Islam’s call to prayer or azan is unique in that it is an oral call. Others beat drums, blow horns or ring bells.

Azan is a call to the believers to hasten to worship Allah The Merciful.

The 15 lines recited loudly in azan are:


1. Allah is Greatest (4 times)

2. I testify that there is no god to be worshipped except Allah (twice)

3. I testify that Muhammad is His final Messenger (twice)

4. Come to Prayer (twice)

5. Come to Success (twice) Prayer is better than sleep (twice – this call is for the dawn prayer only)

6. Allah is Greatest (twice)

7. There is no god to be worshipped except Allah (once)


The azan combines both the Testimony of Faith in Islam that identifies the Believers from others as well as an inspirational call to achieve success in this world and the Hereafter through prayer.

The Caller to Prayer or mu’azzin must be in wudu or a state of purity for prayer, and face the Qiblah (the direction of the Kaaba in The Sacred Mosque in Mecca).

The mu’azzin places his two fingers in his two ears to rise the loudness of his voice.

The use of amplifiers in many mosques has removed the need to make the Call loudly.

The mu’azzin turns to his right when reciting “Come to Prayer” and to his left when reciting “Come to Success,” and pauses after each line of the azan.

The azan is recited in Arabic, which makes it easy for Muslims to recognize it in all places in the world.

The playing of audio or video recordings of azan is accepted as a way of remembering the time of prayer but mot as a substitute for the actual azan by the mu’azzin.

In some places, the mu’azzin receives training in the art of reciting the azan.

Many have accepted Islam after listening the message of the azan and the inspirational melody of the azan.

Though the azan is a call to the prayer in congregation, Muslims staying in locations where it cannot be heard or praying alone are required to recite the azan themselves before the prayer.

It is the religious duty of the Believers to respond to the azan by stopping all things that may impede others from hearing the azan.

Muslims repeat softly in 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 of the azan immediately after the mu’azzin has completed each of the 11 lines.

They recite softly, “There is no protection and power other than Allah,” immediately after the mu’azzin has completed each of the two lines in 4 and 5 respectively.

They recite softly, “You said the truth and you did well,” immediately after the mu’azzin has completed each time the special recitation from the dawn prayer.

At the end of azan, dua or supplication is made which consists of the following: “O Allah, Lord of this complete call and prayer of ours, grant Muhammad the right of intercession and the highest position, and rise him to the praiseworthy place that You have promised him and bestow on him the right of intercession on the Day of Resurrection, for You do not fail in Your promise.” [Bukhari]

After allowing a few minutes for Muslims to complete the tasks at hand, the second call to prayer or iqamah is made to call the gathering to prayer in a lower voice than that for the azan.

The iqamah is a shortened version of azan. In iqamah, after the “Come to success,” call, the mu’azzin recites twice, “Prayer has begun.” The musallis (persons performing the Prayer) reply, “May Allah establish it and make it permanent.

The caller of iqamah must also face the Qiblah. It is recited at a faster pace than the azan.

The person who recites it need not be the same person who recites the azan.

The azan is a communal obligation (fard kifayah) in that in all places where regular prayer is established, Muslims have to appoint a person to do it properly at the appropriate times.

There are two azan for the Friday congregational prayer. The second azan is recited before the imam addresses the gathering.

As the times for the five daily obligatory prayers vary within and between time zones, there is never a moment on our planet when the azan is not being recited, as the end of azan in one place is the beginning of azan in another place.

The azan is the world’s only non-stop call that acknowledges the sovereignty of The One True God and urges mankind to hasten to worship Him.

When the proclamation that “Allah is Greatest” is sincerely felt in the heart, it reinforces the Believer’s resolve to live by His Commands, which includes combating the tyranny of the powerful and refraining from the ways of the greedy rich.

The azan is a revolutionary proclamation of Islam that sovereignty rests with Allah alone.

By Dr Y Mansoor Marican, Ph. D