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|Legal vocations and titles|
A muezzin (/( ) /; Turkish: müezzin from Arabic: مؤذن, muʾaḏḏin [muʔaðːɪn]) is the person appointed at a mosque to lead and recite the call to prayer for every event of prayer and worship in the mosque. The mu'addhin's post is an important one, and the community depends on him for an accurate prayer schedule.
The professional mu'addhin is chosen for his good character, voice and skills to serve at the mosque. However, the mu'addhin is not considered a cleric, but in a position comparable to a Christian verger. He is also responsible for keeping the mosque clean and rolling of carpets. He is also responsible for cleaning the toilets and the place where people wash their hands, face and feet before offering the prayer. When calling to prayer, the mu'addhin faces the qiblah, the direction of the Ka'bah in Makkah, while reciting the adhan.
Historically, a mu'addhin would have recited the call to prayer atop the minarets in order to be heard by those around the mosque. Now, mosques often have loudspeakers mounted on the top of the minaret and the mu'addhin will use a microphone, or the mu'addhin recording is played, allowing the call to prayer to be heard at great distances without climbing the minaret.
The institution of the mu'addhin has existed since the time of Muhammad. The first mu'addhin was Bilal ibn Ribah, who walked the streets to call the believers to come to prayer. Although many of the customs associated with the mu'addhin remained undecided at the time of Muhammad's death, including which direction one should choose for the calling, where it should be performed, and the use of trumpets, flags or lamps, all of these are elements of the mu'addhin's role during the adhan.
After minarets became customary at mosques, the office of mu'addhin in cities was sometimes given to a blind man, who could not see down into the inner courtyards of the citizens' houses and thus could not violate privacy. Whether factual or not, the blindness of mu'addhin is claimed as almost universal at certain periods by Jose Saramago in his novel concerning historical epistemology, The History of the Siege of Lisbon.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Muezzin.|