Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,
Dear Shafi’i Fiqh Team, it is a common practice here in Indonesia when there is a new baby born, someone must call azan in the right ear and iqamah in the left ear. Some of my colleagues said that there is no dalil that supports it. My question is, is it a sunnah and is there a dalil regarding this? Jazakumullahu khairan katsira.Akhukum in Indonesia.
Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; and prayers and salutations are on the Master of the Messengers, and on his people, and all his companions.
Imams Tirmidhi (4/97), Abu Dawud (5/107), and others related on the authority of Ibn Abi Rafi’, that the Prophet Muhammad called adhan in Hasan’s ears at the time Fatimah gave birth to him. Imam Tirmidhi declared this to be authentic and said, “hadith hasan sahih.” (Jami’ 4/97), Hakim also vouched for its authenticity by stating, “hadith sahih al-isnad.” (Mustadarak 3/197), And Imam Abu Dawud and ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Ishbili in his Ahkam made sukut (silent acceptance) on it. (al-Badr al-Munir 9/347)
In the hadith’s isnad, there is possible weakness. The narrator ‘Asim b. ‘Ubayd Allah is differed upon. Some vindicated him, while others deemed him weak. Even if some weakened him, dependable authorities related from him. Imam Bayhaqi mentioned, “They discussed him; and although he has weakness, authorities related from him.” (al-Sunan al-Kubra 7/239) Here, we are relying on the rulings of authenticity given by the master scholars, like Imams Tirmidhi and Hakim.
Imam Nawawi based his ruling on the hadith, and said,
“The sunnah is that adhan be called in the newborn’s ear at the time of birth, be it a boy or girl; it is the prayer’s adhan. This is established by Ibn Abi Rafi’s hadith.” (Majmu’ 8/442)
Others considered Ibn al-Sunni’s report. And regarding his report, in his book ‘Amal al-Yawm wa al-Laylah 294, he related from Husayn b. ‘Ali that the Prophet Muhammad said,
“Whoever has a newborn born to him, he should call adhan in the right ear and iqamah in the left…”
However, in the isnad is Marwan b. Salim al-Ghifari and Yahya b. al-‘Ala’.
Regarding Ghifari, Ibn Abi Hatim related from his father that he weakened him and said, “Munkar al-hadith, da’if al-hadith laysa lahu hadith qa’im.” To this, Ibn Abi Hatim inquired, “yutraku hadithuhu? [Are his hadith to be abandoned?]” To which his father relied, “la, bal yuktabu hadithuhu [No, in fact they are to be written.].” (al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil 8/274) Also, Imam Bukhari said, “munkar al-hadith.” And it is known that what Bukhari intends by it is that it is not permissible to relate from him; Imam Bukhari is unique in what he intends by the phrase. And Hafiz Ibn Hajar said, “matruk (abandoned), and al-Saji and others accused him of fabricating.” (Taqrib al-Tahdhib 526) Thus according to some authorities, this Ghifari is accused of fabricating.
Regarding Yahya b. al-‘Ala’, Imam Ahmad said, “kadhdhab yada’u al-hadith. [A liar, he fabricated hadith]. (Mizan al-I’tidal 4/397) And Abu Hatim al-Razi said, “laysa bi al-qawi.” (al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil 9/180) And others discussed him too. Thus, Yahya has also been accused of fabricating.
Imam Bayhaqi related it via Yahya b. al-‘Ala’ < Marwan b. Salim. (Shu’ab al-Iman 6/390) Also, he related it via Hasan b. Amr b. Sayf < Qasim b. Mutayyab < Mansur b. Safiyyah < Abu Ma’bad < Ibn ‘Abbas < the Prophet Muhammad. Bayhaqi declared that in both of these there is weakness. Regarding Qasim b. Mutayyab, Ibn Hibban said, “yukhti’u kathiran fa istahaqqa al-tark. [He errs frequently, and thus deserves to be left.]” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 23/447) This is also how Hafiz Ibn Hajar mentioned it. (Tahdhib al-Tahdhib 5/644) Ibn Hajar also related that Yahya b. Ma’in weakened him. (Lisan al-Mizan 8/330-31) And Hafiz Dhahabi said, “kana yukhti’u ‘ala qillat riwayatihi. [He errs in the little he relates.]” (Mizan al-I’tidal 3/380)
Also, Imam Bukhari mentioned regarding Hasan b. Amr, “kadhdhab [a liar].” (Mizan al-I’tidal 2/267) Abu Ahmad b. Adi and others have discussed him too. (Tahdhib al-Kamal 2/159) Hafiz Ibn Hajar’s ruling on him is, “matruk.” (Taqrib al-Tahdhib 163)
Therefore, the narrations on the topic of adhan in the right ear and iqamah in the left are very weak. Still, some authorities held that it is sunnah based on what Ibn al-Sunni related, like what Ibn Hajar stated in Tuhfah 9/376 and Ramli in Nihayah 8/149. However, Shaykhayn [Imams Nawawi and Rafi’i] did not state that it is the relied-upon opinion. Rather, they transmitted it without declaring if it is relied upon or not. They stated that it is recommended to make the adhan into the newborn’s ear, like what is mentioned in their books. They stated this in Majmu’, and Rawdah & its original, and Minhaj & its original.
Understanding Shaykhan’s explicit mention of the adhan in the newborns ears to be that the practice is adhan only is found from some authorities who came after them.
For instance, Hafiz ‘Iraqi related from Siraj al-Din al-Bulqini that the hadith related by Imams Bukhari and Muslim, “the Prophet liked to make the right-side first in putting on his shoes, combing his hair, his purification, and all matters,” confines the practice to the right ear, as this would enter under being from “all matters.” (Tahrir al-Fatawi 3/424)
As far as the Madhhab’s main books, the issue of adhan in the right and iqamah in the left does not appear in (not in the discussion on ‘aqiqah):
Imam Shafi’s Kitab al-Umm.
Mawardi’s al-Hawi al-Kabir.
Imam al-Haramayn’s Nihayat al-Matlab.
Qadi Abu Shuja’s Ghayat al-Ikhtisar.
Shirazi’s Muhadhdhab (there the istihbab of adhan only is mentioned).
‘Imrani’s Bayan (istihbab for adhan only; other view appears to have been weakened).
Rafi’s Muharrar (istihbab for adhan only is mentioned).
Nawawi’s Minhaj (istihbab for adhan only is mentioned).
Rawdah (tasrih is for istihbab for adhan only; other issue mentioned without tarjih); likewise, Majmu’.
Ibn Qasim al-Ghazzi’s Fath al-Qarib al-Mujib (istihbab for adhan only is mentioned).
Mahalli’s Kanz al-Raghibin (istihbab for adhan only is mentioned).
Ibn Qadi Shuhbah’s Bidayat al-Muhtaj (istihbab for adhan only is mentioned).
Bulqini’s Tashih al-Minhaj (restricting the matter to adhan only as related by ‘Iraqi in Tahrir al-Fatawi).
What Ibn al-Sunni related is very weak. The narration from Ibn Abi Rafi’ has been authenticated by the mentioned authorities, that is what is established in the sunnah.
And Allah knows best.
Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.