Islamic Perspectives

Spiritual Melody of Azan

Every individual in the society looks at things from his/her own perspective. A writer’s way of looking at things is different from an engineer’s way of interpreting events. The profession of an individual is the guiding principle of observing life. An actor will search elements of acting into day-to-day events while a musician will do the same but in other ways.

The famous Bollywood singer, Sonu Nigam, possibly interpreted the sound in his own way and tried to derive the meaning of pleasure from it. Recently he tweeted against the call of Azan from mosques which implies that he failed to find any trace of melody and singing element into it and thus it became a symbol of ‘forced religiousness’ for him.

All of a sudden, opinions and counter-opinions started to pour in. Non-Muslims favoring the singer’s aggressiveness toward prayer-call is understandable as they do not know the inspirational value of Azan.  What astonished me was to see reactions and updates of some Muslims being more aggressive than Sonu Nigam.

“Beautify your Azan with a melodious voice, lest it become a rebellious noise” goes the status update of a practicing Muslims who has considerable number of followers on social networking.

He further added: “Now yes there are even Muslims who get troubled by loud noise of Adhan. Does anyone ask how our dwellers in society suffer when Muezzin says ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ for three seconds followed by never ending "'aaaaa”? The length of ‘aaaaa’ in Allah-o-Akbar troubles my sister, who struggles for two hours to make her special child sleep and our "AAA" size of Muezzins wakes him up in less than a minute, ... my point is... to beautify it by means of voice modulation, high tech sound systems, echoes and controlled bass treble etc…”.

Display of ignorance about Azan by a non-Muslim is forgivable. What is really disturbing is how ignorant Muslims have become about their own religion! We truly need to awaken their sleeping soul and refresh them with meaning and purpose of Azan.

The Azan in Arabic  is the Islamic call to worship, recited by the muezzins at prescribed five times of the day. The meaning of the word is "to listen, to hear, and be informed about".

Narrated by Anas (ra) that when the Prophet (pbuh) consulted his companions about how to invite the faithful to the five-times prayers, people mentioned the fire and the bell (as signals to indicate the starting of prayers), and by that they mentioned the ways of Jews and the Christians. Then a Companion, Abdullah ibn Zaid came to Prophet (pbuh) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I had a beautiful dream last night…I’ve seen that a man wearing green garment taught me the words of the Azan and advised me to call people to prayer with these words.” He then recited the words of the Azan. The words were beautiful and full of meaning. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recognized that the dream of Zaid was true. He asked Zaid to teach the words of Azan to Bilal who stood up and called the Azan. The voice of Bilal resounded throughout Madinah. People came running to the Prophet’s Masjid (Sahih al-Bukhari 604, Book 10).

Azan is the most beautiful and effective way to encourage people towards devotion of the Almighty as compared to ringing of bells and blowing horns which only cause noise. Obviously Azan sounds highly meaningful as it contains the language of glorifying the Lord and His Messenger (pbuh).

It starts with “Allah is the Greatest” (four times) which is to testify the ultimate power of the Creator of the universe. The next phrase “There is none worthy of worship except Allah” justifies the very first criterion of a Muslim’s faith to believe in One Allah’s Supremacy and comparing none to Him. This follows up with bearing witness that the Prophet (pbuh) is the Messenger of Allah. Next the azan says, “Come to Salah” and “Come towards Success” which are meant to inspire the Muslims about the prayers as being the key source of one’s success in this world and Hereafter.

The azad ends by reciting His Greatness and testifying that there is none else praiseworthy as Him.

In the dawn prayer (Fajr), the phrase “Salah is better than slumber” is added signifying the fact that waking up for the sake of Allah has the greatest blessings than any other worldly pleasures.

If we talk about the melodious voice, then Bhajans and kirtans are sung beautifully with music and tunes, but still we feel unimpressed by them because it’s not about the voice that matters, it’s the faith that counts.

For Muslims the Azan in itself is the most stunning and attractive call to humanity, no matter who recites them.

Obviously if Azan recited in a beautiful voice would seem more striking to listen. However, Azan is not a song for which muezzins should get trained with latest voice modulation or controlled bass treble.

A muezzin calls Azan for the sake of only Allah’s pleasure. Undoubtedly, Azan is the most beautiful call to prayer compared to any other forms of call in any other religions in the world.

The meaning of Azan is truly moving to hearts and stirring to souls if understood properly. Saddening to know that many of us do not understand the meaning and essence of Azan and feel troubled by it.

The Muezzin invites people to perform Salah for Allah and to fulfill the Allah's order. The Prophet said,

"The muezzins will have the longest necks on the Day of Resurrection (in terms of blessings)." (Muslim: 750). He also said, "Everybody, whether a human or a jinn, hearing the voice of Azan will witness in favor of that muezzin on the Day of Judgment." (Bukhaari: 583)

Therefore, the secret of deriving spiritual pleasure in Azan is to comprehend its meaning and feel deeply about it. It is the power and beauty of Azan that inspired many famous persons in history to convert to Islam.