Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
As to what follows:
The reality of recorded voices is that they are a narration of the person who spoke those words at an earlier time, so they are not similar to what is being pronounced presently, neither in terms of intention or purpose nor in terms of reality and fact.
Branching from this foundation, it is evident that calling adhan using recorded cassettes is not sufficient due to lack of intention which is the basis of actions as mentioned in Bukhari and Muslim in a hadith reported by Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that:
“The messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Actions are to be judged only by intentions”
This also makes people leave the remembrance of Allah which they are required to do by themselves. Regarding this, in a hadith narrated by Malik Ibn Huwairith, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“And when the stated time for the prayer becomes due, then one of you should pronounce its call (i.e. Adhan)” [Bukhari (819), Muslim (674)]
Accordingly, all the rules regarding the hearing of adhan, replying to it, etc, cannot be enforced on this type of adhan. Furthermore it is not included from what the Prophet (peace be on him) mentioned as praiseworthy in the hadith reported by Abu Saeed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) that the messenger of Allah:
“When you hear the call (to prayer), repeat what the Mu'adhdhin pronounces.” [Bukhari (611), Muslim (383)]
So a reply is only done to adhan approved by shari’ah but if one replies it then he will be rewarded for uttering the dhikr of Allah but will not be given reward for replying to the adhan.
However, there is no harm in using the recorded voices of Muadhins for alerting people without doing away with shari’ah approved adhan, like recordings played at some institutions and departments because it is mere alerting.
And Allah knows best.
Dr. Khalid al-Muslih
27 / 4 / 1428 AH