A muezzin (Turkish müezzin from Arabic: مؤذن mu’aḏḏin), or muzim, is a chosen person at the mosque who leads the call (adhan) to Friday service and the five daily prayers (salat) from one of the mosque's minarets (in most modern mosques, electronic amplification aids the muezzins).
The professional muezzin is chosen to serve at the mosque for his good character, voice and skills; however, he is not considered a cleric, but rather comparable to a Christian sexton. When calling to prayer, the muezzin faces the Qiblah (direction of the Ka'bah in Mecca) while he cries out the adhan. During worship, the muezzin in some mosques stands on a special platform (called the müezzin mahfili in Turkish), opposite the minbar and gives responses during the imam's sermon (khutbah).
The institution of muezzin has existed since the time of Muhammad. The first muezzin was Bilal ibn Ribah, who walked the streets to call the believers to come to prayer. Although large parts of the custom remained undecided at the time of Muhammad's death, such as which direction one should choose for the calling, where it should be performed, the use of trumpets, flags and lamps, all elements of the muezzin's role during the adhan.
After minarets became customary, the office of muezzin in cities was sometimes given to a blind person, who could not look down into the inner courts of the citizen's houses and thus could not violate privacy.
The acts of the muezzin are also considered an art form, reflected in the melodious chanting of the adhan. "muezzin", a recently released documentary by Austrian filmmaker Sebastian Brameshuber shows Turkish muezzins competing in an annual nationwide call to prayer competition.
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