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Reciting the Adhan | Guide to the Islamic call to prayer [History, Meaning and Soundscapes]

adhan call to prayer
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Mario Friscia

Table of Contents

Adhan: definition, literal meaning and transliteration

definition of adhan

 

The purpose of this guide on the Islamic call to prayer is to help you find a clear and detailed answer to the most crucial questions related to the history of the adhan, its recitation styles and executive contexts.

To start out, let me give you a definition of the term adhan:

an exclusively vocal call to prayer, usually recited by a highly specialized Muslim man, called muezzin and appointed by a mosque with the aim of signaling to all the people that the time to pray has arrived.

The literal meaning of adhan is to “make people hear something, to announce”, and the word derives from the Arabic root adhina, which means “hearing, being informed about something”.

In terms of transliteration, the word adhan can be found written in various other forms such as azan, adzan and ezan, depending on the language spoken in a given geographical area.

For example, in Iran and South Asia people opt for the word azan, in Indonesia and Malesya we find the expression adzan, while in Turkey the local Muslims use the term ezan.

All the other Arabic-speaking Muslim countries maintain -as you would expect- the original form, adhan.

Now that you have a definition of adhan and an explanation of its literal meaning, it’s time to explore the history of the Islamic call to prayer.

 

History of the Adhan

history of the adhan. Man singing from the minaret

 

How did the Islamic call to prayer come into existence?

In other words: what is the history of adhan?

To answer this question I’ve decided to rely on two of the most important hadith ever compiled by Muslim scholars: Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari.

According to the hadiths, it all began after Muhammad and his companions left Mecca, a region controlled by the Quraysh at that time, to move to Medina.

Once in Medina, sheltered from the anti-Islamic persecutions of the Quraish, the Prophet decided to build the first mosque in history, so as to be able to celebrate the daily congregational prayers safely and in line with the rigorous astronomical protocol provided by Islam.

One of the first questions that Muhammad and his followers were then forced to ask themselves was the following:

how are we going to gather the people together to pray?

what kind of signal should we use to make the Islamic call to prayer as effective and original as possible?

Some companions of the Prophet proposed to ring a bell, in line with what the Christians did, others suggested to play a horn, like the Jews; still others advised to beat a drum or lighting a fire.

At a certain point, Umar bin Khatab stood up and spoke, telling Muhammad that he had seen in a dream a man, probably an angel, who said to him:

<the best way to signal to people that the hour of prayer has arrived is through the human voice>.

After saying this, the man recited to Umar the verses of what would later be called adhan, the official call to prayer adopted by Muslims.

Another companion of the Prophet, Abdullah Bin Zaid, also stood up and told him that he had had the same dream, in which a man uttered the exact same words reported by Umar, suggesting that the most powerful way to invite people to pray had to be through the medium of the human voice.

From then on, Muhammad established that the call to prayer should be carried out by reciting the adhan, an Arabic text containing the words revealed in dreams to Umar bin Khatab and Abdullah bin Zaid.

 

The words of the Adhan: Arabic text and English translation

Arabic text of the islamic call to prayer

 

The adhan is a sacred text revealed in a dream and written in Arabic, and all Muslims are required to chant it in its original form.

Translations are not allowed when it comes to perform the call to prayer.

However, it must be said that in Turkey, from 1930 to 1950, the nationalist President Ataturk decided to ban the adhan in Arabic and appointed nine muezzins to deliver the Adhan in Turkish.

Let me share with you the original text of the Islamic call to prayer written in the Arab alphabet and then transliterated.

At the end of each verse in Arabic you’ll find the English translation.

The numbers in round brackets indicate the number of repetitions:

 

ٱللَّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ

Allahu Akbar! (x 4)

(Allah is the Greatest!)

 

أَشْهَدُ أَن لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ

Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah (x2)

(I testify that there is no god but Allah)

 

أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ

Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah (x2)

(I testify that Muhammad Is the Messenger of Allah)

 

حَيَّ عَلَى ٱلصَّلَاةِ

Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah (x2)

(Come to the prayer)

 

حَيَّ عَلَى ٱلْفَلَاحِ

Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah (x2)

(Come to success)

 

ٱللَّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ

Allahu Akbar!

(Allah is the Greatest!)

