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How Did the Story of the Athan Start?
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Initially, the Prophet - may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him - and the companions couldn’t make the call for prayer in Mecca, as the pagans would harass them. Instead they would pray secretly, depending on their circumstances. 

Some Muslims prayed in the paths or their homes, either individually or in pairs, so that the pagans wouldn’t have the opportunity to harm them. However, after they migrated Initially, the Prophet - may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him - and the companions couldn’t make the call for prayer in Mecca, as the pagans would harass them. 

Instead they would pray secretly, depending on their circumstances. Some Muslims prayed in the paths or their homes, either individually or in pairs, so that the pagans wouldn’t have the opportunity to harm them. However, after they migrated to Al Medina, the group prayer was made obligatory, therefore, the group would estimate the prayer times and attend the mosque and pray together. Initially this was a challenge for the Muslims, as some would estimate the time of prayer earlier than others, and would have to wait and hence miss carrying out amends, while others would be late and hence would miss the allocated prayer time.

One day the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, sat with his companions and discussed how the prayer time should be announced. So the noble companions contemplated the logical options of their time, which led to suggestions including using a bell similar to the Christians, blowing a trumpet as Jews were accustomed, and lighting a fire and raising a flag at the time of prayer. 

However, none of these ideas were accepted by the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. That same night a companion named, Abdullah ibn Zaid had a dream, in which a man visited him and taught him the words of the athan. 

The companion rushed to the Prophet and told him about the dream, to which the Prophet said,

“It is a true dream.” The Prophet then told him to teach the words of the athan to another companion, known as Bilal ibn Rabah, as Bilal had a deep, loud voice. From that moment the rite of the Muslim athan began and until this very moment its sound doesn’t halt around the globe. (Abu Dawoud # 498)

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