Following the various enquiries made by sincere believers about the changes to adhan practices at the KMA, where we have instituted one adhan for the first Khutbah, we asked our resident scholar Shaikh Muhammad Nizami to shed some light on its legitimacy, and educate us on how matters of our faith should be understood. He said:
Allah has commanded: “And when the call to prayer is made on Friday, engage in the remembrance of God and leave off trade.” [69:2] According to Quranic commentators such as al-Tabari, al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir, the call to prayer referred to in this verse was the one that would take place once the Imam had ascended the minbar (pulpit). The famous jurist al-Qudamah in his opus al-Mughni on comparative fiqh wrote that there is no difference of opinion as to the command to perform the adhan when the Imam takes his position on the minbar.
Furthermore, al-Qurtubi relates that the adhan during the Prophetic era would be like all other prayers, one adhan, when the Prophet would sit on the minbar. The same took place with Abu Bakr and Umar, and whilst Uthman introduced two adhans, the next righteous caliph Ali b. Abi Talib only instituted one adhan after him in Kufah returning the practice to its original structure. Uthman added a third caller at his house, named al-Zora (situated in the marketplace), when the population of Madinah increased. This is also reported by Ibn Majah from Sa’ib b. Yazid. Al-Mawardi relates, ‘As for the first adhan (in the mosque), it was new development (muh’dath), Uthman instituted it to incite the people to attend the sermon when the city expanded and its residents increased.’
As is clearly evident, the first adhan is an addition meant for efficiently gathering the people for prayer. It is not a ritual stipulation nor is there any specific reward cited in revelation for doing so, since the practice was added by Uthman b. Affan. Additionally, in the context of the UK with laws and norms restricting the public broadcast of the adhan in the marketplace (or any other public area), the practice is maintained out of tradition rather than a shar’i stipulation. As it is performed in the mosque where the sound is limited to the premises it doesn’t inform people in the marketplace to ready for prayer, nor for people to come to the mosque earlier, both of which was its intended use.
Given the necessity to perform two Jumu’ah prayers at KMA, with the first required to be as early as possible in order to fit in the second prayer within the broad period of lunchtime, the astute decision was made to only perform the original adhan with the sermon immediately following, so as to commence the first prayer as soon as the time for dhuhr enters.
What this also shows us is the insightful leadership of Uthman b. Affan, may Allah be pleased with him as well as all of the other righteous caliphs, and the truly intelligent way the early Muslim leaders led the religious community paying attention to changing circumstances and needs. May Allah grant them the highest ranks in paradise and gather us with them in the afterlife.