Updated: May 22
The call to prayer, also known as Adhan, can be heard throughout the streets of Istanbul. It's a sound that I find fascinating and irresistible; it just makes me want to stay in this city for more than my allotted time here. Yes, there are so many things about Turkey that captivate people like myself who have traveled extensively around the world: its architecture is awe-inspiring at every turn you take - from ancient Roman ruins found on side roads near Ephesus or Urfa (Edessa) all the way back up north into Ankara where Ottoman palaces still stand tall beside modern skyscrapers with not one but two mosques across town! Yet nothing has ever moved me quite like hearing those five short daily prayers.
It is the universal call for prayer. Muslims all over the world, every day to come together and offer their worship as one ummah (community).
The Adhan is a Muslim Call To Prayer that should be followed by five daily prayers each lasting about 20-30 minutes long in Arabic.
Five times a day the muezzin would summon Muslims to worship and the sound beamed from the minaret high above the mosque. At first, the sound was shocking until it became a normal part of the day. Being a kid growing up in Libya I called it the sound of the wounded moose. Today, it’s a melodic sound placing me directly back on the marble floors playing with my hot wheels.
What is Adhan? In Arabic, the word ‘Athan’ is to call or to inform. Religiously, it is a call made to inform people that the time of the prayer has begun. It is obligatory for the congregation in the mosque while for individuals praying alone at home, for example, it is a highly preferred act. It begins by proclaiming the greatness and oneness of Allah and the denial of disbelief and polytheism, testifying to the messengers of Muhammad and then calling to a prosperity which is everlasting, pointing to the return to Allah.
The ‘Iqamah’ is the second and final Call to Prayer and is uttered immediately before the beginning of the obligatory prayer indicating that it is actually time to perform the prayer.
The sound of Adhan was the first thing I heard in Istanbul. It took me a second to recognize it, but as soon as those familiar words echoed through the street and across my ears, an immense sense of joy swept over me like a tidal wave before crashing into shoreline rocks. Funny how that feels every time - no matter where on earth I am or what country my feet may roam- when I hear this call to prayer, I'm taken directly back to my childhood.
Destination: Istanbul Turkey