Interventions in Adhan Throughout Islamic History: An Evaluation

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Aydar H. , Atalay M.

Journal of Intercultural and Religious Stıdies, no.5, pp.41-66, 2013 (Refereed Journals of Other Institutions)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Title of Journal : Journal of Intercultural and Religious Stıdies
  • Page Numbers: pp.41-66


Throughout history, there had been some interventions aimed at changing the adhan, (Islamic call to prayer), which is chanted five times a day in the minarets to inform Muslim people about the time of prayer. Some of these interventions were to prevent it simply from being chanted or from being chanted in the minarets with high voice. Since these types of interventions were politically-oriented and basically had nothing to do with the Islamic sciences (disciplines), we will not focus on them specifically. A second type of intervention was to prevent it from being chanted in its original language, Arabic. For instance, as a result of this type of intervention, in Turkey, adhan had been chanted in Turkish for 18 years from 1932 to 1950. Again, we will not get into that case since we already dealt with it in another article. A third type of intervention was to add some utterances to its original version. In this article, we will stay focused on that issue. We will shortly tackle the emergence of adhan, how it came about in the first place, and then we will take up the issue who in the history inserted additional utterances to adhan, and why and in which ways they did it. We will also take up the opinions of the various historical scholars of the Sunni sects about the case, how they evaluated the interventions, as well as how they reacted to those attempts.

Since it is a fundamental religious ‘sign’ and is chanted five times a day, one can contend that it has also an aspect of psycho-social importance. In this work, we will also try to tackle the social and psychological tensions which resulted from those interventions and thereby pointing out the crucial social problems stemming from the kinds of interventions on religious symbols. It has been noted that interventions on the symbols of religious importance may result in enormous sociological, thereby political and economic problems. One should recall the fact that the international turmoil caused by the cartoons published by a newspaper in Denmark about the most fundamental human figure of the religion of Islam are still, one can assert, fresh in Muslim collective consciousness.