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Why is

Assalatu Khairum Minan Naum

i.e.

prayer is better than sleep

Only said in the fajr azan and not any of the other four azans? As a person could be sleeping during those azans as well.

What is the source of this practice? And is it mandatory?

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم


The phrase Assalatu Khairum Minan Naum (Prayer is better than sleeping) was not part of the azan (calling for prayer) during the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and it has been included in Azan later (1). Furthermore, Imam ash-Shafi‘i says in his Kitab al-Umm as such:

"أكره في الأذان الصلوة خير من النوم لأن أبا محذورة لم يذكره."

It is not pleasing for me to say "Assalatu Khairum Minan Naum" in the Azan of the prayer, because Aba Mahzureh has not brought this phrase in his hadith.(2)

In fact it was Umar Ibn Khattab who ordered to include the phrase, "prayer is better than sleep" (Assalatu Khairum Minan Naum) in the Azan at Fajr.(3)

There are other documents to prove the fact that "Assalatu Khairum Minan Naum" was later added to the Azan. I just mention two of them:

اِن المؤذن جاء الي عمربن الخطاب يؤذنه لصلاة الصبح فوجده نائماً فقال: الصلاة خير من النوم فأمره أن يجعلها في نداء الصبح.

The azan reciter went to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab informing him the Fajr prayer time, He found Umar Ibn Al-Khattab asleep, so he shouted "Assalatu Khairum Minan Naum". Umar, ordered to include it in the azan.

الصلاة خير من النوم، ولا نقول بهذا ايضا لأنه لم يأت عن رسول اللّه - صلي اللَّه عليه و سلّم .

We don't admit "Assalatu Khairum Minan Naum", and also we don't say that because this is not from the Prophet (PBUH).

Finally, Assalatu Khairum Minan Naum is used only for the Fajr prayer because it was included by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab in the Azan at Fajr.


References:

1- Kanz al-Ummal by Ali ibn Abd-al-Malik al-Hindi, “kitab as-salah,” vol. 4, p. 270.

2- Quoted from Dalilo-Sidgh by Mohammad Hassan Mozaffar, Vol. 3.

3- Al-Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. III, p. 408; Sahih Muslim, Vol. III, p. 183; al-Halabi, Al-Sirah, Vol. II, p. 105; Ibn Kathir, Vol. III, p.23.

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    This is not a complete answer and only addresses the source of the practice. Why is it only in the morning prayers and whether it's mandatory or not is not addressed. – Bleeding Fingers Jun 10 '14 at 17:40
  • @BleedingFingers You are right. In sha'llah I'll try to answer the question completely. – Mohammad Hossein Jun 10 '14 at 18:31
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It is part of the shari'ah that the caller to prayer say, "as-salaatu khairun min an-naum (prayer is better than sleep) in the morning azhan.

Abu Mahzhurah asked the Prophet, upon whom be peace, to teach him the azhan, and he told him, "If it is the morning azhan, say, as-salaatu khairun min an-naum, as-salaatu khariun min annaum. Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. La illaha illal-lah." (Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.) It is to be said only in the morning azhan.
- Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 001, Purification and Prayer, Fiqh 1.098

There is a hadith in Tirmidhi narrated by Bilal(R.A),

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said to me: Don't pronounce these words, `Prayer is better than sleep ' in the call for prayer, but for the dawn prayer only. - Al-Tirmidhi 646

Bilal(R.A) used to add these words for all prayers and then he used these words only in Fajr prayer after the Prophet(PBUH) forbids to say it on other prayers.

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    Is there any references for "Bilal(R.A) used to add these words for all prayers and then he used these words only in Fajr prayer after the Prophet(PBUH) forbids to say it on other prayers" ? – Mohammad Hossein Jun 10 '14 at 13:13
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The time of Fajr is a restful time, and someone might be tempted to go back to sleep. So saying this is a way to remind that Salah is far better then sleep, and Allah knows best. Furthermore this is to be said in the Fajr Athan and not in any other, as there are no authentic ahadeeth to support saying it in the other Athan.

عَنْ أَبِي مَحْذُورَةَ، قَالَ كُنْتُ أُؤَذِّنُ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَكُنْتُ أَقُولُ فِي أَذَانِ الْفَجْرِ الأَوَّلِ حَىَّ عَلَى الْفَلاَحِ الصَّلاَةُ خَيْرٌ مِنَ النَّوْمِ الصَّلاَةُ خَيْرٌ مِنَ النَّوْمِ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ

It was narrated that Abu Mahdhurah said: "I used to call the Adhan for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and in the first Adhan of Fajr I used to Say: 'Hayya 'ala al-falah, as-salatu khairun minan-nawm, as-salatu khairun minan-nawm, Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar, la ilaha illallah (Come to prosperity, prayer is better than sleep, prayer is better than sleep, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, there is none worthy of worship except Allah).'"

سنن النسائي (Annasa'i)

It also is not mandatory to say it, as it is a sunnah and not a wajib.

  • please provide Islamic reference. is there any evidence that this is Sunnah and is not Bidat? – Battle of Karbala Jan 5 '14 at 0:59
  • @al ummaat , did prophet(or in his presence) ever said this ? – Zia Jan 6 '14 at 6:44
  • @Zia see the hadith in my answer, if there was a problem with saying this then he would have objected to it. – مجاهد Jan 6 '14 at 11:54
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Once Bilal (RA) was about to wake up Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) from sleep during Fajr time, he used the above verse; because Bilal(RA) thought any other verse would be inappropriate. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) liked it so much, that he urged Bilal (RA) to incorporate into Fazr Azaan. From then onward this particular verse is said at every Fajr Azaan.

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    please provide source ! – Zia Jan 6 '14 at 6:41
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    any reference ? – Battle of Karbala Feb 1 '14 at 18:43

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