The Call to Prayer


Muslims are obliged to pray five times a day. Correclty performed prayers include ritual acts, such as the washing of certin body parts and positioning oneself in the direction of Mecca. The prayer times are announced by someone who gives the call to prayer from the minaret of a mosque or another place. This call is as follows:

times said Arabic Transliteration English translation
4x الله أكبر Allahu akbar God is the greatest
2x أشهد أن لا اله إلا الله Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa Allah I witness that there is no god but God
2x أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله Ash-hadu anna Muḥammadan Rasulullāh I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God
2x حي على الصلاة Ḥayya ʿala as-salaat Come to the prayer
2x حي على الفلاح Ḥayya ʿala ‘l-falaah Come to the success
2x الصلاة خير من النوم As-salaat khairun min an-noum Prayer is better than sleep
2x الله أكبر Allahu akbar God is the greatest
1x لا إله إلا الله La ilaha illa Allah There is no god but God

The left column shows how often the sentences are repeated. The sentence in italics is only pronounced at the early morning prayer. This is the call to prayer as used by the Sunnis. The Shiites have a slightly longer version, where they confess that Ali is the friend of God. They say this after the confession that Muhammad is God’s messenger. According to them, Ali was appointed by Mohammad as his successor. Afther the sentence “Come to the success” they add the sentence, “Come to the best of all (good) works.” For more information, see: