Monday, June 16, 2008

Call to Prayer

Although I am thrilled to be returning to the States, there are a few things I will certainly miss. This is a picture I took from the roof of our building here in the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh. The building you see in front is a mosque. Every morning about sunrise (and 5 times throughout the day) the call to prayer echoes from the top of the spire and from another mosque nearby. I'm really going to miss the beautiful haunting quality of the muezzin's voice as he chants the Arabic invitation, "Make haste towards prayer." (Listen to the adhan here.) Each one has a distinctive voice, and you can often hear two or three voices blending if you are within the sound of several minarets. This has been the start of my day for 8 months now, and it helps me to remember to turn my thoughts toward the Divine each day as I awaken.


lma said...

I live just down the block from our local mosque, and I was quite disappointed to discover that they don't do the call to prayer.

Sure, it might be annoying sometimes early in the morning, but it seems like it would also give a rhythm to the day. And it couldn't be any more annoying than the people who do the yard at the Institute (right across the street from me), when they've got the mowers and leaf blowers going at seven in the morning (and sometimes earlier) every Wednesday.

Also, the carillon bells that ring on the hour just further across the street at the local state university just aren't the same, especially since it is impossible to hear them during the day over traffic.

John (with an h) said...

I watched a documentary on the Hajj once and heard a Call to Prayer so beautiful it brought me to tears. To this day, I don't know what it means or represents except in the most general of terms, but it made a very strong impression on me. It was a tenor, and I remember thinking, "This must be one of the best guys in the world at what he does."

Haven't ever been able to find that footage again.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a Catholic country in Europe, so no call to prayer for me. I do however, remember the beautiful sound of the church bells echoing through the narrow streets, for a mass or for a wedding. I'm living in Utah now, but I do miss those bells. Sometimes I wish a Mormon temple had a bell which could ring for a sealing. :-)

ixoj said...

Maybe you could find an alarm clock that wakes you up each morning with the call to prayer instead of a beep or a buzzer.

brooke said...

oh cripes. one more thing i miss about the middle east. i've only been back for a little over a week now and i miss so so much about it.. and now you reminded me of one other thing - the call to prayer. it must be whacky loud in s.a. it was very loud in east jerusalem, and hebron. i just loved it. oh, i hope i get to hear it next year for longer than 14 days.