 

لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ

La ilaha illa Allah

(There Is no god but Allah)

 

Among the numerous recitations of the adhan available on Youtube, I’ve chosen this one by Sheikh Abdullah Al Zaili as an example of the way in which the words of the Islamic call to prayer can be wonderfully decorated:

 

 

History and role of the Muezzin (Muadhdhin) in the call to prayer

history and role of the muezzin

 

At this point I think it is more than natural to ask:

who were the first ones appointed by Mohammed to intone the adhan within the first mosque built in Medina?

According to the hadiths, once Muhammad heard the words of the adhan uttered by Umar bin Khatab and Abdullah bin Zaid, he immediately said:

<go call Bilal and teach him the words of the adhan>

Bilal ibn Rabah was a former slave from Africa, particularly renown in the community for the beauty and power of his vocality.

It was just for the sweetness and clearness of his vocal emission that Bilal became the first muezzin (muadhdhin in Arabic) in the history of Islam.

In fact, he was in charge of “singing” the call to prayer 5 times a day from the mosque with the main purpose of announcing to people that the time of prayer had begun and that they had to get ready for salah (prayer).

In today’s mosques, the muezzin is appointed on the basis of the same skills possessed by Bilal: a clear, loud and melodious voice, with the power of automatically grabbing people’s attention and direct it towards the prayer.

This is why listening to the adhan is an experience highly appreciated even by people who do not practice Islam and don’t understand the meaning of the words recited during the call to prayer.

In addition to the strength and quality of the voice, a professional muezzin is chosen for his good character as well, since he is also responsible for the cleaning of the mosque and keeping the prayer space tidy.

According to the hadiths, the Prophet appointed another muezzin besides Bilal. His name was Abdullah ibn Umm-Maktoum, a man blind by birth and one of the most faithful companions of Muhammad.

If you want to deepen the historical figure of Bilal then I do suggest you to watch this lecture by Dr. Omar Suleiman:

 

 

How many times each day is the call to prayer sounded?

prayer times in Islam

 

Islam has established a complex and deep relation between the passing of time and the act of praying.

As we have just said, chanting the call to prayer at scheduled times is a daily service offered by the muezzin to help devotees keep track of specific phases of the day, during which every Muslim is requested to perform salah.

These prayer times depend on the condition of the Sun and the geographical location of a given mosque, which means that they vary throughout the year.

To be more precise, Muslims are required to pray following this exact sequence:

 

  • Fajr (dawn)
  • Dhuhr (after midday)
  • Asr (afternoon)
  • Maghrib (after sunset)
  • Isha (night time)

 

As a result, the muezzin has to perform the adhan five times a day, in accordance with the above list, always facing a precise direction, called qibla, pointing towards Mecca.

On Fridays, the congregational prayer, called Jum’ua, replaces the dhuhr prayer.

This service of collective worship can take place after dhuhr and before asr times, based on the needs of each mosque.

Bear in mind that the adhan is uttered all day long during the religious holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

 

From the minaret to the interior of the mosque

mosque

 

The mosque area traditionally dedicated to the recitation of the call to prayer is the minaret, a tall tower attached or adjacent to a mosque.

In line with the Islamic system of worship, the muezzin had to perform the adhan at the top of the minaret, five times a day, so as to boost his vocal presence and ensure that his call to prayer could reach as many ears as possible.

As Jonathan M. Bloom says: “The call to prayer was initially given from the doorway or on the roof of the mosque, and later sometimes a small shelter on the roof of the mosque was built to protect the muezzin”.

Not all call to prayers are given by a minaret, though.

I’m referring to the Iqama, another important call to prayer given by the muezzin.

It is performed before the commencement of the salah and is to be recited on the ground, inside the main prayer hall, just before the imam begins his sermon.

We’ll explore the iqama and how it differs from the adhan later one.

 

The advent of loudspeakers and the risk of noise pollution

call to prayer broadcast through loudspeakers

 

During my three-month stay in Dubai, one of the things that impressed me the most of its soundscape was the daily broadcasting of the adhan through the loudspeakers placed on the top of the hundreds of mosques scattered around the emirate.

In fact, the question many people ask about the soundscape of Muslim countries is:

why do mosques broadcast the call to prayer through loudspeakers?

The reason why adhan is broadcast by means of loudspeakers is to allow the daily call to prayers to surpass the noise produced by today’s modern cities and reach as many devotees as possible.

