Azhan is to be made exactly at the beginning of the prayer time, except for the
Morning Prayer, when it may be said before dawn (provided that the people are
able to distinguish between the early azhan and that of the proper time).
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “Bilal
makes the azhan during the night, so eat and drink until you hear the azhan of
Ibn Umm Maktum.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) The wisdom behind allowing
the morning azhan a little earlier is made clear in a hadith recorded by Ahmad
and others from Ibn Mas’ud: “None of you should let Bilal’s azhan prevent you
from the pre-dawn meal, as he is making the azhan for those who are praying to
stop and for those who are sleeping to get up.” But Bilal made his azhan in
exactly the same way as the regular azhan.
At-Tahawi and an-Nasa’i relate that the time difference between Bilal’s azhan and that of Ibn Umm Maktum was the time it took for one to come down from the minaret and for the others to get up to it. Enough time should be left between the azhan and iqamah for people to prepare themselves for prayer and get to the mosque. The hadith that state the time difference are weak. Al-Bukhari has a section entitled How Much Time Is There Between the Azhan and Iqamah?, but no specific length of time has been confirmed therein. Ibn Batal said, “There is no time limit set, except that of the time beginning and the people gathering for the prayer.” Jabir ibn Sumra said, “The callers to prayer of the Prophet would make the azhan and then leave some time, making the iqamah only when they saw the Prophet, upon whom be peace, coming (to the place of prayer). (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and atTirmizhi.)
Whoever Makes the Azhan May Make the Iqamah
This is so because the caller to prayer takes precedence in making the iqamah. Says Ash-Shaifi, “If a man made the azhan, he should follow it up with the iqamah.” Of this, at-Tirmizhi says, “Most of the scholars agree with this opinion.”
A: When One Should Stand for the Prayer
Malik states in al-Muwatta, “I have not heard anything concerning the specific time to stand for prayer. I have seen some people lagging and others being quick.” Ibn al-Munzhir recorded that Anas would stand when Qad qaamtus-salah was said.
B: Leaving the Mosque after the Azhan (and Before the Prayer)
It is not allowed to leave the call unanswered or to leave the mosque after it has been made, unless there is some excuse or one has the intention to return for the prayer. Abu Hurairah related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, told them, “If one of you is in the mosque and the call is made, he should not leave the mosque until he prays.” (Related by Ahmad with a sahih chain.) It is also related that Abu Hurairah said about a man who left the mosque after the call had been made, “That man has disobeyed Abu al-Qasim (the Prophet, upon whom be peace).” This is related by Muslim and others. Mu’azh at-Jahni related that the Prophet said, “It is the utmost apathy and sign of disbelief and hypocrisy that one who hears the call of Allah to salvation does not respond.” (Related by Ahmad and at-Tabarani.)
Commenting upon this, at-Tirmizhi says, “It has been related from more than one of the companions that one who hears the call and does not respond will have no prayer. Some said that this is the maximum imposition, which shows that there is no excuse for one who does not attend the congregational prayer without a valid reason.”
The Azhan and Iqamah for Those Who Missed the Proper Time of Prayer
One who sleeps through the time of a prayer or who forgets a prayer may make azhan and iqamah when he desires to pray. In a story recorded by Abu Dawud, when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and his companions slept through the time of the morning prayer, he ordered Bilal to make the azhan and iqamah for the prayer. If one has missed many prayers, it is preferred to make one azhan at the beginning followed by an iqamah for each prayer. Says al-’Athram, “I heard Abu ‘Abdullah (Ahmad) being asked what a man who had missed a prayer should do about the azhan. He mentioned the hadith of Hushaim from Abu az-Zubair...that the idol-worshippers kept the Prophet busy during four of his prayers during the Battle of the Clans. When part of the night had passed, he ordered Bilal to make the Azhan and the iqamah and they prayed the afternoon, sunset, and night prayers in succession, each time followed by the iqamah.
The Azhan and Iqamah for Women
Said Ibn ‘Umar, “There is no Azhan or Iqamah for women.” (Related by al-Baihaqi with a Sahih Chain.) This was the opinion of Anas, al-Hassan, Ibn Sireen, an-Nakha’i, al-Thauri, Malik, Abu Thaur and the people of “juristic reasoning.” Ash-Shaifi, Ishaq and Ahmad said if they make the iqamah and azhan, there is no problem. It is related from ‘Aishah that she would make the azhan and iqamah and lead the women in prayer, standing in the middle of the row. (Related by al-Baihaqi.)
Entering the Mosque After the Prayer Is Finished
The author of al-Mughni states, “If one enters the mosque after the prayer is finished, he may make the azhan and iqamah. Ahmad’s practice, based on what al-’Athram and Sa’eed ibn Mansur recorded from Anas, was to ask a person to make the azhan and iqamah, after which he would pray with (some people) in congregation. If a person wishes, he may pray without making the azhan and iqamah. Says ‘Urwa, “If you reach a mosque wherein the people have already prayed, you may base your prayer on their azhan and iqamah, as theirs are sufficient for those who come after them.” This was the opinion of al-Hassan, ash-Sha’bi and an-Nakha’i. Al-Hassan, however, said, “I prefer that he makes the iqamah. If he makes the azhan, he should do so in a low voice and not aloud, for some people may consider it out of place.”
A: The Time between the Iqamah and the Prayer
It is permitted to talk between the iqamah and the prayer. One need not repeat the iqamah, even if the interval is long. Reported Anas ibn Malik, “The iqamah was made while the Messenger of Allah was talking to a man in the corner of the mosque. He did not come to the prayer until the people had fallen asleep.” (Related by al-Bukhari) One time, the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, remembered that he was in post-sex impurity after the iqamah had been made, so he went to make ghusl and came back to lead the prayer without (a new).
B: The Iqamah of One Who Is Not the Designated Caller
If someone other than the appointed caller wants to make the Azhan, he must obtain the latter’s permission. If the appointed or regular caller is late and they fear that they will miss the time of the Azhan, another person may make the call.