In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
In his response to your question, Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states:
The scholars differed concerning the ruling on repeating the words of the Adhan. The view of the majority of scholars is that repeating the words of Adhan is mustahabb (Arabic for: favorable according to Islamic teachings), not obligatory. This is the view of the Malikis, Shafa`is, and Hanbalis.
Imam An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Al-Majmu` (3/127):
“Our view is that repeating the words of the Adhan is a sunnah, not obligatory. This is the view of the majority of scholars. At-Tahawi narrated that some of the earlier Muslims held a different view and said that it is obligatory.”
In Al-Mughni (1/256), it is narrated that Imam Ahmad said, “If he [the fasting person] does not repeat his [the muezzin’s] words, there is nothing wrong with that.”
This is indicated by the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to Malik ibn Al-Huwayrith and those who were with him, “When the time for Prayer comes, let one of you give the Adhan and let the oldest of you lead you in prayer.”
This indicates that repeating the words of the Adhan is not obligatory. This conclusion is based on the fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was teaching them, and in this case there was a need to explain everything they needed to know.
This delegation of people may not have had any knowledge of what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about repeating the words of the Adhan.
The fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not mention it even though there may have been a need to explain it to them, putting in mind that this delegation stayed with him for 20 days then left, indicates that repeating the words of the Adhan is not obligatory. This is the most correct view (Ash-Sharh Al-Mumti` 2/75).
Malik narrated in Al-Muwatta‘ (1/103) from Ibn Shihab that Tha`labah ibn Abu Malik Al-Qurazhi told him, “At the time of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, they would pray on Friday until `Umar came out. When `Umar came out and sat on the pulpit and the muezzin gave the Adhan, Tha`labah said, ‘We would sit and talk, then when the muezzins fell silent and `Umar stood up to deliver the sermon, we would listen attentively and none of us would speak.'”
Ibn Shihab said, “When the imam comes out, Prayer should stop, and when he speaks, speaking should stop.”
Sheikh Al-Albani (may Allah have mercy upon him) said in Tamam Al-Minnah (340):
“This report indicates that it is not obligatory to repeat the words of the muezzin, because what was done at the time of `Umar was that people spoke during the Adhan, and `Umar did not say anything about that. I have often been asked about the evidence that repeating the words of the Adhan is not obligatory, and I have replied in this manner.”
Based on the above, there is no sin in not repeating the words of the muezzin whether the person is busy with eating or anything else. But by not mentioning the words of the Adhan, the person is missing out on a great reward with Allah.
Imam Muslim narrated that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “If the muezzin says, ‘Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar (Allah is most great, Allah is most great),’ and one of you says, ‘Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar;’ then he says, ‘Ashhadu an la ilaha ill-Allah (I bear witness that there is no god except Allah),’ and you say, ‘Ashhadu an la ilaha ill-Allah;’ then he says, ‘Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul-Allah (I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah),’ and you say, ‘Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul-Allah;’ then he says, ‘Hayya ‘alas-salah (Come to Prayer),’ and you say, ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa Billah (There is no power and no strength except with Allah);’ then he says, ‘Hayya ‘alal-falah (Come to prosperity),’ and you say, ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa Billah;’ then he says, ‘Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar (Allah is most great, Allah is most great),’ and you say, ‘Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar;’ then he says, ‘La ilaha ill-Allah (There is no god but Allah),’ and one of you says, ‘La ilaha ill-Allah,’ from the heart, he will enter Paradise.”
There is no conflict between hastening to break the fast and repeating the words of the muezzin. The fasting person can hasten to break his fast as soon as the sun has set, and at the same time he can repeat the words of the muezzin. Then he will have attained both virtues, the virtue of hastening to break the fast and the virtue of repeating the words of the muezzin.
People from ancient times until now have always spoken whilst eating; they do not think that eating keeps them from speaking. But it should be noted that hastening to break the fast may be done by eating anything, even if it is something small like a date or drinking water. It does not mean that he should eat until he is full.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.