Historically, the first mosque to implement loudspeakers for sharing the adhan with the community was the Masjid Sultan in Singapore. The installation of this electric system took place in 1936.

Turkey and Morocco are two other Muslim-majority countries where loudspeakers have been systematically employed to enhance the sound produced by the muezzin during the call to prayer.

However, it should also be said that the practice of disseminating the vocal performance of the muezzins with the aid of electricity and mics has generated also a series of criticism and opened a vigorous debate on the relationship between mosques’ loudspeakers and noise pollution.

For example, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have recently issued directives to put a limit to the volume of the call to prayer, in order to reduce the impact of mosques’powerful amplification systems on the environment and the quality of life of the community living nearby.

As you can easily imagine, this line of thought has been fully embraced and supported by those non-Muslim people living near the mosques built within countries where Islam is not the state religion.

There is also who thinks that the adhan recitation should be performed from the minarets of the mosques without the aid of loudspeakers, as it happened before the advent of amplification and other technological devices.

 

What countries do have a call to prayer?

countries having the call to prayer

 

At this point you might be asking:

do all the countries have a call to prayer?

The best way to start answering this question is to re-frame it:

do all the countries allow mosques to broadcast the call to prayer through loudspeakers?

Well, it all depends on the religious and socio cultural norms of a country or municipality, as well as on its political orientation relating to the issues of tolerance, inter-faith dialogue and noise pollution.

The list of the countries that have the call to prayer broadcast by a muezzin five times a day includes: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and all the other Muslim majority countries located in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Among the countries that have put limitations or banned completely the public broadcasting of the adhan we find: the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK, Austria, Norway, and Belgium.

The fact that the public broadcasting of the call to prayer is allowed, limited or completely banned in non-Muslim countries has a tremendous impact on their soundscapes.

For a Muslim accustomed to hearing the adhan five times a day in his native land, the absence of the muezzin’s voice can be disorienting even though, we must admit it, the overlapping of many adhan recitations, broadcast by several nearby mosques, can sound to some people disturbing and discordant.

Here’s the enchanting call to prayer broadcast in Mecca:

 

 

 

Is the call to prayer a form of singing?

When I talk to my secondary students about the role of sound within Islamic prayer and share with them a video illustrating the recitation of the adhan, the whole class tends to categorize -without the slightest hesitation- this kind of religious chanting within the realm of music.

The same happens when you read some of the forums available on the internet or the comments posted below Youtube videos, where most of non-Muslim people is generally inclined to describe the Islamic call to prayer using terms like music, song and singing.

Well, based on the religious and cultural values of Islam, the answer to the question “is the call to prayer singing?” is pretty straightforward:

no, giving the adhan is not a form of singing and the melodies generated by muezzins do not fall within the category of music or song-making.

Having said that, it is impossible not to agree that the recitation of the adhan has certain characteristics similar to those present in the act of singing, such as a melody, the use of modes, a rhythm, ornamental passages and variations in dynamics (volume).

 

Pronunciation and melody in the recitation of the adhan

As you already know, the religious task of reciting the call to prayer has been traditionally assigned to muezzins, a group of talented Muslim males with strong ability to use the voice as a path leading to God and its daily worship.

The adhan is a vocal solo, which means that is generally performed by one individual.

However, in the Ummayad mosque of Damascus the call to prayer is chanted by a group of 6 muezzins, each of which produces the same melody as the others, generating a monophonic chant.

The name assigned to this particular style of adhan is Al-Jawq:

 

 

But let’s start by taking into account the most “musical” element of the adhan: its melody.

Every muezzin is free to chant the call to prayer as he wishes, embellishing the adhan with the aid of melodic passages, as long as no musical instrument is employed and the words get articulated correctly, so as to guarantee the full intelligibility of the sacred text.

In fact, it is correct to say that vocal modulations and melodic ornamentations are generally allowed, I would even say encouraged, unless they alter the structure of the words by prolonging a vowel excessively to the point of changing its meaning.

If this happens, the adhan is considered invalid.

This is why those who give the call to prayer are expected to be well-versed in the science of Tajweed, that is, the system of rules of pronunciation followed during the Quran recitation.

 

The importance of musical modes (Maqam)

When its comes to chanting the adhan, the muezzin cannot modify the text but can definitely work on its sonic rendition, which may change on the basis of the reciter’s vocal skills and the kind of maqam (musical mode) chosen for the occasion.

