A muezzin or muzim, is the chosen person at a mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 who leads the call to prayer (adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

) at Friday services and the five daily times for prayer (salat
Salah is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Islam and of the 7 pillars of Musta'lī Ismailis...

, Turkish namaz) from one of the mosque's minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s; in most modern mosques, electronic amplification
Loudspeakers in mosques
Loudspeakers in mosques are generally used for Adhan or "call to prayer", or sometimes for Khutbah or sermons. External loudspeakers are generally mounted on tall minarets. Mosque loudspeakers are used for a call to prayer, five times a day...

 aids the muezzin in his task.

The professional muezzin is chosen for his good character, voice and skills to serve at the mosque; he however is not considered a cleric, but in a position rather comparable to a Christian sexton
Sexton (office)
A sexton is a church, congregation or synagogue officer charged with the maintenance of its buildings and/or the surrounding graveyard. In smaller places of worship, this office is often combined with that of verger...

. When calling to prayer, the muezzin faces the Qiblah, the direction of the Ka'bah in Mecca, while he cries out the adhan. During the worship service, the muezzin in some mosques stands on a special platform (called the müezzin mahfili
Müezzin mahfili
The müezzin mahfili is a special raised platform in a mosque, opposite the minbar, where a muezzin kneels and chants in response to the imam's prayers....

in Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

), which is opposite the imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

's minbar
A minbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons or in the Hussainia where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation...

and gives responses during the imam's sermon, the khutbah.

The institution of the muezzin has existed since the time of Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

. The first muezzin was Bilal ibn Ribah
Bilal ibn Ribah
Bilal ibn Rabah or Bilal al-Habashi was an Ethiopian born in Mecca in the late 6th century, sometime between 578 and 582.The Islamic prophet Muhammad chose a former African slave Bilal as his muezzin, effectively making him the first muezzin of the Islamic faith...

, who walked the streets to call the believers to come to prayer. Although many of the customs associated with the muezzin remained undecided at the time of Muhammad's death, including which direction one should choose for the calling, where it should be performed, and the use of trumpets, flags or lamps, all of these are elements of the muezzin's role during the adhan.

After minarets became customary at mosques, the office of muezzin in cities was sometimes given to a blind
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 man, who could not see down into the inner courtyards of the citizen's houses and thus could not violate privacy.

The call of the muezzin is also considered an art form, reflected in the melodious chanting of the adhan. A recently released documentary, "Muezzin", by Austrian filmmaker Sebastian Brameshuber, shows Turkish muezzins competing in an annual nationwide call to prayer competition.

However, this may be about to change: The Minister of Religious Foundations in Egypt wishes to introduce a centralized muezzin by the end of the year. A single muezzin voice will be broadcast live on a radio channel simultaneously to all government mosques.

Notable muezzins

  • Bilal ibn Ribah
    Bilal ibn Ribah
    Bilal ibn Rabah or Bilal al-Habashi was an Ethiopian born in Mecca in the late 6th century, sometime between 578 and 582.The Islamic prophet Muhammad chose a former African slave Bilal as his muezzin, effectively making him the first muezzin of the Islamic faith...

  • Rahim Moazzen Zadeh Ardabili
    Rahim Moazzen Zadeh Ardabili
    Rahim Moazzen Zadeh Ardabili was a prominent Shia Moazzen in Iran.He was born in Ardabil Province in a very religious family. His father Abdul Karim Moazzen Zadeh Ardabili was himself the first Moazzen to call azaan. When Sheikh Abdul Karim Moazzen Zadeh Ardabili called out to prayer , his voice...

  • Ali Ahmed Mulla
    Ali Ahmed Mulla
    Sheikh Ali Abdul Rahman Ahmed Mulla is the veteran muezzin at the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Ali Ahmed is up to date the longest serving muezzin for the Masjid al-Haram and has been following his family tradition in this profession for over 31 years...

External links

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