Responding to the Call of the Azaan – The Responsibility of Commanding with Good and Forbidding from Evil – Part Fourteen

Responding to the Call of the Azaan

The Azaan is a special call of Islam inviting males towards the performance of salaah in the musjid. The Azaan is regarded to be among the salient symbols of Islam and is exclusive to the religion of Islam.

In regard to the symbols of Islam, the Qur’aan Majeed commands us to show utmost respect to them and sanctify them. Allah Ta‘ala says, “The one who respects (and sanctifies) the salient symbols of Allah, then indeed it is from the piety of the heart (i.e. the action of respecting the symbols of Allah Ta‘ala emanates from the piety of the heart).” (Surah Haj v. 32)

From the above verse, we understand that great respect should be shown to all the symbols of Islam such as the musjid, the Ka’bah Shareef, the qiblah, the Qur’aan Majeed, the Mubaarak Ahaadith, etc. Since the Azaan is among the salient symbols of Islam, great respect should also be accorded to the Azaan.

The Way to Respect the Azaan

The way to respect and honour the Azaan is that when the Azaan is called out, if one is engaged in any worldly conversation, then he should stop his worldly conversation and reply to the Azaan. Thereafter, he should proceed to the musjid to perform his salaah with jamaat in the musjid.

Explaining the great importance which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) showed to the call of the Azaan, Hazrat Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) explains, “Within the home, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would always assist with the chores of the home, but as soon as he would hear the Azaan, he would leave the home, proceeding to the musjid for salaah.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #5363)

The Disbelievers Disrespecting and Mocking the Azaan

In the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), when the Azaan used to be called out, then it was the way of the disbelievers that they used to mock and make fun of the Azaan. Allah Ta‘ala revealed the following verse condemning their evil action. Allah Ta‘ala says, “And when you call (out the azaan, inviting people) to salaah, then they (the disbelievers) take it as mockery and amusement. That is because they are a people who have no understanding. (Surah Maa’idah v. 58)

From this verse, we understand that those who show disrespect to the Azaan are in actual fact emulating the disbelievers. Therefore, as believers, we should ensure that we honour the Azaan and should refrain from emulating the disbelievers in showing any disrespect to the Azaan.

Being Engaged in Vain and Futile Pursuits at the Time of the Azaan

In many places, at the time when the Azaan is called out, some people are engaged in vain and futile pursuits such as sport, while others are engaged in haraam activities such as watching TV.

Continuing with these vain or sinful activities, despite knowing that the call of Allah Ta‘ala (the Azaan) is taking place at that time, is showing disrespect to the Azaan. Apart from this, the disrespect to the Azaan is worsened when people engaged in these sins or futile activities do not respond to the Azaan by coming to the musjid for salaah.

The Ulama explain that even if one is engaged in a halaal and permissible activity, such as attending a da’wat or a braai with family or friends, or a waleemah function, or a person is engaged in his business, then at the time when the Azaan is called out, a person should respond to the Azaan by coming to the musjid for salaah.

The Frightful Outcome of the Christian who Disrespected and Mocked the Azaan

Allaamah Ibnu Katheer (rahimahullah), the renowned Mufassir and Muhaddith (commentator of the Qur’aan Majeed and Mubaarak Ahaadith), has recorded the following incident of a Christian who lived in the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and would show disrespect to the azaan. Allaamah Ibnu Katheer (rahimahullah) mentions:

There was once a Christian man who resided in the blessed city of Madinah Munawwarah. This Christian man had such dislike and hatred for the Azaan that when the mu’azzin would call out the words, “I testify that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the Rasul of Allah”, then this Christian would curse and say, “May Allah Ta‘ala burn the one who is lying!

By saying these words, the Christian was implying that the mu’azzin is a liar and that Hazrat Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is not the Rasul of Allah Ta‘ala (Allah forbid).

The Christian continued in this manner, reviling and mocking the Azaan, until Allah Ta‘ala had sent His punishment upon him. The punishment of Allah Ta‘ala comes in different ways and different forms. One night, while the Christian was asleep, his slave girl brought some fire into the home. While carrying the fire, an ember from the burning coal accidentally fell onto the ground causing a fire to break out. The fire spread until the entire house was in flames and the Christian was burnt to death.

When one reflects over the curse of the Christian against the mu’azzin by him saying “May Allah Ta‘ala burn the one who is lying!”, one will understand that he was implying that the mu’azzin is a liar in his declaration (that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the messenger of Allah Ta‘ala), whereas in reality, he was the liar. Thus, Allah Ta‘ala caused his curse to fall upon himself and Allah Ta‘ala burned him to death for mocking the Azaan. (Tafseer Ibnu Katheer 3/140)[1]

From the above incident, we see the frightening outcome of the one who mocked and disrespected the Azaan. May Allah Ta‘ala save us from showing any type of disrespect to the Azaan, and may He bless us with the taufeeq of honouring the Azaan and responding by coming to the musjid to perform our salaah with jamaat.

[1] كان رجل من النصارى بالمدينة إذا سمع المنادي ينادي: “أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله” قال: حرق الكاذب! فدخلت خادمة (6) ليلة من الليالي بنار وهو نائم وأهله نيام، فسقطت شرارة فأحرقت البيت، فاحترق هو وأهله

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