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Giving Athan  In the right ear

The first of the practices which the new-born is greeted with in the shade of Islam, is that he is made to hear the Islamic call to Prayer (adhan), and it is one of the signs of Islam and a Prophetic Sunnah laid down by Allah's Messenger Muhammad2. So the new-born in the first moments of its life and the first hour hears the Kalimah of Tawheed (the declaration that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) and the everlasting testification, and this is before his ears hear any other words in this world.

(A) Its Time

This Adhan is to be given straight after the birth, or very soon afterwards, as he did with his grandson al-Husayn ibn 'Abee - radiyallaahu 'anhumaa since it is narrated from Aboo Raafi' that he said:

<I saw the Prophet give adhan for the Prayer in the ear of al-Husayn ibn 'Alee when his mother Faatimah gave birth to him>3

(B) Its Description

The adhan is to be given, within his hearing, with its usual wording which is used to call to the Prayer: "Allaahu Akbarullaahu Akbar .... Laa ilaaha illallaah" and it should be done in a good voice, but not so loudly as to cause harm to the baby's ear or to alarm him.

(C) Is the Iqaamah to be said along with the adhan?

After giving adhan in the baby's ear, is it from the Sunnah to give iqaamah in the other ear

Perhaps the correct practice - and Allah knows best - is to give adhan only, since the authentic hadeeth only refers to the adhan. As for the iqamaah being given in the other ear, then al-Baihaqee reports two hadeeth about that - but they are both weak as Ibnul-Qayyim says, and as such cannot be used as proof 4. That is also reported from the practice of the Khaleefah 'Umar ibn 'Abdul - 'Azeez - as being his action only. Therefore, it is more correct and closer to the Sunnah to give the adhan alone .

(D) The Place of the Adhan.

The Sunnah has not specified which ear the adhan is to he given into, however the Messenger used to love giving precedence to the right side in all his affairs, therefore it would be more appropriate to give adhan into the right ear.

(E) Wisdom behind giving the Adhan.

Islam has not prescribed anything that there is wisdom and benefit in it those who are aware of it are aware of it, and those who are ignorant of it are ignorant of it. In what follows we will try to show some of the points of wisdom in this practice which are apparent to us.

Introductory Point:

The sense of hearing begins and is operative when the child is still within its mother's womb, and it has recently been discovered that it is able to remember things heard whilst still in the womb.6

Then after birth, it is ready to take in and store in its memory things which it hears. Therefore, Islam prescribed that the first message to reach the new-born child's hearing should be the words of the adhan. Then the effects of this message (the adhan) will reach the new-born even if he does not comprehend it. Ibnul-Qayyim said: 'One should not deny the effect of the adhan upon the heart and intellect of the new-born - even if one does not perceive it7.

So from this introductory point, we may be able to better understand some of the secrets and hidden wisdom behind this rite:

(1) Through giving the adhan, the first sounds to reach the baby's ears will be the words of the adhan which comprise a declaration of Allah's greatness and the testification which enters a person into His its Deen. So these words should have a profound impact upon him, so that he lives by them, calls to them, acts upon them until he meets Allah in such condition that He is pleased with him - therefore these words which are the symbol of Islam are quoted to him when he comes into this life, just as the shahadah is, at the point of his leaving this life.

(2) Since the new-born is able to retain things it hears in the memory then causing him to hear the adhan is a means of training the child, and preparing him so that he will answer this call which will have settled in his soul if he hears it often8.

(3) By putting this Sunnah into practice, one will be calling this child to Allah, before it hears the call of Shaitaan. Just as the true nature (Fitrah) which Allah created the people upon comes prior to the attempts of shaitaan to change that and to take them away from it.9

(4) The words of the adhan cause shaitaan to flee, as occurs in the hadeeth: <When the call to prayer is given shaitaan runs away, passing wind noisily until he cannot hear the adhan.>10

And as is well-known, shaitaan attempts to harm each person right from the beginning. So with the adhan, shaitaan will hear that which angers and weakens him right from the first moment of the child's life.

(5) Likewise, the prescription of giving the adhan in the ear of the child is an indication to the parents that his upbringing and education must be based upon the word of the Tawheed and the guidance of Islam and the Quran, and any other form of upbringing and education is false and unsound.


