Call for the Prayer in Islam and Hinduism

This article deals with the subject of Adhaan or announcement for gathering to perform worship in the holy place and ringing the bell in Hindu religion.

Adhaan and Iqamah in Islam

Adhaan is an announcement for the Muslims with some Arabic sentences to inform them that the prayer time has come.

Iqamah is to inform them that the prayer is ready with the words similar to the Adhaan words with some additional words.

Both Adhaan and Iqamah are amongst the distinguishing characteristics of Muslim nation, that do not exist in any other religion or nation of the world.

Start of Adhaan and Iqamah in Islam

Adhaan and Iqamah were initiated during the first or second year of Hijrah (migration). Before that people used to assemble by themselves in one place to pray in congregation when the prayer times came without calling, i.e. without Azan from the time when the prayer became obligatory in Mecca. After they emigrated to Al Madinah they came to gather and discussed on how to notify people about the prayer time after the expansion of population in Al Madinah.

Ruling on Adhaan and Iqamah.

For the Muslim community, Adhaan is a communal obligation that if performed by some (a sufficient number), the obligation has been fulfilled from the rest. Both Adhaan and Iqamah are obligatory for the daily five prayers during travel and residing.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

And one of you should pronounce the Adhaan for the prayer when its time is due and the oldest one amongst you should lead the prayer.”(1)

A Meeting in the Prophet’s Era about this Declaration

In second year of Hijrah, Muslims consulted on how to invite people to perform the prayer together in congregation. There were many opinions regarding the method to be adopted for announcing the prayer time. However, nothing was decided until the night came, and Abdullah ibn Zaid, one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saw in his dream a man in green dress carrying with him a bell. Abdullah asked him: “Will you sell this bell to me?” The man said, “What will you do with it?” Abdullah said, “Through ringing this bell we will inform the people about the time of the prayer. The man said, “Will I show you what is better than this to inform the people?” Abdullah said: “Yes.” Then the man taught him the words of adhaan. Abdullah said: “in the morning I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and I told him what I saw in the dream.” Then Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “It is a true and right dream, go with Bilal and tell him the words of adhaan and he will give the adhaan because his sound is more pleasant than yours.”(2).

Words of Adhaan

Arabic transliteration of the adhaan is as follows:

Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!
Ashhadu al la ilaha illallah. Ashhadu al la ilaha illallah.
Ashadu anna Muhammadar Rasoolullah. Ashadu anna Muhammadar Rasoolullah.
Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah. Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah.
Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah. Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah.
Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!
La ilaha illa Allah.

The English translation of the adhaan is:

Allah is Great! Allah is Great! Allah is Great! Allah is Great!
I bear witness that there is no god except Allah.
I bear witness that there is no god except Allah.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
Come to the prayer. Come to the prayer.
Come to salvation. Come to salvation.
Allah is Great! Allah is Great!
There is no god except Allah.

Additional Words for Fajar Adhaan

For the pre-dawn (fajr) prayer, the following phrase is inserted prior to the final repetition of Allahu Akbar / Allah is Great:

As-salatu Khayrum Minan-nawm. As-salatu Khayrum Minan-nawm.
Prayer is better than sleep. Prayer is better than sleep.

Words of Iqamah

Furthermore, the words of Iqamah are the same of adhaan except that after “Hayya ‘ala-l-falah” “Qad qamati-s-Salah, Qad qamati-s-Salah.” (Prayer is ready, Prayer is ready.) is added.

Ringing the Bell in Hindu Temples

If we want to search in Hinduism for something similar to what is in Islam or the call to prayer, it is the bell hanging in the front yards of the Hindu temples and ringing the bell before entering the temple to the deity. However, it is known that Hinduism does not have the idea of ​​collective worship, rather, Hindu worship is based primarily on individual devotion as well as the worship in Hinduism is not obligatory or time-bound but most of its worship is based on freedom and choice. The Hindu writers believe that ringing the bell is meant to alert God and tell him that the devotee has come to worship such as you come to the house of someone you ring the bell first for asking his permission and informing him about your arrival.The following quote explains the reason of bell in Hindu temples:“Bells are important symbols in Hindu worship. Each temple, or mandir, generally hangs at least one metal bell at its entrance for devotees to announce their presence to the Hindu deities. Priests or devotees ring more bells within the temple during worship in order to invoke the gods.”(3)

Conclusion

First:

The adhaan begins with a declaration of the greatness of Allah the Almighty. After that comes the shahadah or the testimony of faith, which includes the declaration of the unity of Allah the Almighty, the denial of shirk (polytheism) and the testimony that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is the Messenger of Allah. And after that, comes the call to the prayer and to success. In fact the adhaan in Islam is based on the basics of Islamic faith and thus it is a call for the prayer and reminding that the time of the prayer has come and that Allah is One and worthy of all kinds of worship and devotion and that the Prophet Muhammad is a messenger and prophet appointed by Allah the Almighty.

Second:

It is the greatness of Adhaan in Islam that it is divine and permanent that continues twenty-four hours on the globe because when Adhaan finishes in an eastern area of the globe it begins in the nearest western area as the time of the prayer depends on the earth’s pivotal rotation in the day and night and the time of prayer begins first in the east then gradually in the west so there is no time but there is adhaan being given in every moment.

Third:

At first there was a proposal to adopt the bell to announce the advent of prayer time, but the next morning Allah the Almighty showed in a dream the words of Adhaan and was verified by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which is the prevailing adhaan in the world.

Fourth:

The words of the Adhaan and the method of its beginning are clear proof that Islam is a divine religion revealed by Allah the Almighty, and it is not inspired by a human imagination.

Fifth:

We note here that it is unreasonable and illogical for us to say that ringing the bell in Hindu temples before entering to the god is a notification to the god that the visitor has come, because God is supposed to be aware of everything in the earth and heaven, and how does the God need to be alerted and informed about the visitor?

_______________________

(1) Reported by Al Bukhari.

(2) Reported by Abu Dawood and ad-Darimi.

(3) http://bit.ly/2nkPRnb (Last accessed on 2/10/2019).

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