The choice of a specific maqam can depend on several factors: the type of mood the muezzin wants to instill in the listeners, the time of the day, the geographical location, a particular recitation style learned from one’s teacher or linked to a specific mosque.

For example, we know from the article written by Indlieb Farazi Saber that in Egypt the Sabah maqam is used to chant the adhan at dawn because it is slow and gentle in its musical phrases; the Bayati maqam is more appropriate during the Dhur prayer for its relaxing mood.

Choosing a particular maqam also depends on the geographic location and the cultural tastes of the local mosques.

For example, in Saudi Arabia we find that the mosques located in Medina tend to opt for Bayati maqam, whereas those in Mecca prefer a maqam called Hijaz.

In this video you can hear the adhan recited in the Bayati maqam:

 

 

As a result, we can say that the relationship between a specific time of the day and maqams has not been fixed by Sharia and is left upon the predilections and vocal ability of each muezzin.

 

Analyzing the adhan: a phenomenological approach

In this section, I want to guide you through the analysis of a specific performance: the adhan uttered by Mishary Rashid Alafasy in the context of the pre-dawn call to prayer (Fajr).

The type of maqam (musical mode) chosen by the muezzin is called Hijaz.

 

 

For the sake of this analysis, I’ve decided to highlight some syllables of the text using two different colors: green and red.

When a syllable or consonant is coloured green this means the muezzin is chanting a single, uninterrupted and long note; when you find the color red, this indicates the presence of a long melismatic passage, containing many different notes.

Considering that each verse of the adhan has to be chanted from start to finish, without any interruption of the vocal flow, a pause appears systematically at the end of each verse and has the function of allowing the muezzin to take a deep breath.

As you listen to the adhan, keep track of the words using the text below:

 

Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (pause)

Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (pause)

 

Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah (pause)

Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah (pause)

 

Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah (pause)

Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah (pause)

 

Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah (pause)

Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah (pause)

 

Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah (pause)

Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah (pause)

 

For the pre-dawn (Fajr) prayer, the following phrase is inserted prior to the final repetition of Allahu Akbar / God is Great:

 

As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm (pause)

As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm (pause)

 

Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (pause)

La ilaha illa Allah. (pause)

 

By taking a look at the coloured portions of the text, it is easy to notice how the melismatic passages take place almost exclusively at the end of each verse and tend to be performed on the syllable -la.

The main function of these vocal ornaments is to embellish and highlight some of the most important words of the call to prayer such as Allah, Salah and Falah.

All the other syllables are unornated and get recited using a simpler style called syllabic, that is, one note for syllable.

Changes in volume are also key in reinforcing the importance of certain words and textual passages.

There are no musical instruments or drones accompanying the muezzin during the call to prayer, which means that he has to control and maintain the overall intonation by relying exclusively on his vocal skills.

 

Physical gestures and positioning during the call to prayer

gestures and hands during the adhan

 

Chanting the adhan requires a specific posture.

The muezzin must stand with his hands placed on his ears, more precisely, his index fingers must be put inside the ears.

This tradition of covering the ears seems to derive from the fact that by obstructing the passage of the sound waves the muezzin was forced to naturally increase the volume of the performance in order to hear his own voice.

Another rule the muezzin has to follow before giving the adhan is to stand in front of the qibla, a special area of the mosque facing in the direction of Mecca.

Sometimes you can see the reciter turning right and left when it comes to intoning the verses <Hayya ‘ala as-salaah, hayya ‘ala al-falaah> just like Bilal did according to the hadiths.

However, these movements are becoming less and less frequent in today’s adhan because of the presence of microphones that amplify the voice and do not require anymore the muezzin to turn right and left in order to make his adhan audible to those worshippers positioned at his right and left.

Before intoning the first notes of the call to prayer, every muezzin has to perform a ritual of ablution, called Wudu, by which he mentally and physically prepare himself for calling the adhan.

Equally important is to spend some seconds in complete silence in order to set one’s intention (niyyah) to give the call to prayer and meditate on the socio cultural importance of performing this kind of task.

 

Difference between Adhan and Iqama: text, duration and ritual function

The first difference between adhan and iqama is that the adhan is addressed to the entire community and aims to orient people’s mind towards the prayer, whearas the Iqama is performed as a signal for the people already present within a mosque.

The text of the iqama is almost identical to that of the adhan, with one exception:

the words “qad qamat al-salat” (the prayer has commenced) are included in the iqama and get recited twice.

