Suitcase and World: Call to Prayer.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Call to Prayer.

One unique experience when traveling to a Muslim country is hearing the daily adhan otherwise referred to in English as "the call to prayer".  Even though I was born and grew up, at least for a few years of my life, in a Muslim country, I never paid the adhan much attention until my recent travels.

In "olden" days, the muezzin would do the calls from the minaret by raising his hands to his ears and shouting out the call.  Almost like a town crier would read out a proclamation.

These days, loudspeakers are installed so no need for the muezzin to shout out the call.

Loudspeakers or not, there is no escaping the call, especially if you have several mosques located nearby each other.  Depending on the muezzin, the call can be very melodic to the ears or it can be something that makes you feel uncomfortable listening to.  My favorite call is the one I heard each afternoon in the area around the Aya Sophia and Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.  I felt like I was listening to a singing duo.

If I have the opportunity to just stop what I'm doing and listen to the adhan, I do.  On Christmas day, I heard the call and immediately ran up to the rooftop of Dar Sienna to capture the moment on video. 

The times for the call to prayer are prescribed for each city and country and it varies by day, month, and year.  I shot the above video on Christmas and based on the  December 2011 call schedule for Fez, it was the 2:59pm adhan.  It looks like the start time gets later each day.  I'm guessing because days are getting longer?

Each country has its own unique version and because more than 90 percent of Moroccans are Suunis, it is the Suuni version that is called out five times every day.

Like the Christian Lord's Prayer, the words of the Adhan are the same for each country's version of the call to prayer.  Each phrase is repeated a set number of times. 

Here are the words for Suuni adhan.  The numbers in parentheses indicated the number of times the phrase is repeated.