Skip to main content

The Sunnah and Wisdom of Repeating After the Muʾadhin and Related Rulings

Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

An explanation on the instances in which it is sunnah to repeat after the muʾadhin and the benefits behind doing so.

It is considered sunnah for the person listening to the adhān to follow his call silently [by repeating after him].

Usages of the Word ‘Sunnah’

As for the word ‘sunnah’, it has two usages. One as a technical term used by the jurists and the other is its use by the Legislator.

  1. When used by the jurists, the word ‘sunnah’ refers to any action deserving of reward for the one who performs it, but the one who chooses not to engage in it is not deserving of punishment.
  2. When used by the Legislator, the word ‘sunnah’ refers to the path set by the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and is inclusive of all acts regardless of whether they are obligatory acts whose abandonment is deserving of punishment or not.

For example, the ḥadīth of Anas (رضي الله عنه): “From the sunnah is if a man marries a virgin after already being married to a deflowered woman, he stays with her [the virgin] for seven days”1, is an example of the word ‘sunnah’ being used for an obligatory act. As for the ḥadīth of Ibn al-Zubayr (رضي الله عنه): “It is from the sunnah to put one’s right hand over their left in ṣalāh”, this is an example of the word ‘sunnah’ being used for a recommended act.

If we find the word ‘sunnah’ in the discourse of the jurists, its meaning is that of a technical term [i.e., referring to an act deserving of reward, but the one who chooses not to engage in it is not deserving of punishment].

Repeating After the Adhān and the Iqāmah and Multiple Muʿadhins

In our saying ‘It is considered sunnah for the person listening to the adhān’, i.e., any person hearing the adhān whether they be male or female. It is also comprehensive of the first and second muʾadhins if a different person performs each call.

One should repeat after the first call [the adhān] and the second one [the iqāmah] due to the generality in the saying of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم): “If you hear the muʾadhin, then say as he says.”2 Also, this is considered a form of remembrance for which a person is deserving of reward.

Repeating After the Muʾadhin for the Person Who Has Already Prayed

However, if a person has already prayed and then hears the adhān, the apparent meaning of the ḥadīth is that he should still repeat after the caller as the ḥadīth is encompassing in its wording.

Some scholars say: He should not repeat after him because he is not among the people being addressed with this call, so he should not follow him. They answer the hadīth saying: It is well-known that there was only one muʾadhin at the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). As such, no one ever called the adhān after everyone had already prayed. Therefore, we should interpret the hadīth in consideration of the practice of the people at the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and that the adhān being repeated would have never occurred.

If someone was to adopt the general meaning of the ḥadīth claiming that repeating after the muʾadhin is a form of remembrance, and insofar as the ḥadīth is general in its wording there should be nothing preventing me from engaging in the remembrance of Allāh—the Exalted in Might.

The Ruling of Repeating After the Muʾadhin

As for our saying ‘It is considered sunnah for the person listening to the adhān to follow his call silently [by repeating after him]’, it is explicit in demonstrating that the one who intentionally chooses not to repeat after the muʾadhin is not sinful. This is correct.

Some of the scholars of the Ẓāhirī school of thought say: Following the muʾadhin is obligatory and anyone who hears the muʾadhin must repeat after him. They use as evidence to support this claim the order issued in the ḥadīth: “If you hear the muʾadhin, then say as he says.” All orders are fundamentally interpreted as referring to that which is obligatory.

Although the opinion adopted by the scholarly majority opposes this stance. They support their view with the ḥadīth in which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) heard the muʾadhin calling the adhān and replied: “Upon the natural disposition”3. Here, it was not narrated that he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) repeated after the caller or followed him. Herego, if following the muʾadhin was obligatory, the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would have done so and it would have been narrated to where it would have reached us.

I also possess an evidence in support of this stance that is even more explicit—it is the saying of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to Mālik ibn al-Ḥuwayrith (رضي الله عنه) and those with him: “If the time for ṣalāh arrives, then let one of you call the adhān. Then, let the most senior among you lead the ṣalāh.”4 This proves that following the muʾadhin is not obligatory. This can be deduced from the fact that the context of this ḥadīth was meant to teach, wherein a clear need is present for the clarification of everything that is required. The ones being addressed in this ḥadīth were ambassadors who may not have been aware of the saying of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) regarding following the adhān. Despite this, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) never brought attention in that instance to this even though there was a clear need to do so. As those with him at the time came as ambassadors, only remaining with him for twenty days before leaving. This proves that repeating after the muʾadhin is not obligatory. This is closer to the truth in this issue and more sound.

Following the Muʾadhin is Predicated Upon Hearing Him Only

Also, from our saying ‘It is considered sunnah for the person listening to the adhān to follow his call silently [by repeating after him]’, we can also deduce that if one sees the muʾadhin performing the call but cannot hear him, he should not follow him by repeating after him. As the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said in the ḥadīth: “If you hear..” thereby issuing the ruling in attachment to hearing the call. Also, one cannot follow a call that he cannot hear as the muʾadhin must call the statements of the adhān before he repeats them. The apparent meaning of our saying would also stipulate that the one who hears the muʾadhin but cannot see him should follow the call by repeating after him. This is also consistent with the wording of the ḥadīth.