Another remarkable difference between adhan and iqama is that the verses of the iqama are not repeated by the muezzin (unless the reciter belongs to the Shi’a or Hanafi branches of Islam).

The absence of repetitions makes the iqama a simpler kind of call to prayer.

In fact, compared to the adhan, the iqama is chanted using a more rapid and less florid style because its ritual purpose is not to invite the people outside the mosque to come in and get ready for the prayer but to quickly draw the attention of the devotees that are already in the mosque and signal to them that the time to line up has come.

Listen to this example of iqama and compare it to the adhans discussed so far:

 

 

In terms of duration, we notice that the uttering of the adhan lasts more than chanting the iqama.

In fact, after examining several call to prayers uploaded on Youtube, I can tell you that performing the adhan requires, on average, a time span ranging from 3:45 to 4:00 minutes, depending on the style adopted by a given muezzin.

The more melismatic is the adhan, the longer a call to prayer lasts.

Chanting the iqama usually takes less than one minute.

 

Types of rewards related to the adhan

What is the reward for the people who give the adhan or reply to the adhan?

Taking the time to answer this question is key if you want to expand your understanding of the spiritual meaning of the islamic call to prayer.

Let’s start by saying that it is believed that those people that play the role of muezzin are rewarded with all the merits generated by the devotees that come to the mosque attracted and inspired by the adhan.

For example, if a muezzin does the adhan and 100 people show up for the congregational prayer, this means that the muezzin’s merit will be multiplied by 100; if, instead, the number of people increases and reach, let’s say, 700 units then his merit will be multiplied by 700 and so on.

As regards the worshipers, they can increase the spiritual reward obtained through the act of praying by listening carefully to the adhan and repeat after the caller each sentence of the text.

There is another way for them to expand their rewards: when the call to prayer is over they can make supplication (dua) for the prophet Mohammed and ask Allah to grant him the Wasila, a special place in paradise.

In addition, they can also ask Allah to forgive Mohammed’s sins.

By doing that, when the day of judgement comes, Mohammed will intercede on their behalf in such a way that their sins will be forgiven as well.

 

Other benefits of reciting the call to prayer

Most people believe that the only contexts in which the adhan can be intoned or heared are those connected to the schedule of the daily prayers, systematized by the mosques and regularly marked by the voice of the muezzins.

But the situation is much more varied than you’d expect.

For example, we know from the hadiths that the adhan was used in ancient times as a way to determine if a person, or a whole community, was to be considered as a friend or an enemy.

According to the hadiths, the prophet Mohammed was used to attack the rival tribes and villages at dawn.

As a result, one of the most effective ways for a village or an individual to let Mohammed know they were also Muslims, and therefore friends, was just to recite the call to prayer at dawn.

In fact, according to Islam, a Muslim cannot harm another Muslim, which means that the Prophet abstained from attacking those communities that performed the adhan.

There’s also an anecdote of a Muslim sheperd who was able to escape the sword of the Prophet just through the chanting of the call to prayer.

Another benefit of giving the adhan is this:

it protects the reciter from physical trouble and makes the devils (Jin) run away.

In fact, Satan hates hearing the melodies of the adhan and is believed to fart in order to contrast the sound waves produced by the person who’s giving the adhan.

So, what can we learn from these facts?

Well, first of all, that the adhan can be uttered by any individual actually, even if he’s not a professional muezzin.

As a vocal signal, the adhan can be used not only to mark the various times of prayer but also to protect a worshiper from physical and spiritual attacks.

 

Reciting the adhan for a newborn

As I was seeking more information on the use of the call to prayer outside the mosque and the prescribed prayer times, I stumbled upon a series of videos in which the adhan and iqama are recited within a private house and in the ear of a newborn.

Here’s an example showing a reciter that intones the adhan in the right ear of a baby and then the iqama in the left:

 

 

As you can hear, the chanting style adopted by the performer is completely different from the virtuosistic performances enacted by the other muezzins: the melody is far more simple and the volume has been considerably reduced, given that the notes had to be recited in the delicate ear of a small baby.

In terms of duration, the performances I’ve analyzed were also shorter than those enacted to signal the prayer times and this is explained primarily by the absence of long melismatic passages.

