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The Stipulations of the Muʾadhin

Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

A description of the qualities the one who calls the adhān must possess, as the action is a great honour.

The Adhān of a Woman or Multiple People

The adhān should be called by an upright man of good reputation and
honourable standing. Thus, it is deemed incorrect if performed by a woman, or by two people [calling in unison] or if the caller must excuse himself while calling it, another may not continue the call from where he left off. Rather, the adhān must be called again from the beginning.

The Adhān of a Disbeliever

We can also deduce from the stipulation of the caller being a man of good standing and honourable reputation that he must be Muslim, such that the adhān of a disbeliever would be considered invalid. This is because calling the adhān is a form of worship, so the prerequisite of Islam applies.

The Adhān of a Fāsiq (Rebellious, Continuous, Public Sinner)

If the adhān is called by an explicit and public sinner, like the one who shaves his beard, or smokes in public, then this adhān is also invalid according to the composer [al-Hajjawī]. There is a second narration from Imām Aḥmad that the adhān of such a person is valid. The reasoning for this is that the adhān is a form of remembrance, and remembrance of Allāh is accepted even from a continuous, rebellious, public sinner. Although, it is considered unbefitting that the station of calling the adhān or the iqāmah is adopted except by one of good standing and honourable reputation.

The Ruling on the Pre-Recorded Adhān

Likewise, the adhān being played from a recording is also invalid. This is because it is considered a recording of an adhān that was called in the past. Also, the adhān is a form of worship that is better even than leading the ṣalāh1 so just as it would be incorrect for us to play the recording of the ṣalāh of an imām, telling the people to follow it as if he is leading them in ṣalāh, it would also be incorrect for us to rely upon a recording for our adhān. Whoever exclusively uses such devices for this purpose would not have fulfilled the obligation of calling the adhān which is farḍ kifāyah [a communal obligation that is fulfilled by a single person among them].

The Adhān of the Mentally Retarded

We can also deduce from the stipulation of the caller having a good reputation and honourable standing that the muʾadhin must be of sound mind, as honour and reputation is predicated upon sound intellect. The pen has been lifted from the mentally retarded person. As such, he can neither be described by honour and reputation, or identified as a rebellious, public sinner.

Thus, the stipulation of honour and repute can be used to deduce that the caller should be Muslim, intellectually sound, male, one person, who possesses an honourable and good standing.


[1] Referencing the many aḥādīth that attach virtue to calling the adhān, among them is the ḥadīth of Abū Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه): If the people knew [the reward] associated with the call [to prayer] and the first row, then did not find any recourse but to draw lots [to decide who occupies it] they would draw lots.” Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 615 and Muslim: 437.

Source: Al-Sharḥ al-Mumtiʿ 2: 69-70
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: September 12, 2023
Edited: March 7, 2024


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