Skip to main content

Learn how to sign the Islamic call to prayer

First suggested by Muslim Scout Fellowship
Explore a visual form of communication, as you learn the Islamic call to prayer in British Sign Language.

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Access to the internet
  • A device to play YouTube videos for the whole group to see

Before you begin 

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely. 
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.
  • You might want to watch the video before the session, to familiarise yourself with the signs, so you can support your group. 
  • Although this activity is tailored for predominantly Muslim Scout Groups, all groups are welcome to take part. You can find more information about the call to prayer on this page, and you could find out a bit more about Islam first, with our Exploring the five pillars activity.  

To watch in full screen, double click the video


Setting up the activity 

  • Set up your meeting place with the video ready to play, so that the whole group will be able to see clearly.  If you’ve got a large group or a small screen, you could try to have more than one device, or do this activity with one smaller group at a time.  

Introducing this activity  

The Islamic call to prayer

  1. Explain that one of the Scouts values is beliefs. Scouts always respect people’s beliefs, faiths and cultures, and everyone should be open to learn. 
  2. Ask everyone why it’s important for people to learn about each other's faiths and beliefs, even if we don’t have a faith ourselves.  

It can help us understand, respect and relate to others, and it also gives us opportunity to reflect on our own personal beliefs and values. 

  1. Explain to everyone that in this activity they’ll be learning more about Islam and, specifically, the Islamic call to prayer. 
  2. Everyone should talk about the Islamic call for prayer.  What do they know about it? What is its purpose?
  3. Explain that the Islamic call to prayer is called the adhan. It’s one of the most recognisable elements of Islamic culture, announcing that it’s time for prayer.  It’s often heard five times a day, from mosques around the world This is traditionally done from a tall tower called the minaret.   
  • The adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, is one of the most recognisable elements of Islamic culture.  
  • It’s the call you’ll hear five times a day, from mosques around the world, announcing that it’s time for prayer. This is traditionally done from a tall tower called the minaret.
  • Muslims all around the world pray five times a day, at specific times.  This is one of The Five Pillars of Islam, called Salah.  
    • Prayer is important as it allows Muslims to communicate with Allah.
    • Before praying, Muslims wash their face, arms, head and feet, in a ritual called Wudu.
    • Muslims face in the direction of the holy city of Makkah (often spelt Mecca) to pray. This is called Qibla in Arabic. 
    • They also set their intentions before they pray.  
    • Muslims follow set prayer positions, including bowing and kneeling in a particular way and in a particular order.
  • The words of the call to prayer have stayed the same since the time of Prophet Muhammad.


 Communicating with everyone

  1. Ask everyone how would someone access the call to prayer if they had hearing loss?  How could it be communicated in an accessible way? They might suggest a TV broadcast with the call to prayer communicated in sign language or with subtitles.  
  2. Explain that sign language is a visual means of communication. It’s used by some people who have hearing loss. The most common form of sign language in the UK is British Sign Language or BSL. BSL has its own grammatical structure and syntax. As a language, it isn’t dependent on or strongly related to spoken English. 
  3. Tell everyone that in 2003, the UK government recognised BSL as its own language. In 2022, it became recognised legally as an official language in England and Wales. BSL is the preferred language of around 145,000 people within the UK. 
  4. Explain that other countries have their own sign languages too, including American sign language or Arabic sign languages, such as Saudi Sign Language in Saudi Arabia.  

Learn the signs 

  1. Watch the video together and learn the signs. You might want to watch the whole video to start with, and then watch again, pausing after each phrase. 

Remember to learn the sign language using the video, rather than asking volunteers to teach the group, as you usually need to have a minimum of a Level 3 or 4 Certificate in British Sign Language to teach others.  

  1. If you can’t watch the video at your meeting place, you may want to see if anyone in your local community would be willing to come in and teach your group instead. 
  2. Once you’ve practiced, see what signs you can remember.  


This activity got us to think about languages and how people who are hearing impaired might communicate. Can you think of any other ways people might communicate? 

An important part of both our Scout values and the Muslim faith, is treating people with kindness and respect, and helping each other. How can we support everyone to be included and feel welcome at Scouts? How can we support people who communicate in different ways?  How can we help remove barriers and build connections within our communities?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Electrical equipment

Inspect cables for any damage before each use. A responsible adult should supervise people using equipment, and people should follow instructions on how to use them correctly and safely. They should be properly maintained and stored. Be extra cautious of trailing cables and water when using electric equipment.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe. Take a look at our online safety or bullying guidance. The NSPCC offers more advice and guidance, too. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection CommandAs always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare, including their online experiences, follow the Yellow Card to make a report.

To make this easier, you could split everyone into groups, with each group learning one phrase. Then everyone can come back as a whole group and put what they’ve learned all together.  

You could learn some vocabulary about Islam instead, such as the Islamic greeting As’salamu Alakium which means ‘peace be upon you’.  You can learn some signs in this BSL Signs for Islam video from the National Deaf Children’s Society. 

Your group can go as quickly or as slowly as everyone needs to when learning the signs for the call to prayer.  

If anyone has hearing loss, uses BSL or has a hearing impairment, or has a close friend or family member who does, you might want to chat to them, alongside a parent or carer, before you do this activity and make any adjustments, so they feel comfortable joining in.  

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

  • You could learn more words or phrases in British Sign Language. Try introducing yourself with Sign with me or practise finger spelling with Silent sprint. 
  • You could learn some more vocabulary around Islam in this BSL Signs for Islam video from the National Deaf Children’s Society.