Book of the Adhan

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 14. Book of the Adhan

I: The origin of the Adhan

The words of Allah, "When you call to the prayer they make a mockery and a game of it. That is because they are people who do not use their intellect." (5:61) and "When the prayer is called on the day of Jumu'a." (62:9)

578. It is related that Anas said, "The people mentioned the fire and the bell, recollecting the Jews and the Christians. Then Bilal was instructed to say the phrases of the adhan twice and those of the iqama once only."

579. It is related that Ibn 'Umar said, "When the Muslims arrived in Madina, they would gather and guess at the time of the prayer. There was no call for it. They discussed it one day and some of them said that they should adopt a bell like that of the Christians and others said that it should be a trumpet like the horn of the Jews. 'Umar said, 'Why don't you send a man to call to the prayer?' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Bilal, stand up and call to the prayer.'"

II: The doubling up of the phrases of the adhan

580. It is related that Anas said, "Bilal was ordered to repeat the phrases of the adhan twice and to say those of the iqama once only except for the words 'qad qamati's-salat' ."

581. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "When the people increased in number, they discussed how the time of the prayer could be made known in a way they would all recognise. They suggested lighting a fire and striking a bell. However, Bilal was ordered to call the adhan repeating its phrases twice and to call the iqama repeating its phrases once only."

III: Repeating the phrases of the iqama once only except for the words "qad qamat's-salat"

582. It is related that Anas said, "Bilal was ordered to repeat the phrases of the adhan twice and to say those of the iqama once only."

Isma'il said, "I mentioned that to Ayyub and he said, 'Except the iqama.'"

IV: The excellence of the adhan

583. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When the call to prayer is done Shaytan retreats, farting so that he will not hear it. When the call is finished he comes back again until the iqama is done, when he retreats again. When the iqama is finished, he comes back again, insinuating himself between a man and his self and saying, 'Think of such-and-such, think of such-and-such,' which he was not thinking about before, until the man does not know how much he has prayed." (Muwatta, Book 3, 6)

V: Raising the voice during the call

'Umar ibn 'Abdu'l-'Aziz said, "Give the adhan without elongating it or making it too ornate or we will dismiss you."

584. It is related that Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said (to Abu Sa'sa' al Ansari), "I see that you love sheep and the desert. When you are among your sheep or in the desert, give the call to prayer and raise your voice when doing it. No jinn or man or anything within range hears the voice of the mu'adhdhin without bearing witness for him on the Day of Rising." Abu Sa'id said, "I heard this from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace." (Muwatta, Book 3, 5)

VI: The adhan preventing bloodshed

585. It is related from Anas ibn Malik, "When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went out with us on a raid against some people, he would not let us attack until after daybreak but would wait. If he heard the adhan. he refrained from attacking them, but if he did not hear the adhan, he would attack them." He said, "We went out to Khaybar and arrived there at night. In the morning when he did not hear the adhan, he rode out and I rode behind Abu Talha and my foot was touching the foot of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. They came out towards us carrying their spades and buckets. When they saw the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, they said, 'Muhammad! By Allah, Muhammad and the army!' When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw them, he said, 'Allah is greater! Allah is greater! Khaybar is destroyed. When we alight in the yard of a people, it is a bad morning indeed for those who have been warned.' "

VII: What should be said on hearing the call to prayer

586. It is related from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When you hear the adhan, repeat what the mu'adhdhin says." (Muwatta, Book 3, 2)

587. 'Isa ibn Talha related that one day he heard Mu'awiya repeating the words of the adhan up to the words, 'I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.' "

The same thing is related from Yahya

588. Yahya added, "One of our brothers related that when he said, 'Come to prayer,' he said, 'There is no strength nor power except by Allah.' He said, 'That is what we heard your Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying.'"

VIII: Supplication during the call

589. It is related from Jabir ibn 'Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Whoever says, after hearing the adhan, 'O Allah! Lord of this perfect call and established prayer, give Muhammad intercession and superiority and raise him up to the praiseworthy station which You promised him,' my intercession will be available to him on the Day of Rising."

IX: Drawing lots to do the adhan

It is mentioned that some people disagreed about the adhan and Sa'd had them draw lots among themselves.

590. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "If people only knew what was in the call to prayer and the first row, and could find no other way to get it than drawing lots for it, they would draw lots for it. If they only knew what was in going early to the prayer, they would race each other to get there. And if they only knew what was in the prayers of 'Isha' and Subh, they would come to them even if they had to crawl." (Muwatta, Book 3, 3)

X: Talking during the adhan

Sulayman ibn Surad talked during the adhan. Al-Hasan said, "There is no harm in laughing while the adhan or the iqama is being given."

591. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn al-Harith said, "Ibn 'Abbas addressed us on a wet, muddy day. When the mu'adhdhin reached, 'Come to the prayer,' he ordered him to call, 'Pray in your homes.' The people looked at one another so he said, 'One who is better than him did this. It is a dispensation.' "

XI: A blind person calling the adhan when there is someone to inform him

592. It is related from Salim ibn 'Abdullah that his father said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Bilal calls the adhan during the night, so eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktum calls the adhan." Then he said, "He was a blind man who did not call the adhan until someone said to him, 'The morning has come. The morning has come.' " (Muwatta, Book 3, 16)

XII: The adhan after the time of Fajr

593. It is related from Hafsa that when the mu'adhdhin withdrew to call the adhan of Subh and daybreak appeared, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed two short rak'ats before the iqama of the prayer was given.  (Muwatta, Book 7, 29)

594. It is related from 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray two short rak'ats between the call and the iqama for the Subh prayer.

595. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Bilal calls the prayer during the night, so eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktum gives the call."

XIII: The adhan before fajr

596. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "None of you (or none among you) should let the adhan of Bilal stop you from eating your sahur. He gives the adhan (or the call) at night so that any of you who are praying can finish off and any of you who are sleeping can get up. He is not saying that it is fajr or time for Subh." Then he pointed his fingers upwards and lowered them until he said, "Like that."

Az-Zuhayr said, "With his two index fingers, one on top of the other and then opened them out to his right and left." (Indicating the spread of the light of dawn)

597. From 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Bilal calls the prayer during the night, so eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktum gives the call."

XIV: The length of time between the adhan and the iqama and those who wait for the iqama

598. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn Mughaffal al-Muzni that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is a prayer between the two adhans, there is a prayer between the two adhans," and then the third time he said, "For whoever wishes it."

599. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "When the mu'adhdhin gave the adhan, some of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would go quickly to the pillars until the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out. In this way they would pray two rak'ats before Maghrib even though there was scarcely any time between the adhan and the iqama."

Shu'ba said, "There was only a very short time between the two."

XV: Those who wait for the iqama

600. It is related that 'A'isha said, "When the voice of the mu'adhdhin had died down after the first call for the Fajr prayer, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would get up and pray two short rak'ats before the Fajr prayer after the dawn had become clear. Then he would lie down on his right side until the mu'adhdhin came to do the iqama.

XVI: There is a prayer between the two adhans for any who wish to do it.

601. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn Mughaffal al-Muzani said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is a prayer between the two adhans, there is a prayer between the two adhans," and then the third time he said, "For whoever wishes it."

XVII: Saying that only one mu'adhdhin should call the prayer on a journey

602. It is related from Malik ibn al-Huwayrith, "I came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with some of my people and we stayed with him for twenty nights. He was kind and merciful to us. When he saw our yearning for our families, he said, 'Return and be with them. Teach them and do the prayer. When the time for the prayer comes, one of you should give the adhan on behalf of all of you and the oldest of you should be the Imam.' "

XVIII: The adhan and the iqama for travellers when there is a group of them. The same applies at 'Arafa and al-Muzdalifa.

The mu'adhdhin saying on a cold or rainy night, "Pray in your homes."

603. It is related that Abu Dharr said, "We were with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on a journey and the mu'adhdhin wanted to give the adhan and the Prophet said to him, 'Let it get cooler.' Then he wanted to give the adhan and he said to him, 'Let it get cooler.' Then he wanted to give the adhan and he said to him, 'Let it get cooler.' until the shadows are equal to the hills.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Intense heat is from the blast of Jahannam.'"

