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Question:

Assalamualaikum Dato’ Seri SS Mufti. Once, I entered the room to call out the adhan and the bilal on duty call out the adhan while lying down. What is the ruling for this? Hope for an explanation from ustaz.

 

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

The adhan is the greatest eminence of the Muslim ummah. Every word in the adhan is a summary of the faith believed by Muslims. Every word of the adhan includes words of honor and praise towards Allah SWT and the proclamation that there is no God that is worthy of worship except Allah SWT. Illustrating our love towards the Prophet PBUH. Calling out to all Muslims to perform the prayer which is the pillar of Islam and summoning the Muslim ummah to strive until we reach the success of this world and the hereafter.

It is sanctioned to be called out at the beginning of prayer time. Indeed, the scholars state that the adhan is a sunnah that should not be neglected. The Prophet PBUH even mentioned the benefits for those who called out the adhan. From Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

لَوْ يَعْلَمُ النَّاسُ مَا فِي النِّدَاءِ وَالصَّفِّ الْأَوَّلِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَجِدُوا إِلَّا أَنْ يَسْتَهِمُوا عَلَيْهِ لَاسْتَهَمُوا وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُونَ مَا فِي التَّهْجِيرِ لَاسْتَبَقُوا إِلَيْهِ وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُونَ مَا فِي الْعَتَمَةِ وَالصُّبْحِ لَأَتَوْهُمَا وَلَوْ حَبْوًا

“If the people were to know what excellence is there in the Adhan and in the first row, and they could not (get these opportunities) except by drawing lots, they would have definitely done that. And if they were to know what excellence lies in joining the prayer in the first takbir (prayer), they would have vied with one another. And if they were to know what excellence lies in the night prayer and morning prayer, they would have definitely come even if crawling (on their knees).”

Sahih al-Bukhari (615)

Coming back to the question presented, among the sunnah of calling out the adhan that one should be mindful of is to call out the adhan while standing. This is in accordance with the hadith of the Prophet PBUH narrated by Ibnu Umar. The Prophet PBUH said:

كَانَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ حِينَ قَدِمُوا الْمَدِينَةَ يَجْتَمِعُونَ فَيَتَحَيَّنُونَ الصَّلَاةَ لَيْسَ يُنَادَى لَهَا فَتَكَلَّمُوا يَوْمًا فِي ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ اتَّخِذُوا نَاقُوسًا مِثْلَ نَاقُوسِ النَّصَارَى وَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ بَلْ بُوقًا مِثْلَ قَرْنِ الْيَهُودِ فَقَالَ عُمَرُ أَوَلَا تَبْعَثُونَ رَجُلًا يُنَادِي بِالصَّلَاةِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَا بِلَالُ قُمْ فَنَادِ بِالصَّلَاةِ

"When the Muslims arrived in Al-Madinah they used to gather and try to figure out the time for prayer, and no one gave the call to prayer. One day they spoke about that; some of them said: 'Let us use a bell like the Christians do;' others said, 'No, a horn [1] like the Jews have.' 'Umar, may, Allah be pleased with him, said: 'Why don't you send a man to announce the time of prayer?' The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: 'O Bilal, get up and give the call to prayer.'"

Sahih al-Bukhari (615) and Sunan Abu Daud (498)

Based on this hadith, we could understand from the commandment of the Prophet PBUH to Bilal RA, the adhan should be called out while one is standing. This is commented on by Syeikh Syaraaful Haq al-Azim Abadi. He cited the opinion of al-Khattabi which he took from the book Ma’alim al-Sunan. Al-Khattabi said this hadith is evidence regarding the obligation of standing while calling out the adhan. (Refer ‘Aun Al-Ma’bud Syarh Sunan Abi Daud, 7/150)

Al-Hafiz Ibnu Hajar al-Asqalani gave an interesting opinion regarding this issue. He said, al-Qadhi Iyadh state that this hadith is evidence for the obligation of standing while calling out the adhan. This opinion was also presented by Ibnu Munzir, Ibnu Khuzaimah and others. However, their opinion was commented on by Imam al-Nawawi. He said, what was instructed by Prophet PBUH is not to stand and call out the adhan, but the Prophet PBUH instructed Bilal to go to another place so that the adhan would be heard clearly and call out the adhan so that everyone can hear it. The Prophet PBUH’s instruction is not an obligation to stand while calling out the adhan, this is the opinion of al-Qadhi Iyadh and others. According to scholars of madhhab Syafi’e and Hanafi, standing while calling out the adhan is sunnah. In fact, if a person calls out the adhan while sitting, the adhan is still valid. (Refer Fath Al-Bari Syarh Sahih Al-Bukhari, 11/130)

Imam al-Nawawi state that it is sunnah to stand while calling out the adhan. This is so that the adhan that is called out is clearer. (Refer Al-Majmu’ Syarh Al-Muhazzab, 3/103)

This means that standing while calling out the adhan is sunnah and not an obligation.

Coming back to the question asked, if a person calls out the adhan while lying down, then it is ruled as makruh (undesirable). However, the adhan is still valid but the act of lying down is makruh (undesirable).

Syeikh Zakariyya al-Ansari said if a person calls out the adhan while sitting when he is able to stand, then his action is makruh (undesirable). Surely, lying down while calling out the adhan is worse, it is nearer towards a prohibition. (Refer Asna’ Al-Matalib Fi Syarh Raudh Al-Tolib, 2/240)

As a conclusion, the act of lying down while calling out the adhan is makruh (undesirable). Although the adhan is valid however, the act of lying down while calling out the adhan should be avoided. The reason is, acts such as this is considered as a mock (tala’ub) towards this honoured eminence in Islam.

May Allah SWT give us the correct understanding to us all. Wallahua’lam.

End note:

[1] Horn (shofar) is an instrument used by the Jews. The sound it produced is similar to a trumpet, however, it is made out of animal horns. Shofar is usually blown on Rosh Hashanah day or as it is known in Hebrew as Yom Teruah day. It falls on the 1st or 2nd of Tishrei which is in September or October according to the Gregorian calendar. Shofar is also blown on Yom Kippur day which is celebrated on the 10th of Tishrei. Yom Kippur is the day when the Jews would fast and perform worship. (Refer  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur )