Handling juristic differences needs a great deal of wisdom and vast knowledge. Only one criterion has to be considered with regard to estimating juristic opinions. This criterion is the strength of the evidences a view is based on. Views cannot be considered correct only because they are stated by respectable scholars. Juristic opinions have to be weighed in terms of the evidences they are based on, not the names of those who state them.
Adhan was legislated to inform Muslims of the Prayer times, and it should be done once for every Prayer. On the other hand, Iqamah (a second call to Prayer), which some scholars figuratively call Adhan as well, is given to inform people of the start of the Prayer. The Group (i.e., Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Between every two Adhans [i.e. Adhan and Iqamah] there is a Prayer. Between every two Adhans there is a Prayer. Between every two Adhans there is a Prayer for whoever likes [to pray it].” According to the most preponderant opinion, Adhan was legislated in Medina.
However, it is permissible to make two Adhans for Fajr (dawn) and Friday Prayers. There is nothing wrong in calling the Adhan for Fajr Prayer before the Prayer time to inform people that the Prayer time has approached, so that they can prepare themselves and come to the mosque, as most people may be asleep at this time.
Malik, Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad, and Abu Yusuf (a Hanafi scholar) are of the view that it is permissible to call the Adhan for Fajr Prayer before the Prayer time. According to Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad, and Abu Yusuf, the Adhan can be called during the second half of the night. According to Malik, it can be called during the last sixth of the night.
The second Adhan should be called when the time of Fajr sets in; as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said in a hadith reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, “Bilal calls the Adhan in the night, so eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktum calls the Adhan.”
On the other hand, the Hanafis (with the exception of Abu Yusuf), are of the view that it is not permissible to call the Adhan for Fajr Prayer, except when the Prayer time sets in, as there is no difference between the Fajr Prayer and other Prayers. They quoted the hadith reported by Abu Dawud on the authority of Shaddad, the master of `Iyad ibn `Amir, that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to Bilal, “Do not call the Adhan until the dawn appears clearly to you.” However, the hadith is weak due to the Inqita` (discontinuation of the chain of narrators) between Shaddad and Bilal.
As for the Adhan of Friday Prayer, it was one Adhan in the time of the Prophet, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, and `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them). But when the number of Muslims greatly increased during the time of `Uthman ibn `Affan as a caliph, he introduced the second Adhan.
Al-Bukhari and others reported that As-Sa’ib ibn Yazid said, “In the lifetime of Allah’s Prophet, Abu Bakr, and `Umar, the Adhan for Friday Prayer used to be called after the imam has taken his seat on the pulpit. But, when the people increased in number during the caliphate of `Uthman, he introduced a third Adhan [for Friday Prayer], and it was called at Az-Zawraa’ [a place in the market of Madinah]. In the lifetime of the Prophet, there was only one mu’azzin [the person calling the Adhan].”
This Adhan was called ‘a third Adhan’ in the above-mentioned hadith, because they figuratively used to refer to Iqamah as the second Adhan.
A Muslim has to respect the place in which he lives; hence, if the people are used to announcing one Adhan for Friday and Fajr Prayers, especially with the spread of modern tools such as alarm clocks and software programs that call the Adhan for every Prayer, there is no need to make something contrary to custom and tradition, as long as what they adhere to does not contradict the Islamic Shari`ah. This is to avoid causing any confusion or suspicion among people regarding time of starting fast during Ramadan, time of Friday Prayer, etc.
Allah (exalted and glorified be He) and his honorable Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) urged us to adhere to customs as long as they agree with Islam. Almighty Allah says, (Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.) (Al-A`raf 7:199)
Muslim jurists derived from this honorable verse, other Qur’anic verses, and some hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) the Fiqhi (juristic) rule that reads, “Custom is a determining factor when issuing judgment.”
There is no need to disagree and blame one another for a controversial matter; as the golden Fiqhi rule reads, “There is no rejection or blame in the issues of Ijtihad [personal reasoning concerning religious rulings], provided that disagreement is based on evidence and sound arguments.”
Finally, here are the rulings consequent on calling two Adhans (other than the Iqamah):
1. The time of the fast does not begin with the first Adhan of Fajr Prayer if the Adhan is called before the actual time of Prayer.
2. It is not permissible to pray Fajr Prayer at the time of the first Adhan, as the onset of the Prayer time is one of the conditions of the validity of Prayer.
3. As for the first Adhan of Friday Prayer, the scholars disagreed regarding the prohibition of buying and selling. The majority of scholars, including some Hanafis like At-Tahawi, are of the view that buying and selling are prohibited when the Adhan of Friday Prayer is called after the imam takes his seat on the pulpit. However, the preponderant opinion of the Hanafis is that buying and selling are prohibited when the first Adhan of Jumu`ah Prayer is called. Al-Hasan reported that Imam Abu Hanifah said that the act of buying and selling is prohibited if the first Adhan is called after midday.
4. Also, there is a disagreement between the majority of scholars, on one hand, and the Hanafis, on the other, regarding the obligation of “hastening earnestly,” which is mentioned in Allah’s saying (O you who believe, when the call is made for Prayer on Friday, then hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah and leave off trading; that is better for you, if you know) (Al-Jumu`ah 62:9).
The Hanafis are of the view that it is obligatory to hasten earnestly to the mosque at the first Adhan, while the majority of scholars are of the view that reference is made to the second Adhan.