Adhaan in Arabic means proclaiming or announcing. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And proclaim [adhdhin] to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage)”
In sharee’ah terminology it means: worshipping Allaah by announcing the time of the obligatory prayer, using phrases that have been narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), in a specific manner.
The fuqaha’ are agreed that the adhaan is one of the unique features and manifest symbols of Islam, but they differ as to the rulings on it. Some say that it is fard kifaayah (a communal obligation); this is the view of Imam Ahmad and was the view favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah; among contemporary scholars it is the view of Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him).
And some said that it is Sunnah mu’akkadah.
The correct view is that it is fard kifaayah; if someone who is competent does it, the rest are absolved of sin.
The evidence for that comes from the Sunnah.
It was narrated that Maalik ibn al-Huwayrith said: we came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when we were young men close in age, and we stayed with him for twenty days. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was merciful and kind; he thought that we were missing our families so he asked us about our families whom we had left behind, then he said, “Go back to your families, and stay with them; teach them and instruct them. When the time for prayer comes, let one of you give the call to prayer and let the oldest of you lead you in prayer.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 602; Muslim, 674).
According to a report narrated by al-Bukhaari, 604: “When you both go out, give the call to prayer (adhaan), then the call immediately before the prayer (iqaamah), then let the older of you lead you in prayer.”
According to a report narrated by al-Tirmidhi (205) and al-Nasaa’i (634): It was narrated that Maalik ibn al-Huwayrith said: I came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with a cousin of mine, and he said, “When you travel, give the call to prayer (adhaan), then the call immediately before the prayer (iqaamah), then let the older of you lead you in prayer.”
(Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 1/230).
This hadeeth indicates that the adhaan is a communal obligation, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined that only one person should give the call to prayer for a group; he did not tell the whole group to give the call to prayer. See Tawdeeh al-Ahkaam, 1/424.
This indicates that giving the call to prayer and praying in congregation are prescribed for travelers. It also shows that it is encouraged always to give the call to prayer, whether one is travelling or not.
Sharh Muslim, 5/175.
The scholars of the Standing Committee said:
The adhaan is fard kifaayah (a communal obligation) in a town, and the same applies to the iqaamah. If a person starts to pray without the adhaan or iqaamah, whether out of forgetfulness or ignorance, or for some other reason, the prayer is still valid.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 6/54
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:
The evidence for them – i.e., the adhaan and iqaamah – being obligatory is the command of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in a number of ahaadeeth, and the fact that he always did that whether he was travelling or not, and because the time of prayer cannot usually be known without it, and because it serves a purpose and because it is one of the manifest symbols of Islam.
Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/38
Based on the fact that the adhaan is fard kifaayah, if the adhaan is given in a town and the people can hear it, then the communal obligation has been discharged and there is no need to give the adhaan for every congregation. But it is better and preferable to give the adhaan even if a person is praying alone.
The Standing Committee was asked:
Is it obligatory to give the adhaan over loudspeakers in every mosque in every neighbourhood, knowing that the adhaan from one mosque can be heard by all the Muslims? Or is the adhaan from one mosque sufficient for all the mosques of the neighbourhood?
The answer was: The adhaan is fard kifaayah, so if a muezzin gives the adhaan in one neighbourhood and all the residents can hear it, that is sufficient. But it is prescribed for the people of each mosque to give the adhaan because of the general meaning of the evidence.
Based on this, it is preferable for you to give the adhaan, although that is not obligatory for you.
And Allaah knows best.