1. [Trans]. The Reader should be aware that the hadeeth upon which this whole section based is da'eef (weak) as will be mentioned in the next footnote. It cannot therefore be used to establish this practice as being from the Sunnah of the Prophet or to be something good. Rather the reader should restrict himself to the authentic Sunnah - beginning with the Tahneek' - rubbing a softened date upon the child's palate.)

2. See the following footnote.

3.Reported by Ahmad (6/9), Aboo Daawood (No. 5105), and at-Tirmidhee (No. 1553) who declared it 'hasan' and it was declared 'hasan' by Shaikh al-Albaanee in 'al-lrwaa' (No. 1173) [Transl. Shaikh al-Albaanee as he explained in 'ad-Da'eefah' formerly declared the narration of Aboo Raafi' to be weak in isnaad, but possibly supported to the level of 'hasan' depending upon the reliability of a narration of al-Baihaqee in Shu'abdul-Eemaan'. When, however, it later became clear to Shaikh al-Albaanee that this narration was reported by two liars, he clearly stated that the hadeeth is weak (da'eef). The first narration that of Aboo Raafi' is weak due to its narrator 'Aasim ibn 'Ubaydillaah ibn Aasim al 'Umaree who is weak by agreement of the scholars. The second narration, of al-Hasan ibn `Alee concerning giving adhaan in the baby's right ear and iqaamah in its left is fabricated (mawdoo') two of its narrators: being accused of fabrication (i) Yahyaa itnul-'Alaa who was accused by Imaam Ahmad, Wakee' and others of being a liar and a tabricator of hadeeth, and (ii) Marwaan ibn Saalim: who was declared 'matrook' (abandoned) and accused by as-Saajee and others of fabrication. The third and final narration, the report of al-Baihaqee in 'Shu'abul-Eemaan' from Ibn 'Abbaas stating that the Prophet gave adhaan in the right ear of al'Hasan and iqaamah in his left ear then it is similar in standard to the second due to two of its narrators: (i) Muhammad ibn Yoonus al-Kudaymee: who was accused by Aboo Daawood of being a liar, by Ibn 'Adiyy and others of fabrication, and Ibn Hibbaan said of him: "Perhaps he fabricated more than a thousand hadeeth", and (ii) al-Hasan ibn 'Amr ibn Sayf al-'Abdee: Declared by ar-Raazee to be abandoned (matrook) and by al-Bukhaaree and Ibnul-Madeenee to be a liar. As is well known from the science of hadeeth, the narration of a liar or fabricator cannot be used to support other narrations.

Those who state that the ahadeeth as a group are strong enough to warrant giving the adhan point to many benefits of this, one obvious being that the child hears the name of Allah in his or her hear. However, we will leave the readers to carry out more research on their own and decide for themselves which opinion that they wish to follow. It is important to point out though that giving iqamah in the one ear and the adhan is unfounded and should definitely not be carried out (i.e. the part of giving the iqamah) [MSA Webmaster].

4. Refer to 'at-Tuhfah' of Ibnul-Qayyim (p.22) and 'as-silsilatud-Da'eefah' of Shaikh al-Albaanee (No.321)

5. Musannaf 'Abdir-Razzaaq' (No. 7985) and al-Haafiz says in 'al-Fath' (9/588) and 'I have not seen that in connected form from him. So perhaps he did not find that in it.

6. 'Dhaakiratul-Janeen' of Muhammad Ahmad an-Naablusee, p.187)

7. Tuhfatul-Mawdood, p.22

8. This point is further clarified by the following two cases:

(a) In one test a tape recorded sound was played near to the stomach of a pregnant woman. Then a year after its birth it was noted that the same child would open its eyes, or stop crying upon hearing the same sound. So this shows the effect of sounds upon the fetus - so how about hearing the adhan after birth!! Refer to 'Dhakaa-ul-Janeen' of

Muhammad Ahmad an-Naablusee, p. 187-189

(b) In one educational film a woman made a certain noise next to a bird's egg - and did so repeatedly - then when the bird broke out from the egg and grew older, it began to make the same noise itself, and other birds would come in response to it. How far above and free is Allah from all deficiencies!!

9. Tuhfatul-Mawdood, p. 23.

10. Reported by al-Bukharee [E.T. 1/336/No. 582] and Muslim [E.T. 1/211/No. 753]

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