is preferred that whoever is listening to the azhan repeat it with the caller,
except for the two hayya ‘alas-salah, hayya ‘alal-falah phrases, after which he
should say La haula wa la quwatah illa billah (there is no power or might save
Says an-Nawawi, “Our companions hold that it is preferable for the listener to repeat after the caller (to prayer), except when he comes to the two preceding phrases, for this shows that he approves of what the caller is saying. Those two statements are calls to the prayer, and it is only proper for the caller to prayer to say them. It is preferable for the listener to say something, such as “La haula wa la quwatah illa billah.” It is confirmed in the two Sahihs from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “La haula wa la quwatah illa billah” is a treasure from the treasures of Paradise.’ Our companions say that to repeat the call to prayer is preferred for everyone who hears the call, whether clean or unclean, in a state of post-sexual uncleanliness or menstruating, and so on, as it is a remembrance and all of those people who can should make it. Those who cannot do so are the ones who are praying, who are relieving themselves, or are having sexual intercourse. If one is reciting the Qur’an, or making remembrance of Allah (zhikr) or studying and so on, he should stop what he is doing and repeat after the caller to prayer. He may then return to what he was doing, if he wishes, or he can pray a voluntary or obligatory prayer.” Says ash-Shaf’i, “One should not repeat after the call to prayer, but when he finishes he should repeat what he has said.” In al-Mughni, it says, “If one enters the mosque and hears the Azhan, it is best that he wait until the caller finishes it before he begins to repeat it. This way he will catch both good deeds. If he does not repeat after the call but starts praying, there is no problem. This is what Ahmad says on the subject.”
The Muslim should pray for the Prophet, peace be upon him, after the call is over in any of the manners that have been related, and ask Allah to give him the place of wasilah. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr related that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, “If you hear the call to prayer, repeat after it. Then supplicate for me, for whoever makes one supplication for me, Allah makes ten for him. Then ask Allah to grant me the place of wasilah. It is a place in Paradise reserved for a slave from among the slaves of Allah. I hope to be him, and whoever asks Allah to grant me the place of wasilah, my intercession becomes permissible for him.” (Related by Muslim.) Jabir reported that the Prophet said, “Whoever says (after) hearing the call to prayer, ‘O Allah, Lord of this complete call and of the established prayers, grant Muhammad the place of wasilah, the most virtuous place and raise him to a praiseworthy position that you have promised him,’ will have my intercession made permissible for him on the Day of Judgment. (Related by al-Bukhari.)
The Supplication After the Azhan
After the Azhan, one should make individual supplications, as that is the time when they will most likely be accepted. Anas reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “A supplication made between the Azhan and the iqamah is not rejected.”
As to the authenticity of this report, it is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and at-Tirmizhi, who called it Hassan Sahih, and added “They asked, ‘What should we say, O Messenger of Allah?’ He responded, ‘Ask Allah for forgiveness and well-being in this world and the Hereafter.” ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr related that a man said, “O Messenger of Allah, the callers to prayer get more virtues than us.” He said, “Say what they say and when they finish, ask and it shall be given.” (Related by Abu Dawud with a Sahih chain.)
On the same subject, reported Umm Salamah, “The Prophet, upon whom be peace, taught me to say (after) the sunset call to prayer, ‘O Allah, this is the beginning of Your night and the end of Your day. I have supplicated to You, so forgive me.”
Supplication during the Iqamah
It is preferred that one who hears the iqamah repeat the words, except when Qad qaamatus-salah is said, he should say, “Allah establishes it and makes it everlasting.” Some of the companions reported that when Bilal said this phrase, the Prophet would say “Allah establishes it and makes it everlasting.”
Conditions to Be Met By The Caller to Prayer
It is preferred that he meets the following conditions:
1 It is a must that he makes the Azhan for Allah’s sake and not for wages. ‘Uthman ibn Abu al-’Aas asked the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, to appoint him as the imam of his people. He replied, “You are their imam. Be careful about the weak amongst them, and appoint a caller to prayer who does not accept wages for his Azhan.
This hadith is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmizhi, with a slightly different wording, who called it hasan. He also said that the scholars agree with this, and that they hate to see the caller receive wages for the Azhan.
2 He should be clean from major or minor impurities. Al-Muhajir ibn Qanfazh reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said to him, “Nothing prevented me from returning (your salutations) except that I dislike to mention the name of Allah when I am not clean. This report has come from Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and Ibn Khuzaimah. The latter grades it Sahih.
According to the Shafiyyah, making the call while one is not in a state of cleanliness is permissible although disliked. According to Ahmad, the Hanafiyyah and others, it is permissible and is not disliked.
3 He should be standing and facing the qiblah (the direction of the Ka’bah). Said Ibn al-Munzhir, “There is agreement that it is Sunnah for the caller to be standing, for then he can be heard far away. It is also Sunnah that he face the qiblah while making the Azhan. If he turns away from the qiblah, his Azhan will be sound, but the act will be disliked.
4 He should turn with his head, neck and chest to the right upon saying “Hayya ‘alas-salah” and to the left upon saying Hayya ‘alalfalah.” Says an-Nawawi, “It is the most authentic form.”
Reported Abu Juhaifah, “Bilal made the Azhan, and I saw the movement of his mouth from this side to that side upon saying “Hayya ‘alas-salah” and “Hayya ‘alal-falah.” (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
According to al-Baihaqi, this turning is not documented through sound chains. In al-Mughni, it states from Ahmad that the caller should not turn to the left or to the right unless he is at the top of a minaret, so that the people on both sides can hear him.
5 He should insert his index fingers into his ears. Talking of his practice, Bilal said, “I put my index fingers into my ears and made the Azhan. (Related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban.) Says at-Tirmizhi, “The scholars prefer the callers to put their index fingers into their ears while making the Azhan.”
6 He should raise his voice for the call, even if he is alone in the desert. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdurahman related from his father that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said to him, “I see that you love the sheep and the desert. If you are with your sheep or in the desert, then raise your voice while making the call to prayer, for any jinn, human or thing within hearing distance of your voice will be a witness for you on the Day of Resurrection...I heard the Messenger of Allah say that.” (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, anNasa’i and Ibn Majah.)
7 He should pause between each phrase during the Azhan and be quick in making the iqamah. Many narrations have reported that this act is preferred.
8 He should not speak during the iqamah. Some scholars dislike that he should even speak during the Azhan, although al-Hasan, ‘Ata and Qatadah permit it. Says Abu Dawud, “I asked Ahmad, ‘May a man speak during his Azhan?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ ‘May he speak during the iqamah?’ He said, ‘No,’ and that is because it is preferred that he make it quickly.”
To be Continued