In addition, it must be taken into account that the function of the adhan within this kind of domestic ceremony is not to remind and motivate all the people listening to do the prayer but to introduce a new life to the words of the Quran and their sacred vibrations, in a gentle and smooth way

On occasions like these the reciter does not have to be a professional muezzin: the father of the child can perform the adhan and even the mother is allowed to recite the call to prayer if the father is not available.

It must be said, however, that this practice is not mentioned in any of the reliable Islamic textual sources and represents a spontaneous phenomenon emerged within certain Muslim families.

As a result, reciting the adhan for a newborn is not mandatory, as clearly pointed out by Dr. Zakir Naik and Sheikh Assimal Hakeem:

 

 

 

Are women allowed to chant the call to prayer?

Another question which gets frequently asked about adhan is the following:

according to Islam, are women allowed to chant the call to prayer?

This topic, which has been widely addressed on Youtube by various religious experts and scholars, does not seem to leave room for any kind of interpretation:

in Islam, women are not allowed to chant the call to prayer in the mosque.

However, a woman can recite the adhan (preferrably only the iqama) at home if the congregational prayer involves only other women.

Ok, but what are the reasons why women cannot utter the call to prayer considering that they have a voice as melodious and powerful as men’s?

First of all, working in a mosque as a muezzin has always been an exclusive prerogative of the male world because of the social implications connected to this role.

In addition to that, Muslim women are not traditionally encouraged to raise their voices in public and showcase their vocal skills, especially in the presence of unmarried men who are not relatives.

In fact, it is believed that when a woman sings she inevitably enhances her innate sensuality and this vocal attitude can un-willingly tempt the men who are listening and lead their minds to focus more on the sexual echoes generated by the female voice than on the worship of God.

Therefore, most of the Muslim scholars agree on saying that one of the main reasons why women are not allowed to intone the adhan in public is that this practice could expose them to sexual harassment and other unwanted attentions.

Take a look at these two videos if you want to dig deeper into the relationship between women and the giving of the adhan:

 

 

 

 

List of recordings

recordings of the adhan all over the world

 

The last section of this guide wants to give you a quick overview of those albums and websites that have gathered a series of recordings of call to prayers performed all over the world and in different regional styles.

Let’s start with this soundmap curated by Diana Chester, in which you’ll find several live recordings of the adhan from mosques around the world.

Particularly intriguing is this recording of the call to prayer performed in Mecca by an unknown muezzin and dating back to 1885.

It is the oldest example of adhan ever recorded and the merit of collecting this audio goes to Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje.

Another website that provides a list of different muezzins chanting the adhan is Assabile.com.

Moving to the audio files available on the main music streaming platforms, such as Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify, I’ve found only one compilation worthy of being included in this list:

Spiritual voices. Islamic literature. Azan (Adhan): a selection of rare records in Egypt, Iran and Turkey.

 

Bibliography

books, pdfs and online resources on the Islamic call to prayer

 

Here you can find a list of publications, pdf-s and online articles that can help you expand your knowledge about the sonic and historical aspects of the Islamic call to prayer:

 

Jonathan M. Bloom. The Minaret. Print publication date: 2013. Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

Faruqi, L. (1981). An annotated glossary of Arabic musical terms. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

Lutfi Othman. The Relationality of the Adhaan: A Reading of the Islamic Call to Prayer Through Adriana Cavarero’s Philosophy of Vocal Expression. Journal of Sonic Studies

McPherson Eve. The Turkish call to prayer: correlating the acoustic details of vocal timbre with cultural phenomena. Proceedings of the conference of Interdisciplinary Musicology. Montreal, 10-12/03/2005

Joseph Progler. Sound and Community in the Muslim Call to Prayer. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2014

Stone, R. (1989). “Sound and rhythm in corporate ritual in Arabia.” Revue Internationale de Theologie, Vol. 222, p. 75.

Tsonka Al Bakri, Mohammed Mallah and Nedal Nuserat. Al Adhan: Documenting Historical Background, Practice Rules, and Musicological Features of the Muslim Call for Prayer in Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Musicologica Brunensia 54 / 2019 /1

Umut Azak. Secularism in Turkey as a Nationalist Search for Vernacular Islam: The Ban on the Call to Prayer in Arabic (1932-1950). Revue du monde musulman et de la Méditerranée. 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mario Friscia

Anthropologist of sound
music teacher

“Open your doorway to music cultures and listen to the world with gentler ears”

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