604. It is related that Malik ibn al-Huwayrith said, "Two men came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wanting to travel and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'When you set out, give the adhan and the iqama and then the oldest of you should be the Imam.' "

605. It is related from Malik, "We came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as young men of about the same age and stayed twenty days and nights with him. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was kind and merciful to us. When he realised that we were longing for our families - or yearning for them - he asked us about those we had left behind us and we informed him. He said, 'Return to your families and stay with them and teach them and instruct them' - and he mentioned some things which I remember and some which I do not remember - 'and pray as you have seen me pray. When it is time for the prayer, one of you should give the adhan on behalf of all of you and the oldest of you should be the Imam.'"

606. It is related that Nafi' said, "Ibn 'Umar gave the adhan at Dajnan on a cold night and then said, 'Pray in your houses.' He told us that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had ordered the mu'adhdhin to give the adhan and then to say after it, 'Pray in your houses' on a cold or rainy night when on a journey." (Muwatta, Book 3, 11)

[Dajnan: a mountain one postal stage (barid) from Makka.]

607. It is related from 'Awn ibn Abi Juhayfa that his father said, "I saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, at al-Abtah. Bilal came to him and gave the adhan for the prayer. Then Bilal brought out a short spear which he stuck upright in front of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, at Al-Abtah and gave the iqama for the prayer."

XIX: Should the mu'adhdhin call this way and that and should he turn his head during the adhan.

It is mentioned that Bilal put his two fingers in his ears and that Ibn 'Umar did not put his fingers in his ears. Ibrahim said, "There is no harm in giving the adhan without wudu'." 'Ata' said, "Wudu' is a duty and a sunna." 'A'isha said, "The Prophe, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to remember Allah at all times."

608. It is related from 'Awn ibn Abi Juhayfa that his father said that he saw Bilal giving the adhan and he called this way and that during the adhan."

XX: The words of a man, "We have missed the prayer."

Ibn Sirin disliked people saying, "We have missed the prayer." People should rather say, "We have not caught the prayer." The words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, are sounder.

609. It is related that Abu Qatada said that his father said, "Once while we were praying with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he heard some men making a lot of noise. After he had finished the prayer, he said, 'What is going on with you?' They said, 'We were hurrying to the prayer.' He said, 'Do not do it. When you come to the prayer, you must come with tranquility. Pray as much as you catch and complete anything you have missed.'"

XXI: Do not run to the prayer, but come to it with tranquility and dignity.

"Pray as much as you catch and complete anything you have missed." Abu Qatada said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said it.

610. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When you hear the iqama, go to the prayer and you should be tranquil and dignified. Do not hurry. Pray as much as you catch and complete anything you have missed." (Muwatta, Book 3, 4)

XXII: At what point should people get up when they see the Imam during the iqama

611. It is related from Abu Qatada's father that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When the iqama is given, do not get up until you can see me."

XXIII: Not standing up for the prayer in a hurried way, but standing with tranquility and dignity

612. It is related from Abu Qatada's father that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When the iqama is given, do not get up until you can see me. You should do it with tranquility."

XXIV: Is it permitted to leave the mosque with good reason?

613. It is related from Abu Hurayra, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once left after the iqama for the prayer had been given and the rows were straight. He was standing in his prayer place and we were waiting for him to give the takbir. He left, saying, 'Stay where you are.' We remained as we were until he came back to us with his head dripping water. He had done ghusl."

XXV: When the Imam says, 'Stay where you are,' then wait for him until he returns.

614. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "The iqama for the prayer had been given and the people had made their rows straight and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out and went forward but he was junub. Then he said, 'Stay where you are.' He went back and did ghusl. Then he came out with his head dripping water and led them in prayer."

XXVI: A man saying, "We have not prayed."

615. It is related from Jabir ibn 'Abdullah that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab came on the Day of the Ditch after the sun had set and he began to curse the unbelievers of Quraysh and said, 'Messenger of Allah, I was about to pray 'Asr when the sun set. That was after the fasting person had broken his fast.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'By Allah, I have not prayed either!' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went down to Buthan and I went with him. He did wudu' and then prayed 'Asr after the sun had set and then prayed Maghrib after it."

XXVII: When the Imam is presented with something that needs to be done after the iqama

616. It is related that Anas said, "The iqama for the prayer was given while the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was talking privately to a man in the corner of the mosque. He did not get up for the prayer until the people had gone to sleep."

XXVIII: Talking after the iqama

617. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "The iqama for the prayer was given and a man presented himself to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and detained him after the iqama for the prayer had been given."