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In Makkah, the number of Muslims was small. They would offer their salah in secrecy because of the persecution of the wicked idol worshipers who refused to allow them to practice their religion openly.

The Muslims would sometimes gather together in the house of ‘Arqam [r], who was one of the first to accept Islam, and offer the salah together. But they did not call out for the prayer for fear of being found out by the wicked Quraysh.

But things were very different for the Muslims when they emigrated to Madinah. It was a city of peace and protection for the Muslims. The people of Madinah had embraced Islam and the numbers of Muslims had grown tremendously.

The Holy prophet Muhammad [s] built the famous Masjid an-Nabawi in Madinah for the Muslims to offer their salah together.

Whenever the time for salah approached the people would call out to one another saying, “As-Salat ul-Jama‘ah, the congregational salah is about to begin.” Whoever heard this call came to join the salah. But the Muslims felt the need to find a better way to call people together for the salah.

One day the Noble Prophet Muhammad [s] sat with his Companions [r] and asked their advice as to how best to call the people together for salah.

One of the Companions suggested, “Why not hoist a flag at the time of prayer, O Prophet of Allah. When the Muslims see it they can then inform each-other that the salah is soon to begin.” But the Holy Prophet [s] did not favor this suggestion.

Then someone else stood up and said, “Why not blow a horn just as Jews do.” But the Prophet [s] did not like this too. It would be imitating the Jews and they had been cursed by Allah. No, this would not do.

“Ah, I know!” another man called out. “Let us ring a huge bell. I’m sure the sound will be heard by everyone, even the shepheards in the fields.” The Prophet [s] shook his head. “No, because that is the way of the Christians,” remarked the Prophet [s].

Just then another Companion [r] jumped up and yelled out excitedly. “I have seen something that is sure to solve the problem. I have seen the fire-worshipers kindle a fire to call people to their prayer and to the worship of the sun. If we light a fire it will be seen by people far away and everyone will know that it is time for offering the salah.”

The Prophet [s] was not satisfied with any of these ideas. And so he decided to wait. Maybe someone wound come upon another idea or, better still, maybe revelation would be sent by Allah to guide them. And so it was to be.

Now ‘Abd-ullah bin Zayd al-Ansari [r] was listening very attentively to the conversation the Prophet [s] was having with his Companions [r]. He went home very concerned about the problem of calling the Muslims to prayer.

The following night something very strange happened to ‘Abd-ullah [r]. What was it? In the morning he hurried over to the Prophet [s] and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I had a strange, yet beautiful dream last night.”

“What was the dream you saw?” the Prophet [s] asked ‘Abd-ullah bin Zayd [r].

‘Abd-ullah [r] answered,  “Well, while I was still half asleep and half awake I saw a handsome man wearing glittering green clothes coming from the heavens and teaching me the words of an Adhan, of a call, and he commanded me to invite people to salah with these words.”

‘Abd-ullah [r] then recited the words of the Adhan.

The words were beautiful and full of meaning. The Holy Prophet Muhammad [s] recognized that the dream of ‘Abd-ullah [r] was true and the man in green was infact an angel.

‘Umar [r], the close Companion of the Prophet [s] was very surprised when he heard the words being recited. He had heard the very same words in a dream too. “O Prophet of Allah, I too heard the same words in a dream I had almost twenty days ago,” he said.

“Why did you not tell me before?” the Prophet [s] wanted to know.

“I had not done so out of modesty,” ‘Umar [r] explained. The Prophet [s] was very pleased with ‘Umar’s [r] answer. This was the noble manner of the Companions [r] of the Prophet [s]. They never desired to be popular and would never show off. After all, they had learnt humility and modesty from the most modest of all men, the Prophet Muhammad [s] himself.

The Holy Prophet [s] then asked ‘Abd-ullah [r] to teach the words of the Adhan to Bilal [r]. Bilal had a loud and melodious voice. He stood up, breathed in deeply, and in the most beautiful voice called the Adhan for the very first time ever. Bilal’s [r] voice echoed through the streets and hills of Madinah. Everyone came out to hear the wonderfully strange new sound. Even the Jews and idol worshippers who lived in Madinah were moved by the beautiful words of the Adhan.

People from all over came hurriedly to the Masjid an-Nabawi. The Adhan was now the call of Muslims. It was a call like no other. A call in which Muslims praised Allah and in which they invited the whole world to the religion of Allah.

Bilal [r] was honoured that day to become the first Mu’adh dhin of Islam and to this day he is remembered in every corner of the earth, five times every single day.