What is Iqama?
Iqama is a type of call or announcement for prayer among Muslims. It typically comes after the adhan which is referred to as the first call to Islamic prayer. While the first call or adhan is typically done with some melody, the iqama is often given out as a simpler call with no melodious tone. Some people even refer to iqama and adhan as the same, but iqama emphasizes more on the announcement that prayer is about to start. Adhan rather is more of a call out for people to start their regular Islamic prayers. With this distinction, adhan is referred to as the first call while iqama is referred to as the second call to prayer. Some experts also point out that the phrases and lines involved in iqama and adhan are pretty much the same with the only major difference in the aspect of repetition.
In the Islamic community, prayers are typically done several times everyday depending on the position of the Sun. This means that Muslims around the world may have different prayer times for any given day. Generally, Islamic prayer is recited or done at least five times during the day. The first prayer is done at dawn, the second prayer is at mid-day, followed by the afternoon prayer, the sunset prayer, and the final night prayer. Most people do their prayers at the privacy and convenience of their own homes. In the case of mass prayers though, some members of the mosques typically call out other people for prayer. It is through this calling that those outside the mosque or church are being called to prayer.
The call to prayer or to the start of prayer like the iqama does not only serve as an announcement to Muslims to join the rest of the community in prayer. The words used in Iqama itself are like mini prayers. Phrases such as “Allah is the Greatest” and “There is no god but Allah” are also devotional messages which could also be part of the religious ritual.