Athaan, then from the armies of Allah, innumerable Angels form numerous saffs (rows) behind him. They become his muqtadis.
According to the Ahaadith wildernesses, deserts and jungles are always graced with Malaaikah and Muslim Jinn who perform Salaat. The reason which Imaam Shaafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) proffers for the prohibition of answering the call of nature facing the Qiblah or with the back towards the Qiblah in open spaces such as the wilderness, desert, etc., is that these places are always occupied by Malaaikah and Muslim Jinn performing Salaat facing the Qiblah. Hence, it is highly improper to be facing the direction of the Qiblah in this unceremonious state in the presence of these pious beings. And, if one’s back is towards the Qiblah during this state, one may be sitting in this ugly manner facing an Angel or a Jinn who is engaging in Salaat.
Q. We are prisoners in a city jail. However, we cannot hear the Athaan which is proclaimed on the outside in the Musjid. Do we have to recite the Athaan in prison?
A. Since you do not hear the Athaan outside prison, you should recite the Athaan inside prison. If you can hear the outside Athaan, it will suffice for you.
Q. Frequently it is observed that when the Athaan is proclaimed, dogs in the vicinity begin to howl. Is there any particular reason for this?
A. According to the Hadith, when the Athaan is recited, shaitaan becomes terrified and he flees, running away by leaps and bounds. Animals are able to witness this. The howling in all probability is on account of the dogs seeing the flight of shaitaan. They too become scared of shaitaan.