Cultural/Religious Virtual Realia: The Islamic Call to Prayer (Adhan) – الآذان

Adhan (Azaan) (آذان ) is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin (المؤذن).

The root of the word is ( أذن – adhana) i.e. “to permit”, and another derivative of this word is أذن (uḏun), meaning “ear.”

Adhan is called out by the muezzin from a minaret of a mosque five times a day summoning Muslims for fard (mandatory) salah (prayers).

There is a second call known as إقامة iqama that summons Muslims to line up for the beginning of the prayers.

Text of the Adhan

aḏān, azaan, adhaan
call to prayer
Recital Arabic Transliteration Translation

الله اكبر

Allah u Akbar God is The Greatest*

اشهد ان لا اله الا الله

Ash-hadu allā ilāha illallāh I bear witness that there is no lord except God

اشهد ان محمدا رسول الله

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasūlullāh I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God

حي على الصلاة

Hayya ‘alas-salāt Make haste towards prayer

حي على الفلاح

Hayya ‘alal-falāh Make haste towards welfare [success]

الله اكبر

Allah u akbar God is greatest

لا اله الا الله

Lā ilāha illallāh There is no lord except God

Video clip of the Adhan

Watch this video clip of the Adhan from Makkah (this is one of the most-known Adhan among Muslims in the Muslim world)

Adhan from Tureky

This video clip shows the transliteration and meaning of the Adhan


Amzing facts about the Adhan

  • Wherever there are Muslims around the world, the Adhan is recited 5 times a day in the following times :
    • ِdawn الفجر
    • noon, الظهر
    • mid-afternoon, العصر
    • sunset, المغرب
    • night العشاء
  • So, if you happen to travel to the Arab world, you will defenitely hear the Adhan throughout the day.
  • One of the amazing facts that has been establised is that there is not even a single moment when hundreds of thousands of Muazzins (callers to prayer) around the world are not calling the Adhan on the surface of this earth. Even as you read this material right now, you can be sure there are at least thousands of people who are hearing and reciting the Adhan! Read more

This video illustrates the continuity of the Adhan around the earth

    Poster of the Adhan & Iqama transcript

    The Adhan at the Dawn prayer is slightly different from the other Adhan.

    What line is added to the Adhan at dawn time? (Look at the red arrow above)

    What happens when the Adhan is announced?

    • What do you understand from this TV advert?

    Screenshot of an electronic Adhan software

    The software allows you to hear automatic Athan at the right time five times a day. The most popular religious software according to

    Many Muslims (Arabs and non-Arabs) who live outside the Muslim world rely on electronic tools to remind them of the exact prayer times.

    As a language learning exercise, compare the following screenshots:

    Notice the prayer times, different types of Adhan, volume controls etc…

    What new words did you learn?

    Source of screenshot:


    Where is the Adhan called out from?

    Minarets (manara (lighthouse) منارة, but more usually مئذنة) are distinctive architectural features of Islamic mosques. Minarets are generally tall spires with onion-shaped crowns, usually either free standing or much taller than any surrounding support structure.

    As well as providing a visual cue demarcating a Muslim community center and territory, the call to prayer is traditionally given from the top of the minaret.

    In some of the oldest mosques, such as the Great Mosque of Damascus, minarets originally served as watchtowers illuminated by torches (hence the derivation of the word from the Arabic nur, meaning “light”).

    In more recent times, the main function of the minaret was to provide a vantage point from which the muezzin can call out the adhan, calling the faithful to prayer.

    In most modern Mosques, the adhan is called not in the minaret, but in the musallah, or prayer hall, via a microphone and speaker system.

    In a practical sense, these are also used for natural air conditioning.

    As the sun heats the dome, air is drawn in through open windows and up and out of the shaft, thereby causing a natural ventilation.

    Minarets have been described as the “gate from heaven and earth”, and as the Arabic language letter alif (which is a straight vertical line).

    The world’s tallest minaret (at 210 meters) is located at the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco.

    The world’s tallest brick minaret is Qutub Minar located in Delhi, India.

    There are two 230 meter tall minarets under construction in Tehran, Iran.


    Find out more

    Adhan – Wikipedia


    5 thoughts on “Cultural/Religious Virtual Realia: The Islamic Call to Prayer (Adhan) – الآذان

    1. Very interesting. I think the advert is saying something about “I can do it after prayer” or the like. Something about how you should always break for prayer, no matter what your doing?

      That’s exactly the message of the advert – Thank you Ed
      Can anyone else elaborate more? – Mourad

    2. The advert says When I hear the Adhan I always say ‘I can complete it after prayer’, or something along those lines. Couldn’t make out who it was made by though.

    3. What does the voiceover at the end mean? Does nafs here mean Soul, as in you should look after your soul? young men in Western dress to show regular prayer relevant to them? I had thought it might be to do with the ability to pause the game and get back to it. Who made this advert? Thanks

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