Benefits of the Sunan of Adhan, call to prayer

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

The Sunan (plural of Sunnah) of the call to prayer are easy practices that all Muslims can learn and apply, while their benefits in inspiring remembrance, mindfulness, and faith are immense. Indeed, one who is committed to these practices, fulfilling them both inwardly by presence of heart and outwardly by conformity to the Sunnah, will surely be rewarded with contentment in this life and Paradise in the Hereafter.

Ibn al-Qayyim lists the five confirmed Sunan for the call to prayer:

ما شرع لمن سمع الآذان أن يقول كما يقول المؤذن وأن يقول رضيت بالله ربا وبالإسلام دينا وبمحد رسولا وأن يسأل الله لرسوله الوسيلة والفضيلة وأن يبعثه المقام المحمود ثم ليصل عليه ثم يسأل حاجته

What is legislated for one who hears the call to prayer is that he says as the caller says, that he says, ‘I am pleased with Allah as Lord, with Islam as religion, and Muhammad as Messenger,’ that he asks Allah to give His Messenger the means of nearness and the most excellent reward and that He raises him to the praiseworthy station, then he sends blessings upon him, and then he asks for his needs.

Source: Asrār al-Ṣalāt 1/23

Each of these Sunan are contained in the two authentic collections of Al-Bukhari and Muslim. The only missing point from this list is that when the caller to prayer says, “Come to prayer, come to salvation,” one should say:

لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ

There is no power or might but in Allah.

The order of these Sunan is significant, as each occurs in its appropriate time. The believers should repeat after the caller to prayer, except when he must declare the strength of Allah, as saying these phrases mindfully will continuously reaffirm their faith in Islam. Whoever says them with presence of heart on a regular basis will enter Paradise.

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا سَمِعْتُمُ النِّدَاءَ فَقُولُوا مِثْلَ مَا يَقُولُ الْمُؤَذِّنُ

When you hear the call to prayer, say something similar to what the caller has said.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 580, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Umar ibn al-Khattab reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا قَالَ الْمُؤَذِّنُ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ فَقَالَ أَحَدُكُمْ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ ثُمَّ قَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ قَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ ثُمَّ قَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ قَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ حَيَّ عَلَى الصَّلَاةِ قَالَ لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ حَيَّ عَلَى الْفَلَاحِ قَالَ لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ قَالَ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ قَالَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ مِنْ قَلْبِهِ دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ

When the caller to prayer says, ‘Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest,’ then let one of you say, ‘Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest.’ Then he says, ‘I testify there is no God but Allah,’ one says, ‘I testify there is no God but Allah.’ Then he says, ‘I testify Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,’ one says, ‘I testify Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ Then he says, ‘Come to prayer,’ one says, ‘There is no power or might but in Allah.’ Then he says, ‘Come to salvation,’ one says, ‘There is no power or might but in Allah.’ Then he says, ‘Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest,’ one says, ‘Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest.’ Then he says, ‘There is no God but Allah,’ one says, ‘There is no God but Allah,’ from his heart and he will enter Paradise.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 385, Grade: Sahih

Yahya ibn Abi Kathir reported: Some of our brethren narrated to me that when the caller to prayer says, “Come to the prayer,” one says:

لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ

There is no power or might but in Allah.

Mu’awiyah said:

هَكَذَا سَمِعْنَا نَبِيَّكُمْ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ

I heard it said likewise by your Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 588, Grade: Sahih

This phrase, “There is no power or might but in Allah,” has tremendous importance and benefits in it. It reminds the servant of his or her need for Allah to grant them strength, so it is also great to say at times when strength is needed or weakness is suffered. In fact, each utterance of this phrase results in trees being planted for the believers in Paradise.

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَكْثِرُوا مِنْ غَرْسِ الْجَنَّةِ فَإِنَّهُ عَذْبٌ مَاؤُهَا طَيِّبٌ تُرَابُهَا فَأَكْثِرُوا مِنْ غِرَاسِهَا لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ

Increase your plantings in Paradise, for its water is sweet and its soil is clean. Its plantings are to say: there is no power or might but in Allah.

Source: al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 13354, Grade: Hasan

After the call to prayer has been completed, one should declare his or her pleasure with Allah as the Lord, Islam as the true religion, and Muhammad (ṣ) as His Messenger. One who says so will be rewarded with forgiveness for their minor sins that do not require specific repentance.

Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ قَالَ حِينَ يَسْمَعُ الْمُؤَذِّنَ أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ رَضِيتُ بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ رَسُولًا وَبِالْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا غُفِرَ لَهُ ذَنْبُهُ

Whoever says when he hears the call to prayer, ‘I testify there is no God but Allah alone, without any partner, and Muhammad is His servant and His messenger, I am pleased with Allah as a Lord, with Muhammad as a messenger, and with Islam as a religion,’ then his sins will be forgiven.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 386, Grade: Sahih

This phrase is very beneficial to the believers to say at other times as well. Its regular utterance from the heart produces contentment and satisfaction with the decree of Allah, even when the believer is facing hardship, and its reward is no less than Paradise.

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ رَضِيَ بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِالْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ نَبِيًّا وَجَبَتْ لَهُ الْجَنَّةُ

Whoever is pleased with Allah as a Lord, with Islam as a religion, and with Muhammad as a prophet, he must enter Paradise.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1884, Grade: Sahih

Thawban reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ قَالَ حِينَ يُمْسِي رَضِيتُ بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِالْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ نَبِيًّا كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُرْضِيَهُ

Whoever says when he enters the evening, ‘I am pleased with Allah as a Lord, with Islam as a religion, and with Muhammad as a prophet,’ it will be a duty upon Allah to please him.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3389, Grade: Hasan

After declaring one’s pleasure with Islam, he or she should ask Allah to grant the Prophet (ṣ) the means of nearness to Allah (al-wasilah), the most excellent reward (al-fadilah), to raise him to the unique praiseworthy station (maqam mahmud) that Allah has promised to him, and to send blessings upon him. The Prophet (ṣ) will intercede for the believers on the Day of Resurrection if they were constant in this supplication, and Allah will bless the believers ten times for each single time they bless him.

