Several times a day it happens. The first is before the sun comes up. Then a few more times throughout the day, the sound breaks the constant clamor of the traffic and other sounds on the street. Eerie. Haunting. Beautiful.
Hearing multiple adhans is an experience that touches the soul and stays in the mind. In Cairo, the evening that we were aboard the felucca, prayer time came and the call went out from a thousand minarets. As we floated on the river, the cacophony of voices reverberated off the buildings and water, back and forth across the river, all around us, echoing and replying in what seemed an endless wave of sounds. Near, far, faint, loud, bold, quivering -- in every possible tone, the call sounded. The sound was so spectacular, we stopped mid-conversation and had to listen. We were spellbound. It is an experience I will not forget.
I've been thinking a lot about this adhan - this call to prayer -- being in this part of the world, it's hard to ignore. I'm not converting to Islam anytime soon, but I like the public call to prayer. My own faith does not have this prevalent a reminder to turn my thoughts to God. The closest we get is a church that may ring its bells on Sunday morning. Other than that uncommon occurrence, there is no obvious admonition broadcast publicly. Even though the adhan is not calling from my religion, it reminds me to thank God for the things He has done for me - every day, many times a day.
I'm leaving the predominantly Islamic world, so I won't be hearing the call to prayer anymore. I'll have to find something new and tangible that will remind me to talk to God. I always mean to pray, but I forget. Maybe I should pick up some prayer beads before I leave....