The Call to Prayer

Muslim daily life is punctuated with five ritual prayersPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not., or salatSalat is the ritual prayer Muslims perform five times daily: at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. While it is preferable to pray in a mosqu. with fellow believers, one may pray alone in any clean place. All Muslims pray in the direction of t.... In the early Muslim community in MadinahThe city of Madinah was originally called Yathrib, a city north of Makkah in western Saudi Arabia. It was renamed “the city of the prophet,” (Madinat al-nabi) after Muhammad and his followers emigrated there in 622 to form the first Muslim community. ..., according to tradition, faithful Muslims would gather around the ProphetA prophet is one who communicates a divine message or vision, sometimes calling people to repentance or awakening, sometimes predicting future events. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all look to Hebrew prophets, including Abraham and Moses. Muslims believe ... MuhammadThe Prophet Muhammad, known as “the Seal of the Prophets,” was born in the city of Makkah on the Arabian peninsula in 570 C.E. At 40, he began to receive a series of revelations from God through the angel Gabriel. His small group of followers met with... without any summons. The Prophet considered using a horn, as did the Jews to call the community to prayers, as well as a wooden gong, as the Eastern Christians did. One of his followers had a vision in a dream, however, in which a man taught him a better way to call people to prayerPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not., saying, in translation:

GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality. is most Great! GodThe term god with a small “g” is used to refer to a deity or class of deities whose power is understood to be circumscribed or localized rather than universal, or to refer to a plurality of deities. is most Great!
God is most Great! God is most Great!
I bear witness that there is no God but AllahAllah is the word for God in Arabic, used by Arabic-speaking Christians, Jews, and Muslims. According to Islam, Allah is the creator and ruler of the entire universe, the ultimate judge of all human beings, characterized by mercy and compassion. By means ....
I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.
I bear witness that Muhammad is the MessengerCalled “Rasul” in Arabic, the messenger is a special type of prophet commissioned to lead a community and often entrusted with a major revelation from God. Moses, Jesus and Muhammad are examples of messengers in Islam. Other prophets (called nabi) int... of Allah.
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
Come to prayer. Come to prayer.
Come to success. Come to success.
God is most Great! God is most Great!
There is no God but Allah.

The Prophet confirmed this dream and appointed Bilal, a freed African slave, to be the first muezzinA muezzin is the one who beckons the faithful to prayer five times each day. The call is issued in a clear voice, often from atop the minaret of a masjid., to use his penetrating voice to sound this call to prayer, the adhanThe adhan, also called azan or the call to prayer, is called out by the muezzin five times each day to all Muslims within hearing distance. Contained in this call is the shahadah, the "witness" to the two fundamental convictions of Muslim religious belie..., from the masjidMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit.... From this time on, for thirteen centuries, the adhan has called the faithful all over the world to perform their five daily prayers. The adhan is a regular reminder of the submission of all of life to God’sGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality. will, and a reminder that life is shaped by prayer.

The adhan is a summons to enter the prayer space, to turn one’s body, mind and spirit toward God. In many predominantly Muslim countries, the call to prayer is broadcast over speakers five times each day from the minaretThe minaret is a tower often built to adorn a mosque, from which the call to prayer may be sounded. of each local masjid. In the United States, most Islamic CentersAn Islamic center will typically include a mosque, school, and area for social and cultural activities. When a new Islamic center is being organized in the United States, attention is paid to community needs, including a weekend or full-time school, indic... and mosquesMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... issue the call from within their buildings to those already gathered for prayer. Others call the adhan publicly before special community gatherings: at the Islamic CenterAn Islamic center will typically include a mosque, school, and area for social and cultural activities. When a new Islamic center is being organized in the United States, attention is paid to community needs, including a weekend or full-time school, indic... of Toledo, the muezzin climbs the spiral staircase of the minaret and issues the call to prayer across the vast Ohio cornfields.

Some American Muslim communities issue the call to prayer on a regular basis. At Dar al-IslamIslam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to..., the call echoes out over the rugged southwestern landscape of New Mexico; at the Muslim Community Center in downtown San Francisco, the muezzin issues the call from the sidewalk on Divisadero Street. Loudspeakers are used to broadcast the adhan from mosques in many parts of the country, such as Atlanta’s Masjid al-Islam and, in the nation’s capital, from the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. on Embassy Row.


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