Friday, November 16, 2012

Question: "Is the Call to Prayer like a Siren?"

asked Cute Ken With Dimples, friend of the original Darling Dimples:
 
Answer:
Yes.  Sort of.  In that Adhan (Call to Prayer) is broadcast through speakers set high above the city to assure everyone hears and has opportunity to react in an appropriate manner.
 
And No.  In that a siren is discordant and designed to annoy, while Adhan is a warm, melodious, inviting sound.  Listen for yourself:
 
Adhan for Maghrib (evening prayers) near Bob's job site (ie, that skyline full of cranes)
 
This is what you're hearing:
 
Allahu Akhbar (4 times)                                                   Allah is Most Great
Ash-had an la ilaha ill-Allah (2 times)                             I bear witness that there is none
                                                                                              worthy of being worshipped except Allah
Ash hadu anna Muhammad ar-Rasoolullah (2 times)      I bear witness that Muhammad is the
                                                                                             Apostle of Allah
Hayya 'alas-Salah (2 times)                                              Come to prayer
Hayya 'alal-falah (2 times)                                                Come to success
Allahu Akhbar (2 times)                                                    Allah is Most Great
La ilaha illallah                                                                  There is no deity except Allah
 
With one exception, this is the very Adhan recited throughout the world 5 times every day: before dawn (Fajr), at noon (Dhuhr), afternoon (Asr), sunset (Maghrib) and nightfall (Isha).  Because prayer times are determined by the sun and not by the clock, the moment of prayer changes from day to day, location to location.
 
The exception:
 
This phrase is added after "Hayya 'alal-falah" (Come to success) in the first Adhan (which can occur as early as 3am):
 
As-salatu khairum minannaum (2 times)                             Prayer is better than sleep
 
Once upon a time, the muezzin climbed into the top of the minaret to complete the Adhan.  Today, he stands at a microphone inside the mosque to perform this sacred duty. His voice is broadcast to the community via speakers set high in the minaret.
 
Mshiereb Minaret at night
 
Minaret at the Pearl's mosque - hmmm
 
Gold mosque and minaret at Katara
 
There's a second call that occurs a short time after the first: the Iqamah.  Directed toward faithful inside the mosque, the Iqamah is recited quickly and with less intonation, and includes this line after "Hayya 'alal-falah" (Come to success):
 
Qad Qama Tis-salah                                                              Stand for Prayer
 
The Adhan isn't limited to the muezzin or the minaret.  I've heard it broadcast inside the mall, through my tv, coming out of a group standing on a boat, from a man alone under a tree.
 
"…the Prophet said,…whenever you want to pronounce (Adhan) for the prayer, raise your voice in doing so, for whoever hears the (Adhan), whether a human being, a jinn or any other creature, will be witness for you on the Day of Resurrection…"
 
Prayerful, warm, inviting, sacred. Musical - but not music.  I like it.
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