How should a Mu’azzin (Caller of Azaan) be?
Alongside study circles, propagation of the religion, carrying out religious works in the locality and the efforts of the Imams, the Muazzins and caretakers of the Masjid also play an important role in populating the Masajid.
In large Masajid, the Mu’azzin and caretaker are usually different people, whereas in most small and medium-sized Masajid, there is usually one person who undertakes both roles. In some villages, the roles of both, Imamat and being a Mu’azzin, are undertaken by one individual, and the cleaning and maintenance of the Masjid is carried out by the locals.
The conduct and responsibilities of an Imam have been mentioned in detail in the previous issues of the Monthly Magazine Faizan-e-Madinah (Shawwal-ul-Mukarram, Zul-Qa’dah-tul-Haraam and Zul-Hijjah-tul-Haraam 1441 AH). Madani pearls regarding a Mu’azzin will be mentioned here:
Those Masajid in which the Mu’azzin and caretaker are different people, it is generally the case that the Mu’azzin has the responsibility of opening and closing the Masjid, giving the Azaan, saying the Iqamah, leading the prayer in the absence of the Imam, protecting the goods of the Masjid and setting up the speakers, mic and the sound system etc. Some Madani pearls are mentioned below for the Mu’azzins in this regard:
* Giving Azaan on time is an important matter; the Mu’azzin should be mindful of this. In most places, the Azaan of Fajr Salah is given approximately 30 minutes before the congregational prayer, whereas, for the other Salahs, it is given 15 or 20 minutes prior. The important thing is that you stick to the timings that are fixed in your Masjid. Those who are busy in their work usually have the mindset of coming to the Masjid 5 or 10 minutes after the Azaan, thus, if the Azaan is performed late, not only is there a risk of these people missing the congregational prayer, but there is also a chance of them being put off and it could be a means of them pointing their fingers at the Mu’azzin.
* Like the Azaan, it is also very important to perform the Iqamah at the appointed time. Keeping the state of the society in mind, the Imam, Mu’azzin and those who have a passion for the religion should all be cautious, accommodating and punctual; and it is very important for them to create ease for the public in religious matters. Therefore, as soon as the time of the congregational prayer starts, read the Iqamah immediately; it should not be the case that the time of congregational prayer has started and the Mu’azzin is still performing Wudu or combing his beard or busy tying his ‘Imamah (i.e. Turban). Striving for the protection of the Masjid, maintaining it, facilitating ease for those who come to pray and serving the Masjid is a great honour. However, alongside all of this, it is important for the Mu’azzin to be punctual.
* Another very important matter is filling in for the Imam, i.e. leading the Salah when the Imam is absent is an important matter for the Mu’azzin. Therefore, it is necessary for the Mu’azzin to learn enough necessary rulings so that he can lead Salah correctly. It is very important for him to have a good understanding of the conditions, Faraaid, Wajibat and Makruhaat-e-Tahrimah of Salah in particular; because if a condition or Fard is omitted, the prayer will be completely invalid. Whereas, if a Wajib act is forgetfully missed or if a Makruh-e-Tahrimah act is carried out, then in certain cases, it will be Wajib to perform Sajdah Sahw, and in some cases, it will be Wajib to repeat the Salah.
* Regardless of whether one leads the prayer once or multiple times, it is a significant role, and is an honourable and praiseworthy rank in the eyes of the people also. Therefore, the Mu’azzin should be mindful of his conduct, speech, manner of living, clothing and cleanliness. Being clean and presentable does not entail that one wears brand new clothing of cotton that is fully ironed, rather, wearing washed clothing that is clean is also considered cleanliness.
* If the people ask about Shar’i rulings in the absence of the Imam, there is no harm if the Mu’azzin gives a reply if it is regarding simple matters. For example, the method of Wudu or Salah, the units (Rak’aah) of Salah, the Faraaid of Wudu etc. However, if he even knows the answers to other complex questions to some extent, he should not dare to answer them himself; rather, he should advise them to seek guidance from the honourable Muftis.
* There are usually multiple clocks in the Masjid. The Mu’azzin should make sure that they are all in sync. Sometimes, one Masjid has several clocks which display different times, which becomes a talking point amongst the people when the time of congregational prayer arrives; the Imam and Mu’azzin look to the clock on their right whilst the people look towards the clock on their left, and then they begin to turn their heads continuously towards the clock that is ahead, as if to say, ‘why isn’t the Mu’azzin saying the Iqamah?’ In particular, it is necessary that the time displayed on the clock which is in front of the Khateeb be correct so that there is no delay to the lecture and Khutbah (i.e. sermon) of Friday.
* Likewise, it is important to be punctual in Salah and to offer it in full. It is extremely inappropriate for one to leave immediately after the congregational Salah and to not offer the rest of the Sunnahs and Nawafil in the Masjid, as this action is a means of creating an ill-assumption in the minds of people.
* If the lights go off in the area and there is a genuine risk of the light going off during the Salah, the Mu’azzin should switch on the rechargeable lamp before Iqamah, so that even if the light does go off, it does not become completely dark. The best option is to fit rechargeable lights that come on automatically when the electricity cuts off.
* If the Masjid is fitted with a generator and the lights go off at a fixed time or they continuously go on and off due to some technical issues, then the generator should be switched on during the congregational prayer and especially during Jumu’ah so that the tranquillity of the Salah, the Jumu’ah speech and the congregational prayer are maintained.
* Also, one should pay special attention to immediately switching off the generator once the lights come on after Salah has finished or if there is no need for the generator anymore.