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ قَالَ حِينَ يَسْمَعُ النِّدَاءَ اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ هَذِهِ الدَّعْوَةِ التَّامَّةِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْقَائِمَةِ آتِ مُحَمَّدًا الْوَسِيلَةَ وَالْفَضِيلَةَ وَابْعَثْهُ مَقَامًا مَحْمُودًا الَّذِي وَعَدْتَهُ حَلَّتْ لَهُ شَفَاعَتِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Whoever hears the call to prayer and says, ‘O Allah, Lord of this perfect call and established prayer, give Muhammad the means of nearness and the most excellent reward, and raise him to the praiseworthy station that You have promised him,’ then my intercession will be allowed for him on the Day of Resurrection.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 589, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ الْمُؤَذِّنَ فَقُولُوا مِثْلَ مَا يَقُولُ ثُمَّ صَلُّوا عَلَيَّ فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ صَلَّى عَلَيَّ صَلَاةً صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ بِهَا عَشْرًا ثُمَّ سَلُوا اللَّهَ لِي الْوَسِيلَةَ فَإِنَّهَا مَنْزِلَةٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ لَا تَنْبَغِي إِلَّا لِعَبْدٍ مِنْ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ وَأَرْجُو أَنْ أَكُونَ أَنَا هُوَ فَمَنْ سَأَلَ لِي الْوَسِيلَةَ حَلَّتْ لَهُ الشَّفَاعَةُ

When you hear the caller to prayer, repeat what he says and then send blessings upon me. Verily, whoever sends blessings upon me, Allah will send blessings upon him ten times. Then, ask Allah to grant me the means of approach, for it is a station in Paradise not befitting but for one servant among the servants of Allah. I hope I am that one servant. Whoever asks Allah to grant me the means of approach, the intercession is permitted for him.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 384, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ صَلَّى عَلَيَّ وَاحِدَةً صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ عَشْرًا

Whoever sends blessings upon me once, Allah send blessings upon him ten times.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 408, Grade: Sahih

After one has completed these Sunan, then it is appropriate for him or her to ask Allah for their needs as they wish. Allah will answer their supplications either by giving them what they want, diverting some evil from them, or storing it for them in the Hereafter.

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, the callers to prayer have been favored over us.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

قُلْ كَمَا يَقُولُونَ فَإِذَا انْتَهَيْتَ فَسَلْ تُعْطَهْ

Say as they have said. When you have finished, ask Allah and you will receive.

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 524, Grade: Sahih

This last act of Sunan in the call to prayer points to the importance of etiquette when supplicating to Allah. To only ask Allah for one’s needs, without any other praise or remembrance or sending blessings upon the Prophet (ṣ), is poor manners with Allah. Rather, one should precede their supplications and requests by praising Allah and blessings His Messenger (ṣ).

Fadalah ibn ‘Ubayd reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, heard a man supplicating in his prayer and he did not send blessing upon him. The Prophet said:

عَجِلَ هَذَا

This man has rushed.

Then, the Prophet called for the man and he said:

إِذَا صَلَّى أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَبْدَأْ بِتَحْمِيدِ اللَّهِ وَالثَّنَاءِ عَلَيْهِ ثُمَّ لْيُصَلِّ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ لْيَدْعُ بَعْدُ بِمَا شَاءَ

When one of you prays, let him begin by praising and thanking Allah, then let him send blessings upon the Prophet, then let him supplicate for whatever he wishes.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3477, Grade: Sahih

Ibn al-Qayyim commented on this tradition, writing:

فالدعاء الذي تقدمه الذكر والثناء أفضل وأقرب إلى الإجابة من الدعاء المجرد … وأنت ترى في المشاهد ولله المثل الأعلى أن الرجل إذا توسل إلى ما يريد معروفة بكرمه وجوده وبره وذكر حاجته هو وفقره ومسكنته كان أعطف لقلب المسؤول وأقرب لقضاء حاجته فإذا قال له أنت جودك قد سارت به الركبان وفضلك كالشمس لا تنكر ونحو ذلك وقد بلغت بي الحاجة والضرورة مبلغاً لا صبر معه ونحو ذلك كان أبلغ في قضاء حاجته من أن يقول ابتداء أعطني كذا وكذا

For supplication which is preceded by remembrance and praise is better and more likely to be answered than supplication by itself… You can see from experience, and to Allah belong the highest similitudes, that when a man appeals to someone for what he wants, he acknowledges his nobility, his generosity, and his benevolence, and he mentions his need. His poverty and neediness inspire compassion in the heart of one asked, who is more likely to fulfill his need.

Source: al-Wābil al-Ṣayyib 1/90

In sum, the Sunan of hearing the call to prayer are five: 1) repeating after the caller, except to declare the strength of Allah in its appropriate time, 2) to declare one’s pleasure with Allah, Islam, and His Messenger (ṣ), 3) to ask Allah to give the Prophet (ṣ) nearness to Him, the most excellent reward, and the unique praiseworthy station, 4) to send blessings upon the Prophet (ṣ), and 5) to ask Allah for one’s needs.

Needless to say, one must not simply utter the words outwardly, but to say them with one’s heart present and mindful, internalizing their meanings and reflecting upon them. The believers have been given this wonderful opportunity to gain these profits of the Hereafter five times a day, which is light on the tongue but heavy on the scales of good.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.