The Athan and the Iqamah are both said before the prayer starts. But what are the differences between the two?
The word Athan means “to announce” or “to make people hear something.” The word Iqamah has multiple meanings. It can mean to establish, to erect, and to serve. The phrase “Iqamah Salah” means to “perform Salah.”
The Athan comes first. It is made by the muezzin to call people to the masjid for prayer. The Iqamah comes second, and is recited immediately before the prayer starts. The best way to describe each is that the Athan is a call to prayer and the Iqamah is a call to begin praying.
There are also differences in the recitation of the Athan and Iqamah.
In the Iqamah, the phrase “qad qamat al-salat” is added twice after the phrase “haya alal falah.” This phrase means “The prayer has commenced.”
The Iqamah is also shorter. While it contains the same phrases, some are said only once rather than twice. This includes “Allahu Akbar (2x instead of 4x),” “Ash-hadu an la ilaha illalah (1x instead of 2x),” “Ashadu anna Muhammadan rasullulah (1x instead of 2x),” “Haya alasalah (1x instead of 2x),” and “Haya alalfalah (1x instead of 2x).”
The Iqamah is also recited at a faster pace than the Athan. The Athan is often elongated and said in a beautiful poetic tone. Meanwhile, the Iqamah is delivered in a more monotone and quick manner. While the Athan is meant to draw people towards the masjid, the Iqamah is made to people already inside who are waiting to begin the Salah.
Lastly, the person reciting the Iqamah does not place his fingers in his ears. He also doesn’t turn his head to the right or left as done by the one who gives Athan.
There is something beautiful we should take advantage of in between the time of the Athan and Iqamah.
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:
“The dua is not rejected between Athan and Iqama so make dua.”
The Prophet (ﷺ) also said,
“Between every two Athans (Athan and Iqamah) there is a prayer. Between every two Athans there is a prayer. And then he said at the 3rd time (for whoever wants).”
His repetition of this statement three times shows us how beneficial this time is for us. The time between the Athan and Iqamah is a great time to make dua. Rather than scroll through our phones for a few more minutes while we wait for the prayer to begin, we should take advantage of this blessed time!
Unless we live in a Muslim country or a country that has granted permission for public athans, we most likely do not have the pleasure of hearing the Athan in our homes. Having an Athan clock in homes and offices is a good way to ensure that the athan times are announced regularly; allowing the opportunity to connect to our Lord. And for this reason and many others, the Athan Frame (The Next Generation Athan Clock) is a must-have for any Muslim household.