Those Exempt From Following the Muʾadhin

The meaning of our previous statement and that of the ḥadīth would apparently stipulate following the call in all situations. The exception to this, as related by the people of knowledge, would apply to the person answering the call of nature. This is because that is not a state in which one may engage in remembrance of Allāh. Also, among the exempt are those in ṣalāh due to the saying of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم): “Indeed, there is much busy engagement in ṣalāh”5, as the praying person is already engaged in the forms of remembrance associated with ṣalāh.

Shaykh al-Islām [Ibn Taymiyyah] said: Rather, the praying person should follow the muʾadhin due to the general order to follow him. Also, because it is a form of remembrance whose justification is present during ṣalāh and should, therefore, be considered legislated. In the same way if a person who is praying was to sneeze, he should say ‘الحمد لله’ [all praise be to Allāh] as narrated in the sunnah.

It may also be said: There is a difference between the two as the person who praises Allāh after sneezing is not overly distracted from the remembrances associated with ṣalāh. This is contrary to following the muʾadhin [while praying]. Perhaps the praying person was in the middle of reciting sūrah al-Fātiḥah and [following the adhān] causes him to void his recitation of its verses in succession. Therefore, the correct opinion is that the praying person should not follow the adhān while praying just as the person answering the call of nature is exempt from this as well.

Responding to the Ḥayʿalatān with the Ḥayqalah

One should say the ḥawqalah ‘لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله’ [‘There is no change of state nor power except by Allāh’] in response to the hayʿalah
حي على الصلاة, حي على الفلاح’ [‘Come to ṣalāh’, ‘Come to success’]. That is, one should respond to the statement of the muʾadhin حي على الصلاة with لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله, and respond to the statement of the muʾadhin حي على الفلاح by saying لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله.

[Q]: Have I been afflicted with some catastrophe such that I should say لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله? As the general populace have a tendency towards saying, upon being afflicted with a catastrophe: لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله.

[A]: The statement that is legislated upon being afflicted with a catastrophe is:
إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون’ [Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return]. As for the statement لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله, it is legislated during times of exertion and strife. It is a statement meant as a means of seeking aid, rather than recovery or revocation [from an affliction]. Thus, we answer saying: When the muʾadhin says: حي على الصلاة, he is calling you to attend the congregational prayer. Thus, you seek aid from Allāh [in the fulfilment of the call] by declaring yourself devoid of the ability to change your own state or possess strength, recognising that both change of state and power belongs to the true Owner of these things: [Allāh]—the Exalted in Might. So you seek aid from Him, saying: لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله. This is meant as a way of seeking a means towards the fulfilment of a goal accomplished by recognising the circumstance of the invoker and the reality of the One being invoked.

[Q]: What is the meaning of حول, and what is the meaning of قوة here?

[A]: The scholars have said: حول means to possess the ability to change one’s state. Here, it means: There is no change from one state to another except by Allāh—the Exalted in Might. قوة [strength or power] is meant as a more specific term than simply possessing comprehensive capability. This statement is similar to your saying: I lack the ability and strength to change my own state except by Allāh’s leave. In consideration of this, the ب in the statement إلا بالله is of the variety meant to denote the seeking of aid. This is because every person is unable to change from one state to another—whether it be from disobedience to a state of obedience, or from a state of obedience to one that is even better than that—except with aid from Allāh, the Exalted in Might.

Then, in saying حي على الفلاح after saying حي على الصلاة, there is declaration of that which is general [i.e., success] after the mention of a specific act [i.e., ṣalāh]. Alternatively, it represents a call to the result of an action undertaken and its reward, after calling to ṣalāh [the action itself]. It is as if he is saying: Turn towards ṣalāh, for if you pray you would have attained success.

The Wisdom Behind Repeating After the Muʾadhin

There is evidence of the mercy of Allāh—the Exalted in Might— and His abundant blessings in the action of following the muʾadhin. As the muʾadhin achieves what has been mentioned from the reward of calling the adhān, it has been legislated for those besides him to follow his call such that they may also achieve a reward as he has by means of his performing of the call.

There are other instances that are similar to this. For example, the pilgrims sacrifice their animals on the Day of Naḥr just as it has been legislated for those besides them to also sacrifice an animal on that day. Another example is that the pilgrims abandon opulence [while in their state of iḥrām], refraining from shaving the hair of their head, just as those who are not performing pilgrimage but intend to sacrifice an animal also refrain from cutting their hair [until their animal is slaughtered].

Endnotes:
[1] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 5214 and Muslim: 1461.
[2] Authentic: narrated by Muslim: 384.
[3] Authentic: narrated by Muslim: 382. This statement was said by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) upon hearing the takbīr of the adhān being called in cities during conquests.
[4] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 628 and Muslim: 465-466.
[5] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 1199 and Muslim: 538.

Source: Al-Sharḥ al-Mumtī 2: 80-86
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: February 18, 2024
Edited: February 18, 2024

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Most Popular: Last 30 Days