Who should make the Adhan?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

Adhan should be performed by someone who can pronounce the words correctly. If there are multiple people capable of doing so, then the person with the best and strongest voice should do so. A person who does not have corrected Tajweed must not perform the Adhan and must certainly refrain from leading prayers.

«إِنَّهَا لَرُؤْيَا حَقٌّ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ، فَقُمْ مَعَ بِلَالٍ فَأَلْقِ عَلَيْهِ مَا رَأَيْتَ، فَلْيُؤَذِّنْ بِهِ، فَإِنَّهُ أَنْدَى صَوْتًا مِنْكَ»

Abdallah bin Zaid (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him said), ‘Indeed it is a true dream (i.e. the dream of Adhan), if Allah (Most High) wills. Go with Bilal (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) and teach him what you have seen.  He will make the call to prayer (Adhan) with those words. For indeed he has a better voice than you.’ (Sunan Abi Dawood 499, Hasan).

In the Hadith above we see that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted the person with the best voice to make Adhan. However, in our communities we have many people who have not studied Tajweed and therefore cannot articulate the Arabic words correctly. This inevitably leads to them changing the meaning of the words they are attempting to pronounce.

This is not unique to the Arabic language, rather true of every language. If you make a different sound then you are saying a different word. If you pronounce the letter ‘p’ in English, instead of ‘b’ then you have said something different. For example pat, instead of bat. For this reason, having the ability to pronounce the letters correctly is a prerequisite for anyone making the Adhan (or leading prayers).

There is some difference of opinion amongst scholars regarding the meaning of the word (أندى). Some said it refers to the strength and volume of a person’s voice, and others said it refers to beauty.

فإنه أندى منك صوتاً ” قيل: أرفع، ويحتمل أن يكون معناه: أحسنُ. (إِكمَالُ المُعْلِمِ بفَوَائِدِ مُسْلِم).

For indeed he has a better (أندى) voice than you. It has been said that it means louder. It is also possible that the meaning is, a more beautiful (voice). (Imam Qadi Iyaad, Sharh Sahih Muslim).

” فإنه أندى صوتَا منك ” أي: أرفع وأعلى، وقيل: أحسن وأَعذب، وفيل: أبعد، وهو أفعل من النَدَى- بفتح النون وبالقَصر- وهو بمعنى الغاية، مثل المَدى، والنَدَى- أيضا- بعد ذهاب الصوت. وفيه دليل على أن من كان أرفع صوتا كان أولى بالأذان؛ لأنه إعلام، فكل من كان الإعلام بصوته أوقع كان به أحق وأجدر. (شرح سنن أبي داود).

For indeed he has a better (أندى) voice than you. Meaning louder and stronger. It is said to mean, more beautiful and pleasing. It has also been said to mean, more far reaching. It (أندى) is the superlative of (النَدَى), it has a Fata on the Noon and a short Madd (elongation). It means extent, like the word (المَدى) and (النَدَى), after the sound leaves. In it is evidence that whoever has the loudest voice has the most right to Adhan, because it is an announcement (of the upcoming prayer). So whoever has the most effective announcement with his voice has the most right and is most fitting (for the role). (Imam Badr al-Deen Al-Ayni, Sharh Abi Dawood).

قوله ” فإنه أندى صوتًا منك ” أي أحسن صوتًا منك . وفيه دليل على استحباب اتخاذ مؤذن حسن الصوت. (نيل الأوطار).

His saying (peace be upon him): For indeed he has a better (أندى) voice than you. Meaning, he has a more beautiful voice than you. In it (the Hadith) is evidence that it is recommended to select a Mu’adhin with a beautiful voice. (Imam al-Showkaani, Nayl al-Owtaar).

So if we have a choice between multiple people wanting to perform the Adhan, and they all have the ability to pronounce the words correctly, then we will give preference to the one with the strongest and most beautiful voice. However, if anyone amongst them does not have the ability to pronounce the words correctly, then he must not be considered until he learns Tajweed and pronounces  correctly.

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (16.11.2021)

See also:

Is it sufficient to learn the Deen through questions and answers (Q&A) only?