Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday I'm in love...

...with the Adhan.

The Adhan is the Muslim call to prayer. If you're like me and you've never been to a Muslim country, you've probably heard parts of it on TV, but you've never really just sat down and listened to it. It's beautiful. (I'm talking about the aesthetic experience -- this isn't a post defending or attacking Islam, so don't bother going there.) The Adhan is usually referred to as "recited," and I'd always thought it was just shouted, but essentially it's sung, and each muezzin has his own style.

The website How Muslims Pray has a collection of 17 recordings (MP3s) of famous muezzins reciting the Adhan.

The whole set is well worth downloading and listening too at leisure, but here are three of my favorites if that's too much for you.

My favorite is Abdul-Basit. His recitation sounds haunting and lonely to me. The long pauses between phrases take on a special power.
Adhan Halab comes across as urgent and passionate.
Bakir Bash I find powerful and virile. (I guess he was recorded outdoors, because there are birds going crazy in the background.)

These are the words of the call (copied from How Muslims Pray):
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
[God is the greatest, God is the greatest]
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
[God is the greatest, God is the greatest]
Ashadu an la ilaha ill Allah
[I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but God]
Ashadu an la ilaha ill Allah
[I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but God]
Ashadu anna Muhammadan rasoolullah
[I bear witness that Muhammad is the prophet of God]
Ashadu anna Muhammadan rasoolullah
[I bear witness that Muhammad is the prophet of God]
Hayya'alas salah [Come to prayer,]
Hayya'alas salah [Come to prayer,]
Hayya'alal falah [Come to success,]
Hayya'alal falah [Come to success,]
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
[God is the greatest, God is the greatest]
La ilaha ill Allah
[There is no deity but God.]

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