* It is also necessary for the Mu’azzin to pay attention to opening and closing the Masjid on time. In regards to this, one ought to fix a time after consulting with the locals and the committee members, and then close the Masjid at the appointed time. Even if there is a person who spends a few extra minutes worshipping in the Masjid, one should not become upset. Also, if someone comes outside of these timings to the Masjid so that he can pray Salah or recite the Quran etc., he should be given the opportunity to worship. However, if there is a risk of harm, then one ought to act according to the agreed upon rules.
* During the summer, the Mu’azzin ought to open the windows of the Masjid before the Azaan or immediately after it so that the heat is reduced, and he should close them after the people have left so that dust etc. does not enter and then there will be no need to clean it before the next time.
* It is the habit of some Mu’azzins to turn on all of the lights and fans straight after the Azaan. This should not be done; because ultimately, the Masjid also has bills which are paid with the money that is collected after much hard work. The fans should be turned on in accordance to the number of attendees.
* It is the habit of some of those who attend the Masjid that instead of standing next to a person who is already standing close to a fan and praying, they stand at another place and switch on another fan; in such a case, the Mu’azzin should explain the situation to them in a kind and loving manner. If he does not listen after you explain to him, then do not argue nor quarrel and leave him as he is. Speak to the Masjid committee if there is a need. اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه if not today, then tomorrow he will realise himself; whereas, it is possible that quarrelling will lead to him acting rudely or leaving the Masjid altogether.
* The Mu’azzin should remain extra cautious when it comes to the elderly attendees; if they say something whilst he is cleaning or in any other matter, then instead of becoming upset or giving an inappropriate reply, he should smile.
* If the people of the locality send food to the Masjid, maintain cleanliness. It is extremely inappropriate to keep everything in the Masjid and then to clean the pots only after they become ruined or burnt, or to not return the pots etc. that somebody sends; in fact, it is impermissible and Haraam to still not return them despite the owners demanding for it.
* During Ramadan, many people send drinks, fruits etc. to the Masjid for Iftari. The Mu’azzin should only keep the amount that can be utilised in the Masjid, and should kindly explain to the people that the remaining will be wasted in the Masjid and that they should give it to a poor person instead.
* If a Muslim passes away in the locality, the Mu’azzin should remain aware of this also, i.e. by making the funeral bier available at the right time, making an announcement regarding the death and the funeral Salah, and making the necessary preparations for any gatherings (of Isal e Sawab) that take place for the deceased. Not only is this important in terms of courtesy, but also increases the Mu’azzin’s value in the eyes of the people.
* Alongside the other duties around the Masjid, the Mu’azzin should also be mindful of the Imam’s affairs. For example, laying out the prayer mat, making water available during the Khutbah and lecture, and also placing any books that the Imam might need nearby. Also, he should not argue with the Imam in any matter.
* If the committee members or Imam ask him to do anything in relation to the Masjid, he should never argue or refuse. If it is possible to do it, then he should do it, and if it is not, he should kindly inform that there is an issue or a problem.
* Some Masjid committee members are very active and serve the Masjid well, whereas, there are others who are lazy, and due to their personal engagements, they assign the Mu’azzin to do the small jobs around the Masjid. If the Mu’azzin does not pay attention to them, these jobs end up being delayed. For example, if there is a light or fan that is not working, or the caretaker is in need of some cleaning supplies, the Mu`azzin should fulfil these needs after speaking with the committee members.
* The Masjid mats and other items should be utilised in accordance to the Shari’ah. Some Mu’azzins give the old mats to the caretaker to clean who cuts them and uses them on the mop or floor wiper. Similarly, some spread out the Masjid’s mats for eating and other matters. Remember, it is not permissible to use the items of the Masjid for any other purpose. If they are no longer capable of being used, they should only be utilised for other purposes after consulting with a Mufti.
* During rains, storms, construction of the Masjid and other occasions, it is necessary to pay close attention to the mats and other things. In some places, it is observed that once the mats become soaked due to the rain and full of dust and dirt due to the storm, only then do people take notice of them. This kind of behaviour results in loss to the Masjid.
* Likewise, it is important to take care of the other items that are placed in the Masjid like, lights, fans, books etc. The Mu’azzin should take care of these items by paying attention and taking the appropriate steps at the right time. If measures are taken at the right time, then it is not difficult, however, if one does not pay attention or is lazy, then the work piles up and becomes burdensome. The result of this is that many things are ruined in a Masjid.
* If water gathers on the roof due to the rainy season or for any other reason, then efforts should be made to remove it, especially if there is a risk of the roof leaking. Therefore, the water should be removed after speaking with the committee or telling the caretaker of the Masjid to do so.
* Beloved Mu’azzin! If the Masjid committee members are not active and delay small things that are necessary without any reason, then as a Muslim, we should serve the Masjid and do those jobs with the intention of gaining reward. Always keep one thing in mind: We should never think that ‘this isn’t my job’. The committee members of the Masjid do not take any wage from the Masjid either; they undertake their work free of charge and earn reward. If we also, alongside fulfilling our responsibilities, serve the Masjid free of charge, it will benefit us in the Hereafter and the attendees will not move away from the Masjid.
* If you have any issues regarding the committee members or any other matter, never mention it in front of the public. Instead, first consult with the Imam and then if it is appropriate, speak with the committee members. Not only does mentioning your personal issues in front of the public ruin your own reputation and dignity, but it will also cause trouble for the Masjid committee.
* Both, the Mu’azzin and the Imam, should be very cautious in matters regarding taking or receiving money, loans, relationship with the people, roaming around outside the Masjid, conduct in the gatherings that take place in the Masjid and going to people’s homes to teach their children etc. In order to learn more detail regarding this, refer to the topic ‘How should an Imam be?’ in the Monthly Magazine Faizan-e-Madina (Shawwal-ul-Mukarram 1441 AH).