Muslim Call to Prayer and My Azan Clock
Commentary by Maimoona Harrington | FāVS News
Soon after moving to the United States, I realized how much I miss the sound of Azan. Azan is an Islamic call to the prayer that echoes five times a day to call the believers to offer obligatory daily prayers.
First words of Azan are “Allahu Akbar” – Allah (God) is the Greatest.
Countries in South Asia often write Azan and Middle East, Adhan.
Azan is broadcasted five times a day in Islamic countries. When it is prayer time, every neighborhood echoes with sounds of Azan. Every “Muezzin” recites this call to the prayer in their own “Qiraʼat” (a way of recitation). Azan has also been allowed to broadcast in various cities in western countries like America, England and Europe.
Azan (Adhan) – The Islamic call to the prayer.
Muezzin – One who recites the call to the prayer.
Qira’at – Way of recitation.
In Pakistan, every neighborhood has a small or a big Masjid (Mosque) and sometimes two to three in same neighborhood. So no matter where you are in the city, you can’t miss the call to the prayer. Since it echoes on loudspeakers of masajids minarets one after another, it becomes hard to enjoy the spiritual melody of Azan.
Although in Pakistan those blaring sounds were bothersome, after moving to America I missed those blaring sounds. Azan is ‘the call’ to the Lord (Allah). It is a reminder that it’s time to pause, meditate and get back to the Almighty as he is greater than everything and everyone. Nothing takes precedence over him.
I shared this feeling of missing the Azan call with my husband. He surprised me with an Azan clock, and, up until then, I did not know about any such Azan clocks.
Once adjusted to my location, my Azan clock broadcasted five times a day the call to the prayer. It was a great feeling to be able to hear the Azan once again in my own home. I was surprised by his sweet gesture and thoughtfulness. It has been, 15 years and I have the same clock broadcasting Azan five times a day.
If you ever visit a Muslim household in America, you can easily spot the Azan clock.
With recent advancement in technology, one can also hear Azan on mobile devices through various applications. Now the Islamic Centers here in America have their own Azan times as per the calculation of their location and send notifications when the Muezzin calls for the prayer through their apps.
Azan is not mandatory to be heard to be able to offer prayer as a prayer can be offered as per its scheduled time. But this call to the prayer is a proclamation of the magnificence of Almighty Allah.
Prayer times are calculated by complex mathematical equations that involve several variables; including: longitude and latitude, local time, the equation of time (the difference between the standard clock and the sundial), and the inclination of the Sun. The calculations of the Fajr, Sunrise, Maghrib, and Isha’a prayer times share one equation, but the Asr prayer time has several equations.Seham Elsherif
Azan unites Muslims in congregations without any discrimination or superiority, and everyone stands row by row bestowed in front of their Allah Almighty.
Azan is recited in a newborn ear, so the first words a newborn hears are the words of Azan.
As per a Hadith (record of statements or actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): One day Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) companions were discussing how to gather Muslims at a particular time to pray together. To offer the daily congregational prayers a tool was needed. Some suggested to use a bell as Christians do, and others advised using a ram’s horn, following an ancient Jewish practice. However, one of the Prophet’s Sahaba (companion) Abdullah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him (RA)) saw a dream where he was shown how to call others to the prayer. He shared this dream with the Prophet (pbuh). It is also reported by some, there were also few other companions who saw the same dream. The Prophet (pbuh) then asked Bilal (RA), to recite the adhan.
Bilal (RA), an ex-slave and a well-known companion of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) became the first person to recite the Azan. He was also one of the first companions who accepted Islam. His full name was Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi also known as Bilal ibn Ribah. To learn more about this Muezzin of Islam, you can read my article at FāVS.
“The eloquent Adzan or Call to Prayer, which to this day summons at the same hours millions of the human race to their devotions, was first uttered by a Negro, Bilal by name, whom Mohammed, in obedience to a dream, appointed the first Muezzin or Crier. And it has been remarked that even Alexander the Great is in Asia an unknown personage by the side of this honoured Negro.”Edward Wilmot Blyden
Azan is not sounded for the call of the prayer only but can also be sounded to not allow Muslims to come for prayers during times of natural disasters and civil strife. Personally some of the most beautiful Azan’s I have heard are from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Turkey and Abu Dhabi so far.
Mevlan Kurtishi is an esteemed Albanian artist, renowned as an Islamic singer, composer, songwriter and music producer. Click here to listen to the Islamic call to the prayer in his voice. It’s one I have loved.
Honorifics used in Islam:
- PBUH – Peace be upon him.
- RA – May Allah be pleased with him.
The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.
Maimoona Harrington was born and raised in Pakistan. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies. As a practicing Muslim with extensive world travel and living in the West, she has devoted herself to spread awareness of Islam as a goodwill gesture. In an effort to do this, she started writing from her own personal experiences with religion, beliefs and life in a different culture. She also has special interest in all the religions and how and why they are all important to its followers. Her primary focus is on the co-existence and harmony between all human beings. Her message is to spread peace not division. She strongly believes that if you want to be closer to your creator then love His creation unconditionally and expect nothing in return for He loves us unconditionally and forgives us no matter how sinful we are!