I work as the muezzin in a mosque. In our mosque, we install digital clock which indicates the time for adhan and iqamah. We set the iqamah to be called 10 minutes after the adhan. Normally, we will call for iqamah according to the iqamah time stated at the clock. However, recently, we hire a new muezzin and he keeps on asking to call for iqamah earlier than the time stated at the clock. Consequently, there are complaints made by the people that they missed the fadhilah of takbiratulihram together with the imam and do not have the chance to pray qabliyyah Sunnah prayer due to this because they refer to the digital clock. Is it our fault since we act as the authority at the mosque if we call the iqamah earlier than the time stated by the clock when originally it is the right of the imam?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
This question contains two issues to be settled. First, who is rightful to set the time for adhan and iqamah?
It is narrated from Jabir bin Samurah RA where he said?
كَانَ مُؤَذِّنُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُمْهِلُ فَلاَ يُقِيمُ حَتَّى إِذَا رَأَى رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَدْ خَرَجَ أَقَامَ الصَّلاَةَ حِينَ يَرَاهُ
The Mu'adh-dhin of Allah's Messenger would wait and he would not call the Iqamah until he saw the Allah's Messenger had come out, he would call the Iqamah when he saw him
Jami’ al-Tirmidhi (202). He said that this hadith is hassan.
Sayyidina Ali bin Abi Talib RA said:
الْمُؤَذِّنُ أَمْلَكُ بِالْأَذَانِ، وَالْإِمَامُ أَمْلَكُ بِالْإِقَامَةِ
“The muezzin is rightful upon the adhan while the imam is upon the iqamah”
Narrated by al-Baihaqi in Sunan al-Kubra (2279)
“This is because, adhan is a telling on the time for prayer which is under the power of the authority which is the one who calls for it, while the iqamah is to indicate the time for the prayer which may not be performed unless the imam has given the signal for it. However, if the iqamah is called without the permission from the imam, the iqamah is still valid.”
According to Sheikh Ali Syabramallisi, the iqamah is valid even when it is called without the permission of the imam, the one who called for it is not sinful and it need not to be repeated…
The second issue is, is it wrong to call the iqamah earlier from the time stated at the digital clock?
Basically, this should not happen because the time of the digital clock can be changed. It is the responsibility of the mosque authority to make sure the time portrayed to the ma’mum is accurate especially when it is the base of the construction of a mosque and congregational prayer. The authority should be responsible to ease the public so that they may perform their acts of worship in peace and tranquillity. In fact, the presence of the digital clock itself is to tell the ma’mum the time of prayer so that they may be ready before the time. If this purpose fails, it is better to just uninstall the digital clock because it may raise confusion. We already discussed the ethics of a Muslim to save themselves from any false accusation. Among them are:
- AL-Kafi #1056: Uploading Non-Covering Awrah Pictures from The Past for #10yearschallenge
- Irsyad al-Fatwa #227: The Ruling of Uploading Non-Covering Awrah Pictures on Social Media
- Al-Afkar #6: Trying The Rituals of Other Religions
- Bayan Linnas Series 102: Measures Taken by Shell to Take Down Life Size Standee of Woman Image Should Be Praised
In conclusion, true are the words of Sayyidina Umar al-Khattab:
مَنْ سَلَكَ مَسَالِكَ التُّهَمِ اتُّهِمَ
Whoever takes the path towards accusation will be accused
Whatever actions with risks of causing accusation should be avoided will all our might because it produces negative outcomes in the short or long term.
Besides, leaving a duration of time between adhan and iqamah so that the people may have the chance to do some Sunnah worships before prayer is a Sunnah. Imam al-Khatib al-Sharbini said:
وَيُسَنُّ أَنْ يَفْصِلَ الْمُؤَذِّنُ وَالْإِمَامُ بَيْنَ الْأَذَانِ وَالْإِقَامَةِ بِقَدْرِ اجْتِمَاعِ النَّاسِ فِي مَكَانِ الصَّلَاةِ وَبِقَدْرِ أَدَاءِ السُّنَّةِ الَّتِي قَبْلَ الْفَرِيضَةِ
“And it is Sunnah for the muezzin to leave duration of time between adhan and iqamah by the rate of permitting people to gather in praying area and they have the chance to do Sunnah worships before the obligatory prayers.”
Refer Mughni al-Muhtaj (1/325); Al-Kafi #802: The Ruling of Praying without Iaqamah; Al-Kafi #380: The Muezzin Call for Iqamah Directly after the Adhan
If it is asked on what is the ruling for the mosque authority to call the iqamah earlier than the stated time at the digital clock, according to the above facts and explanations, we are inclined to the opinion that its ruling is makruh because the act is a failure to fulfil the promise to do good without any reasonable excuse. Exceptions are only given when there is a necessity like work to be done rapidly. So, it is not makruh for this case. This is because the imam reserves the right to set the time for iqamah while the muezzin has a right to set the time for adhan, and the need will lift the ruling of makruh.
We reaffirm it is best for the imam to abide by the time set for the purpose of maslahah so that he may not cause a negative environment which affects others. It is also best to have a discussion between the imam and the mosque authority for the goodness of the people who come to pray. At the same time, there are prayers which are Sunnah to be performed directly after the adhan and delayed. Kindly refer to the following articles for further explanation:
- Al-Kafi #550: Delaying Isha’ Adhan Due to Religious Class
- Al-Kafi #1029: Sunnah Rawatib Prayer Which Are Mu’akkad and Not Mu’akkad
- Irsyad al-Fatwa #113: Is There Sunnah Prayer Before Maghrib Prayer?
May this explanation give understanding to the questioner.