Posted by: Dawud Israel | September 22, 2009

Psychology in the Qiraat and Adhan

Bismillah, alhamdulillah, wa salat wa salam ala Rasulullah

I had a discussion with a local hafiz after taraweeh about recitations of the Quran in prayer and also the adhaan. At first he thought I was referring to the psychological effect of the qirat on the listener, but I clarified- what I am looking at here is what the recitation suggests about the reciter.

What mood are they in? Are they mechanically reciting? Are they reciting with their whole soul and heart? Are they emotional? Why aren’t they emotional?

Especially in adhans, you hear desperation, depression, some adhans you hear a low self-confidence, and in the rare adhan you hear the majesty of Islam. I try hard to recall and memorize the adhans/recitations that provoke feelings of spiritual grandeur and glory- but they are so rare, I have heard maybe one or three in the past 3 years.

Is this a reflection of our state? Is the melancholy you hear in their voice from the inferiority complex among the believers? Or is it just the style and how they were taught?

Comparing it to the chants you hear from Christian monks that sound really grandiose, the adhan and qirat I think are over-emphasized among Muslims (everyone wants to be like Alafasy!) but they aren’t emphasized in the sense of conveying your heart and spiritual state in the recitation, if that makes any sense. I often wonder if perhaps, the recitation has a negative effect on the imaan of the Muslims. Yes, of course we know it can really boost our imaan, but if its in a very dreary voice, even if its with perfect tajwid, it can really drag some people down rather than inspire iman. Its an interesting notion so I wonder…

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, ameen.


  1. wow I don’t know what adhans you’ve been listening to but I have rarely heard a bad sounding adhan. What you refer to desperate I consider soul-stirring. I prefer to hear a mu’adhdhin calling the adhan in a way of a person in desperation calling out for help.

    The only adhans I don’t like are cheesy ones with huge echo/delay effect likethis one.

    A little effect is ok but some are too overpowering.

    This one is good.

  2. Yeah, those are very classic adhans. Maybe its just me but when I hear those “model” adhans it feels, like I’ve traveled back in time to the old days, so in that sense its nice and ahistorical, but at the same time, I really hope to hear something of their heart in the adhan, something I can identify with in a deeper way.

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