Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Call to Prayer

Hannah, Bonnie, Alyssa, Danielle: the Roommates of 408

      5x per day the Muslim Call to Prayer is blasted all over Jerusalem. Loudspeakers are positioned over the city and boy is it loud. Really loud. Our professors said eventually we won't hear it just like I can't hear the train behind our house in Vidor, but that ain't happenin yet. It's kinda hard to appreciate it at four in the morning. One line in the prayer says, "Prayer is better than sleep" =). Have you ever heard the Call to Prayer? You tube it--it's quite interesting. The Muslims don't describe it as singing- it's a unique mix between singing/deep chanting. 

4x الله اكبر Allahu Akbar God is the Greatest
2x اشهد ان لا اله الا الله Ash-had al-la ilāha illa llah I testify that there is no God except God
2x اشهد ان محمدا رسول الله Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan-rasūlu llāh I testify that Muhammad is a Messenger of God
2x1 اشهد ان عليا ولي الله Ash-hadu anna Aliya wali-ul-lah I testify that Ali is a Vicegerent of God
2x حي على الصلاة Hayya 'alas-salāh Come to prayer
2x حي على الفلاح Hayya 'alal-falāh Come to success
2x حي على خير العمل Hayya- al Khair al amal The time for the best of deeds has come
2x الله اكبر Allah-u Akbar God is greater than any description
2x لا اله الا الله Lā ilāha illallāh There is no deity except for God

I Dream of Jeanie
      Doing the Call to Prayer is a huge honor passed down thru family lines. Two of the six men working in the Old City came tonight to teach us about it. All Muslims pray 5x a day on a prayer rug, but only when they and the area are clean. So if you've been working in the field, you need to shower before praying. If you're on vacation, you can do 2 prayers at one time so it's not super inconvenient. And of course, no matter where you are, face Mecca. Mecca is where their main prophet Muhammad grew up and is their most holy city. There is an app for the I-phone which rings when it's time to pray and shows believers the direction to face! After that we feasted on a traditional Arab dinner: lots of rice, hummus, pita, chicken, and a bright orange dessert described by Alyssa as, "Macaroni and cheese with sugar". gross. I have a food tasting quota every day, and it was conveniently filled before that dessert appeared on the table. Then we learned a dance! Arabic dancing focuses on the feet and it was alot harder than it looked. I need to write down the steps in my journal to remember!
      Best part about it all? foregoing Wikipedia and experiencing this culture firsthand.

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