We have a small Mosque that does not have a dome or Minaret. We wanted to know if it is permitted to give the Adhan inside the main prayer hall. Some people are saying it is not allowed to give the Adhan from inside of the Mosque, is this true?
Linguistically the term ‘Adhan’ means informing and announcing something, and in Shari’ah, it refers to informing people of a prayer time, in a specific manner, with specific words. (See: Radd al-Muhtar 1/383) As such, the primary objective of Adhan is to inform as many people as possible that a particular prayer time has arrived and that prayer is about to commence. For this reason, it is a Sunna and superior to have the Adhan called from a lofty position such as the Mosque roof or Minaret.
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “The Mu’adhin (one who calls the Adhan) will receive forgiveness to the extent of where his voice reaches, and every moist and dry place will testify on his behalf…” (Sunan of Abu Dawud no: 516)
Urwa ibn Zubayr (Allah be pleased with him) relates from a woman of Banu al-Najjar who said, “My house was the loftiest of all the houses around the Mosque [of the Prophet in Medina]. Hence, Bilal (Allah be pleased with him) used to call the Adhan for the Fajr prayer from on top of it. He would come there before dawn and wait for it. When he saw it [i.e. dawn], he would yawn and say: “O Allah, I praise you and seek Your assistance for the Quraysh so that they may establish your religion. He would then call the Adhan… By Allah, I do not know that he ever left saying these words on any night.” (Sunan of Abu Dawud no: 520)
Imam Ibn Abidin, the renowned classical Hanafi jurist, states:
“It is a Sunna to call the Adhan from a lofty position, and [Sunna to call] the Iqamah on the ground… It is recommended for the Mu’adhin to call the Adhan in a place from where he is able to make the neighbors hear his voice the most…” (Radd al-Muhtar ala ‘l-Durr al-Mukhtar 1/384)
He further states quoting al-Suyuti:
“The first person to climb the Minaret of Egypt to call the Adhan was Shurahbil ibn Amir al-Muradi, and Maslama [the governor of Egypt] constructed Minarets upon the instruction of Mu’awiya (Allah be pleased with him). Minarets were not in existence before then. Ibn al-Sa’d relates with his chain to the mother of Zayd ibn Thabit (Allah be pleased with her) that, “my house was the loftiest of all the houses around the [Prophet’s] Mosque, and Bilal (Allah be pleased with him) used to call the Adhan from on top of it since he began pronouncing the Adhan until when the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) built his Mosque, after which he called the Adhan from the roof of the Mosque.” (Radd al-Muhtar 1/387)
Based on this, classical Hanafi jurists have ruled that pronouncing the Adhan in a way that one’s voice becomes restricted is somewhat undesirable such as calling it whilst in a sitting position or on the ground inside the Mosque. It is stated in Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:
“The Adhan should be called on the Minaret or outside the Mosque [prayer hall], and not inside of it.” (Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 1/55)
Likewise, it is stated in Tahtawi ala Maraqi al-Falah, “It is somewhat disliked to call the Adhan inside of the Mosque… As such, if no lofty position is available for Adhan, it should be called in the courtyard of the Mosque.” (Hashiyat Tahtawi ala Maraqi al-Falah, P 199)
This clearly illustrates that there is nothing inherently wrong with calling the Adhan inside the Mosque prayer hall. The houses of Allah are designated for His remembrance (dhikr) and Adhan is one form of this Dhikr. The only reason why some classical scholars deemed it “superior” outside the Mosque prayer hall (but still permitted inside) was the fact that one’s voice would be restricted if Adhan is called from within the Mosque which goes against the basic objective of Adhan. There is nothing within Adhan itself that contravenes honoring and venerating the Mosque.
Given this, and given the fact that Adhan, in our time, is normally called via the speaker-system, even if it is called inside the main prayer hall, the basic objective of enabling the sound reach as far as possible will be achieved. As such, the somewhat undesirability of calling it from within the Mosque will also not remain.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK