The Inception of the Azaan – The Responsibility of Commanding with Good and Forbidding from Evil – Part Thirteen

After imaan, the most fundamental and important pillar of Islam is salaah. The importance of salaah is so great that it can never be over-emphasised. Due to salaah holding such a lofty and esteemed position in deen, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) strove throughout his mubaarak life to establish salaah in the lives of the ummah and connect people to the masaajid. Hazrat Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had commanded that masaajid be built in every locality to enable the people of the locality to perform their salaah in the house of Allah Ta‘ala (Tirmizi #594).

While making Hijrah from Makkah Mukarramah to Madinah Munawwarah, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) stopped over at Quba where he remained for fourteen days before continuing to Madinah Munawwarah. His first and foremost concern upon reaching Quba was the building of the Musjid and establishing salaah among the people of Quba. Hence, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) constructed the Musjid of Quba which was the first Musjid built in Islam.

He thereafter arrived in Madinah Munawwarah and once again – his greatest concern was the building of the Musjid in Madinah Munawwarah, so that the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) could perform their salaah in the house of Allah Ta‘ala. A plot of land was thus purchased and the Musjid of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) (Musjid-e-Nabawi) was constructed.

Uniting the Ummah Upon Performing Congregational Salaah in the Musjid

It was the burning desire within the heart of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that all the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) congregate and perform their salaah together at one time in the musjid. After constructing the musjid, he consulted the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) regarding the method to be adopted to call people to the musjid for salaah.

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) presented various suggestions in regard to how people could be called for salaah. Some of the suggestions were that a fire be lit or a flag be hoisted. On seeing the fluttering flag or the flames and smoke of the fire, people would understand that it is the time of salaah and thereby inform others to come to the musjid for salaah. Other suggestions were that a horn be sounded or that the naaqoos (two sticks) be struck upon each other to alert people that it is the time for salaah.

Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was not pleased with these suggestions, as he did not want his ummah to emulate the Christians, Jews and kuffaar in aspects of their Deen or their worldly life. If the Muslims were to adopt these methods, it would result in them resembling the disbelievers in their Deen, and furthermore, it would lead to confusion coming about in the salaah times as the disbelievers were calling people to their places of worship at other times through these same methods. Ultimately, no conclusion was reached in that gathering and the matter was thus left undecided.

Prior to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) dispersing from the gathering of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) suggested to Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that for the time being, since no method had yet been decided, perhaps a person could be appointed to go around calling people for salaah whenever the time of salaah enters.

Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) accepted the suggestion of Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and appointed Hazrat Bilaal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to carry out this task. Hence, at the time of salaah, Hazrat Bilaal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would go around informing the people that the jamaat (congregational salaah) in the musjid was about to commence.


The Concern in the Hearts of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum)

The heart of each Sahaabi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was filled with the concern of Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in regard to how the people should be called to perform salaah together in the musjid.

Nevertheless, it was not long thereafter that, one night, after Hazrat Abdullah bin Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) went to sleep; he was shown a dream by Allah Ta‘ala. In the dream, he saw an angel, in the form of a human being, who was dressed in two garments of green and was carrying a naaqoos.

He asked the angel, “O servant of Allah! Are you selling the naaqoos?” The angel asked, “What do you wish to do with it?” Hazrat Abdullah bin Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) answered, “I will use it to call people for salaah.” The angel then said, “Should I not show you a method for calling people to salaah which is better than striking this naaqoos?” Hazrat Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “What method is this?” The angel replied, “Call out the azaan.” Thereafter, the angel taught him the words of the azaan.

When he awoke the following morning, he went to Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and related the entire dream to him. On hearing the dream, Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned, “Certainly it is a true dream. Stand up beside Bilaal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and inform him of the words (of the azaan) which you were taught in the dream so that he may call out the azaan with these very words. Allow Bilaal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to call out the azaan as his voice is louder than your voice. Thus, his voice will reach further.”

When Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) heard the azaan of Hazrat Bilaal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he hastily took his shawl and rushed to Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). On reaching Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), he respectfully exclaimed, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! I take an oath by that Being who appointed you as His messenger to convey the truth of Islam, I was shown a dream in which I was taught the words of the azaan.” When Hazrat Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) heard this, he became pleased and said, “This has been further confirmed from the side of Allah Ta‘ala.”(Mirqaat 2/331, Durr-e-Mandood 2/86, Dars-e-Tirmizi 1/451 & Si’aayah 2/4)

The Burning Desire of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

It was the burning desire of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that the men of the Ummah perform their Salaah with jamaat in the musjid. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used to be so greatly hurt when he learnt of people performing their salaah at their homes that he said, “Had it not been for the women and children, I would have commanded a group of youth to gather firewood and set fire to the dwellings of those people who perform their salaah at their homes without any valid excuse” (Muslim #651 & Musnad Ahmed #8782)

May Allah Ta‘ala grant us the taufeeq to honour the azaan and respond to it by coming to the musjid for salaah.


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