Following the various enquiries made by sincere believers about the changes to adhan practices at the KMA, where we (the trustees) have decided to institute one adhan for the first khutbah, we asked our consulting scholar, Shaikh Muhammad Nizami to shed some light on its legitimacy, and educate us on how it ought to be understood. He wrote:
- 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).
- 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.
- Uthman introduced an extra earlier adhan called from his house which was 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 established it to incite the people to attend the sermon when the city expanded and its residents increased.”
- The next righteous caliph, Ali b. Abi Talib, instituted one adhan in Kufah, returning the practice to its default. This shows us that it was not a ritual practice but one based on need. So during the caliphate of Ali, the last of the four great caliphs, there were two different practices: in Madinah there was two adhans (carrying on from the need identified by Uthman), and one adhan in Kufa were there wasn’t a need.
- Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani (citing al-Fakihani) states that the first leader to establish two adhans for Jumuah in Makkah was Hajjaj, and in Basrah, Ziyad.
What do we learn?
- The first adhan is an addition which is meant for efficiently gathering the people for prayer. It is not a ritual act nor is there any specific reward in the Quran and sunnah for doing so (as it didn’t exist during the Prophet’s time).
- 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 as a religious stipulation. Given that 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.
- 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.
But aren’t the acts of the ‘Rightly guided caliphs’ (Khulafa Rashidin) good to follow? Well it depends on whether it is a religious interepretation (yes) or simply an administrative decision (no). However, it is interesting (as a fiqhi issue) that whichever way one looks at it, there’s a stronger case for one Jumu’ah adhan in the UK than two. How?
- If it is argued that singular administrative practices of the early caliphs are authoritative, then three out of the four caliphs (the majority) implemented one adhan, which would make it a better practice.
- If it is argued that Uthman’s executive decision makes the first adhan a ritual act, then the first adhan must take place in (Kingston) market as this is how Uthman b. Affan established it. And even then it should only be done in Madinah since Uthman didn’t institute it elsewhere (it was Hajjaj who did so in Makkah). So any claim of Ijma, if valid (which it’s not), would be restricted to Masjid Nabawi!
- If it is argued that there is a need for the first adhan because people will not know when to perform the nawafil, then that is not true since this is something that would not have been overlooked by the Prophet and he did not establish two adhans. Furthermore, Uthman did not establish the extra adhan for this purpose.
- If it is argued that other places (such as Makkah, Madinah, and many Muslim countries) still do two adhans and there must be uniformity with others, then the fact that Ali b. Abi Talib left two adhans in Madinah but at the same time established only one in Kufah shows that is not true and that there can be various practices amongst mosques.
- This is not a matter of consensus (ijma) of the rightly guided caliphs, which we know from the fact that Uthman did this at the Prophetic Mosque (and not across the Muslim lands), Ali did not establish this universally, nor did the rightly guided caliphs institute it at the Haram in Makkah (it was later established there by Hajjaj). Thus Imam al-Shafi’i wrote in his book al-Umm that he prefers there is only one adhan which takes place with the Khateeb on the pulpit, ‘and no more.’
We the trustees have determined that given the need to perform two Jumu’ah services at the KMA which restricts the amount of time we have, and with the first service required to be as early as possible in order to fit in the second prayer within the broad period of lunchtime,, the decision has been made to do as all of the rightly guided caliphs did and perform the original adhan with the sermon immediately following, so as to start the first service as soon as the time for dhuhr enters.