Sunday, July 6, 2008

Muslim Prayers

My mother really wanted me to post something regarding the Muslim prayers that happen multiple times a day. I had to look it up on Google after we got off the phone because I had no idea what to say, I just knew I find the call to prayers really peaceful and soothing. Now, I don't know the percentages, but it doesn't seem that most Turks are Muslim. The Turkish government is secular as well.

This website has really good instructions on how to perform Islamic prayers. What I have been hearing is the Athan or the call to prayers. There are set words to the Athan which can be read on the above website. At around 8pm and 10pm, you can hear the Athans. It breaks the hum of the city, and for a few moments you seem to forget about everything from your day. I don't know if that is the purpose, to clear your mind in preparation for prayer, but it seems to have that effect on me.

I first heard the Athan in Istanbul. I had been traveling for about 20 straight hours and was pretty exhausted. I had just eaten dinner and had sat down in front of my computer to call home. The Athan started coming over the loudspeakers (I don't know where they are located), but a feeling of calm washed over me, and it was the beginning of a great night.

As I am writing this, I am listening to the evening Athan. It is about 10:15pm, so they do occur rather late. Here in Turkey, everything happens later than in the states. Since it is so hot during the day, everything gets shifted slightly.

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