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The legislation of the Athan (the call to Prayer)

The legislation of the Athan (the call to Prayer)

When Islam became settled in Medinah, the Messenger (peace be upon him) and the Muhajareen that were with him felt at ease there, and the Ansar (Helpers from Medinah) showed their allegiance to Islam, Prayer was established and Zakah and fasting became obligatory. The Messenger (peace be upon him) used to gather the people to pray at the set times without relying on a particular call to Prayer.

When the Messenger (peace be upon him) entered Medinah, he intended to use a horn to call people which was like the horn of the Jews that they used to call people to their prayer, but later he disliked this idea. Then he ordered that a bell be rung to call the Muslims to Prayer.

When they were considering a solution to this problem, Abdullah ibn Zayd ibn Thalabah ibn Abdu-Rabbihi, the brother of Balharith ibn Al-Khazraj, had a dream in which he heard the call to Prayer [The Prophet’s Biography by Ibn Hesham]. What was this call and what did it mean? And how did Abdullah ibn Zayd see it performed in his dream?

Abdullah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) himself told us about this, saying, <When the Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered that a bell be rung to call the people to gather for Prayer, a man appeared to me in a dream when I was asleep, carrying a bell in his hand. I said, ‘Oh slave of Allah, will you sell me the bell?’ He asked, ‘What will you do with it?’ I answered, ‘I will call the people to Prayer with it.’ He said, ‘Shall I not tell you something which is better than that?’ I replied, ‘Of course.’ He said, ‘Say the phrases: “Allahu akbar (Allah is the greatest), Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. I bear witness that there is no god (worthy of worship) but Allah, I bear witness that there is no god (worthy of worship) but Allah. I bear witness that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah, I bear witness that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah. Come to Prayer, come to Prayer. Come to success, come to success. Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. There is no god (worthy of worship) but Allah.”’ Then he moved away from me. Next, he said, ‘And say, when you are standing to pray: “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. I bear witness that there is no god (worthy of worship) but Allah. I bear witnesss that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah. Come to Prayer, come to success. Prayer is about to be performed, Prayer is about to be performed. Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. There is no god (worthy of worship) but Allah.”’ When I woke up, I went to the Messenger (peace be upon him) and told him what I had seen in my dream. The Messenger (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Allah willing, it is a true dream. Go with Bilal and tell him what you saw in your dream for him to say it to call people to Prayer, as he has a more beautiful voice than you.’ Therefore, I went to Bilal and told him about the dream for him to use it to call the people to Prayer. Omar ibn Al-Khattab heard this call when he was in his home. He (quickly) left his house, dragging his cloak behind him, and said, ‘By the One Who sent you with the truth, Oh Messenger of Allah, I saw the same dream as he saw.’ The Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘Praise be to Allah’> [related by Abu Dawoud].hhsent