Thinking back to where I was the first time I would have heard the call to prayer, it would have been in 1998, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I don’t think I would have had any idea what I was hearing at that time or what on earth to make of it.
Fast forward to Tunis, Tunisia, 2006, I would have heard it again, likely knowing what it was I was hearing at least, but certainly having no appreciation for it. For the next 3 – 4 months of that trip while traveling through North Africa and the Middle East, I would have grown accustomed to hearing it on a very regular basis, but really nothing more than that.
Turkey, 2013, being woken at 5am each morning to the neighbouring mosque’s usual antics, I somehow feel as though I’m right at home. Like I’m back in the saddle. I apparently have grown a huge appreciation for the call to prayer, unbeknownst to me until now. An interesting factoid that I took from the brochure at Istanbul’s Blue Mosque: the call to prayer is supposed to happen when the sun is directly overhead. From there, the day is to be divided evenly such that 5 calls to prayer happen at equal intervals (thus the 5am interruptions). So effectively there are 5 call to prayer “waves” that are perpetually ebbing around the planet, one of which is following the exact same path as the sun. I can’t help but to picture this scenario from a “top down” view of the planet. Perhaps like some sci-fi meteorite impact with 5 never ending, ensuing tsunamis.