Skip to main content

When Should the Muʿadhin Call the Iqāmah and What Should the Worshippers Do?

Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn, Al-ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Muhsin al-ʿAbbād

An explanation revolving around when the iqāmah should be called, as well as when and where the congregation should line up to pray.

When Should the Iqāmah be Called?

Narrated by Jābir ibn Samurah (رضي الله عنه): Bilāl used to refrain from calling the iqāmah until the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would come out. If he came out, he would call the iqāmah upon seeing him.1

[Q]: The imām was late in arriving at the masjid from the prespecified time by a minute and the muʾadhin stood, called the iqāmah, and the congregation began praying. Then, during the ṣalāh the imām entered and prayed with the congregation. After the ṣalāh had concluded, there was a dispute between the imām and the muʾadhin regarding this occurrence. Is the truth in this matter with the imām or the muʾadhin—taking into account that the muʾadhin is only acting in accordance with the duration between the adhān and the iqāmah as specified by the authority for Islāmic affairs [for the country]?

Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn answers:

[A]: We must firstly acknowledge that both the stations of imām and that of muʾadhin are considered occupations. The occupation of calling the adhān belongs to the muʾadhin. The occupation of calling the iqāmah belongs to the imām. Hence, it is impermissible for the muʾadhin to call the iqāmah until the imām is present. It is ḥarām for the muʾadhin to call the iqāmah before the imām is present. He is sinful for doing so and some scholars even say that that ṣalāh is invalid. This is because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “One man shall not lead another man in his jurisdiction except with his permission.”2 The jurisdiction of calling the iqāmah belongs to the imām.

Yes, if the imām has granted permission to the muʾadhin, explicitly stating to him that if the prespecified time has elapsed then call the iqāmah, then there is nothing wrong with this. In this circumstance, if the imām subsequently arrives, he has a choice. If he wishes, he may step forward and lead whatever remains of the ṣalāh or he may simply join the congregation. The evidence of this is that Abū Bakr (رضي الله عنه) led the people in ṣalāh during the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) sickness but when he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was then present he stepped forward and sat on the left side of Abū Bakr (رضي الله عنه). He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) became the imām and Abū Bakr was stationed on his right.

Even if the imām explicitly states that if the prespecified time finishes then pray, the congregation should still wait for two, three, or even five minutes for him to come. This is because the imām may be presented with that which delays or temporarily prevents him while on his way to the masjid, causing him to be late by this small amount of time. If the people delay their ṣalāh by this small amount of time, they will be recipients of goodness due to the saying of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم): “The servant is in ṣalāh as long as he waits for ṣalāh.”3 4

When Should the People Line Up to Pray?

Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn:

It is considered sunnah for those being led by the imām to stand when the one calling the iqāmah says: “قد قامت الصلاة”. This is because the word ‘قد’ [‘already’; word used to indicate the termination of an action] in Arabic represents the fulfilment of an act and the form of the word ‘قامت’ [meaning: ‘has begun or commenced’] represents the current occurrence of the ṣalāh to be performed. Hence, the part wherein the congregation should stand is upon hearing the statement: ‘قد قامت الصلاة’. The apparent opinion of the composer [al-Ḥajjawī] would appear to be that the congregation should stand upon hearing this statement, regardless of whether they can see the imām or not. This is an opinion of the [Ḥanabalī] madh`hab.

The most famous opinion of the Ḥanbalī madh`hab is that the congregation should not stand upon hearing ‘قد’ except if they can see the imām. If they cannot see him, they should wait until they can, as they are considered followers of him. If they stand before they see him it would be as if they are being followed, as the imām would have come after they had already formed the line and stood completely. In the majority of cases, the iqāmah is not called in this country (Saudi Arabia) except if the imām enters the masjid and the people see him, then the muʾadhin calls the iqāmah.

Standing specifically at the word ‘قد’ is an opinion of the [Ḥanbalī] madh`hab, however it is not shared by any other school of thought. It has also been said:

  1. They should stand whenever they see the imām.
  2. They should stand when he begins calling the iqāmah.
  3. They should stand when he says: ‘حي على الصلاة’.
  4. They should stand when the imām says the takbīrah al-iḥrām [the first takbīr of the ṣalāh].
  5. There is flexibility in this matter as the sunnah has not specified the time of standing, except that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Do not stand until you see me.”5

Thus, considering the sunnah did not specify a particular time for standing, standing at the start of the iqāmah, or during it, or after it is all permissible. As long as the takbīrah al-iḥrām is not missed, this is the most important aspect of this issue. Meaning: you prepare yourself for entering into ṣalāh such that you do not miss takbīrah al-iḥrām This is of the utmost importance.6

Where Should the Congregation Line Up From?

[Q]: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Whoever connects the lines of prayer is connected by Allāh. Whoever cuts the lines will be cut off be Allāh.”7 He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) also said: “Indeed, the angels send ṣalāh [seek forgiveness for]8 those who connect the lines [of prayer].”9 How is connecting the lines established? How does one cut them?

Shaykh ʿAbd al-Muḥsin al-ʿAbbād:

[A]: Completion of the lines of prayer is accomplished by filling the front lines first and then subsequent lines to where the second line is not started until the first is completely full. Likewise, the third is not started until the second line is complete, and the fourth is not started until the third is complete and so on.

Connecting the line is also accomplished by coming close to one another, in a tight formation within the line to where there are no gaps. This closeness and tightness should be formed in the direction of the imām, not towards either end of the row. Rather, people should line up from the direction of the imām such that if they are on the right of the imām they come close together and tighten towards their left. If they are on the left of the row, they tighten and come close together in the right direction. That is, in the direction of the imām.

So connecting the rows is accomplished by means of completely filling them, coming close together without any gaps. Also, the congregation lines up in a completely identical manner with one another to where there is no one stationed slightly forward or backward of the line itself.

Cutting the lines is by disconnecting them and not paying due care and attention to their state.10

[1] Authentic: narrated by Muslim: 606.
[2] Authentic: narrated by Muslim: 465.
[3] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 620 and Muslim: 649.
[4] Source: Fatāwá Nur ʿalá al-Darb 8:2.
[5] Authentic: narrated by al-Bukhārī: 637 and Muslim: 909.
[6] Source: Al-Sharḥ al-Ṣawtī Lizād al-Mustaqniʿ1: 1079.
[7] Authentic: narrated by Abū Dāwūd: 666, al-Nasāʾī: 819 and Ibn Khuzaymah: 1549. Graded authentic by Shaykh al-Albānī in Ḥujah al-Nabī: 141.
[8] For tafsīr of ṣalāh from the angels as meaning forgiveness, see Tafsīr Ibn ʿUthaymīn: al-Aḥzāb verse 43.
[9] Ḥasan: narrated by Abū Dāwūd: 680 with the wording: “Allāh and His angels..”. Graded Ḥasan by Shaykh al-Albānī in al-Taʿlīqāt al-Ḥisān: 2157.
[10] Source: Sharḥ Sunan Abī Dāwūd 19: 263.

Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: June 24, 2024
Edited: June 24, 2024

Events & Activities