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The Methodology of Calling the Iqāmah

Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

An explanation on the manner in which the iqāmah should be called and the wisdom behind calling it in said manner.

The Length of the Iqāmah and Number of Sentences

The iqāmah is eleven lines that are expressed in quick succession. That is, they are said quickly and not recited.

  • الله أكبر – The takbīr (proclaiming Allāh’s greatness) is said twice,
  • أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله – the tashahhud (testification of faith) for tawḥīd,
  • أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله – and the testification that Muḥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the Messenger of Allāh, are said once each,
  • حي على الصلاة,حي على الفلاح – the hayʿalatān (invitation to ṣalāh and success) are each said once as well,
  • قد قامت الصلاة – (proclaiming that ṣalāh has begun) is said twice,
  • الله أكبر – the takbīr (proclaiming Allāh’s greatness) in said twice again,
  • لا إله إلا الله – to conclude, the declaration of tawḥīd (proclaiming Allāh’s oneness) is said once.

Altogether, this is eleven lines. This is the opinion adopted by Imām Aḥmad (رحمه الله).

Other scholars have adopted other opinions. Some say: It is seventeen lines. The beginning takbīr should be said four times, the two tashahhuds should be said four times [two each], the hayʿalatān is said four times [two each], ‘قد قامت الصلاة’ is said twice, the ending takbīr is said twice, and the ending tawḥīd is said once. Altogether, this is seventeen lines.

Others say: All statements in it are said once except for ‘قد قامت الصلاة’ which should be said twice. Altogether, this is nine lines. This is consistent with the apparent narration of the ḥadīth of Anas ibn Mālik (رضي الله عنه) who said: Bilāl was ordered to make the adhān an even number and the iqāmah an odd one.1

However, the most famous opinion of the Ḥanbalī madh`hab is the stance taken by the composer [i.e., that it should be eleven sentences]. They answer the statement: “the iqāmah should be an odd number” saying that repeating the takbīr in the beginning of the iqāmah twice is like making it odd in comparison to repeating it four times in the adhān. Here, it is most befitting for us to acknowledge a rule mentioned by Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah and others from among the people of knowledge: “Any action of worship that is narrated in multiple ways should be performed in all of these ways to where one way is done sometimes and another at other times. This has the prerequisite that it is not a source of disturbance and dissension for the general populace of the congregation.”

The Caller of the Adhān Should Be Responsible for the Iqāmah

The one who called the adhān should also call the iqāmah. This is because Bilāl (رضي الله عنه) used to call the iqāmah after also calling the adhān. This is the evidence from the sunnah. Logically, the one who is responsible for the first notification should also take responsibility for the second one. This prevents the occurrence of any confusion among the people, and facilitates the muʾadhin knowing that he is the one responsible for both calls.

However, he should still not call the iqāmah except with the permission of the imām unless he has been notified of his inability to lead the ṣalāh. This is because Bilāl (رضي الله عنه) used to refrain from calling the iqāmah until the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came out, to the extent that the ṣaḥābah used to notify him (صلى الله عليه وسلم) if he was late saying: “Al-Ṣalāh, O Messenger of Allāh.”2

It is most apparent from our saying that the one who calls the adhān should call the iqāmah, even if the one who called the adhān was another who represents the regular preappointed muʾadhin. For example, if the normal muʾadhin appoints another person to call the adhān in his stead due to an excuse. If, then, the regular appointed muʾadhin became present at the time of the iqāmah, the one who called the adhān should still be the one to call the iqāmah, rather than the appointed regular muaʾadhin who is now present. There is a ḥadīth that has been narrated to this effect, if it is authentic then it should be considered in this issue.3 If it is not authentic, then it may be that the normally appointed muʾadhin should call the iqāmah instead, as he is the original caller and the one he appointed is considered his representative only in his absence. If, however, he is present, then this person ceases to represent him.

Where Should the Iqāmah be Called?

The iqāmah should be called in the same place as the adhān if possible. This was explicitly stated by Imām Aḥmad (رحمه الله). Its evidence is the saying of Bilāl (رضي الله عنه) to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم): “Do not say āmīn [i.e., after reciting al-Fātiḥah in the first rakʿah of ṣalāh] before me [i.e., before I call the iqāmah].”4 This is a ḥadīth whose authenticity is doubtful but it is supported by the apparent meaning of his (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saying: “If you hear the iqāmah, then walk towards the ṣalāh”.5 Although this is restricted to it being easy for the iqāmah and the adhān to be called from the same place. If it is difficult, for example if the adhān was called from the top of a minaret, then the caller may perform the iqāmah from wherever is easiest for him.

In our present times, the one who calls the adhān into the speaker system may similarly call the iqāmah from the same place as the adhān. As his voice may be heard from the speakers of the minaret, so similarly his iqāmah may also be heard from the same speakers in accordance with the saying of the jurists (رحمهم الله): He should call the iqāmah in the same place such that the people may hear the iqāmah and present themselves for ṣalāh.


[1] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 607 and Muslim: 378.
[2] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 569 and Musliim: 638.
[3] Referencing the ḥadīth of Ziyād ibn al-Ḥārith: The Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ordered me to call the adhān for Ṣalāh al-Fajr, so I called it. Bilāl wanted to call the iqāmah so the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Indeed, the brother of Ṣadāʾ [Ziyād ibn al-Ḥārith] called the adhān so he should call the iqāmah.” Narrated by Abū Dāwūd: 514, al-Tirmidhī: 199 and Ibn Mājah: 717. Graded weak by Shaykh al-Albānī in Ḍaʿīf Sunan al-Tirmidhī: 146 and in many other places.
[4] Weak: narrated by Abū Dāwud: 937, al-Bazzār: 1375 and others. Graded weak by Shaykh al-Albāni in Ḍaʿīf Sunan Abī Dāwūd: 167. Shaykh al-Albānī also said: “Even if it was authentic, it would not support the claim [that the iqāmah should be called from the same place as the adhān].”
[5] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 636 and Muslim: 602.

Source: Al-Sharḥ al-Mumtiʿ 2: 64-68
Translated by: Riyād al-Kanadī

Published: September 9, 2023
Edited: September 9, 2023

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