The call to prayer

20 07 2010

As a child I had always been captivated by the Adhan or the Islamic call to prayer. I would wake up just to listen to it echoing through the relative silence of the dawn with the crowing of cockerels as an accompliment in the welcome to the ligthening day, the voice of the muezzin filling the morning with an air with the distinctive melodic strains of the Adhan, whenever I am in the vicinity of a mosque on the many trips I made to Malaysia as a child. There were occasions when I could help the overlap of calls, reaching out to the faithful from the numerous pointed minarets rising out in the landscape, seemingly in competition with each other. However, the overlap of calls rather than complicate the otherwise sedate air somehow complement each other, ringing out in a surprisingly harmonious mixing of the distinctive voices of the muezzins. The call is made five times a day, calling upon Muslims to turn towards the Ka’aba in prayer, once as day breaks (Subuh), once at noon (Zuhur), once in the mid-afternoon (Asar), once as the sun sets (Maghrib), and the last at night (Isyak). This I guess, is something that we don’t often hear in Singapore. Here the call is not amplified through loudspeakers as it would be across the causeway, save maybe for one that rings out from the Sultan’s Mosque in Kampong Glam area. I am sometimes drawn to the are around the Sultan’s mosque at dusk, just to listen to the call ring out as day turns to night, engulfing the area in a sense of calm. As the strains of the Adhan fills the air, accompanied by the glow of the colours of the sky cast on the golden dome of the mosque, I am transported away from the world for that short moment when life seems to come to a standstill.

Waktu Maghrib at Sultan's Mosque in Singapore




5 responses

21 07 2010


I really envy you for putting up this post.Not many people I knew or in fact never once (non Muslims) love to hear the Azan (Malay spelling).

Let me explain to you as to why the Azan are not being announced as prominently as its supposed to be compared to in other countries (Mlysia/Indonesia & In-Fact In France (Marseille) ) minus the Sultan Mosque.

– Most of the mosque located in S’pore are either smacked in a middle of the housing estate or near to a housing area.Thus it had been deemed as a noise pollution if for the Azan to be announced directly from the minarets of that respective mosque eventhough its only 5x a day.But it was only till recently that this practice was stop.In adherence to Islamic teaching that as a Muslims we are ought to respect other religions within the community & also to learn to give in several aspect that we could.I bet not all people unlike you would love to hear the azan as early as 5+ in the morning,right?

– There are other reason/s as to why the Azan is not being heard as prominently as during the kampung times.Well reason/s that its too sensitive for me to post it here.

Just something out of context…In Islam we believe that if the Azan can no longer be heard from every corners of the world then that will be the beginning of the apocalypse.The Azan is like a hinderance to this particular out of this world bird called the “Balroq” which is believed too caused the end of the world.This bird is continuously finding all kinds of way to escape from its captivity eager to destroy this world
(eg digging holes etc) but upon hearing the Azan it will closed back all the holes or any escape route that it had tried to open for knowing that there are people whom still kneel down to the power of the Almighty.Sounds like something from Narnia or Harry Potter fanstasy right?At first its hard for me to believe that the end of this world would be caused by this bird.But this is the fact stated in Qur’an (our holy book). You are free to ask any of the Ustaz (A Male Muslim Preacher) abt this bird & he will most probaly look at you in awe & wonder where on earth you knew about this…

Hope this will enlightened you as to why the azan is being call 5x a day…

24 07 2010
The wondering wanderer

I think the Azan is beautiful … especially when heard in the backdrop of the break of day or the changing of day to night. I suppose. Thanks for your comments and for enlightening all of us Riz! 🙂

22 07 2010

Actually it is a fallacy that the azan is a noise pollution in housing estate. I’ve lived in kampongs in Indonesia and I don’t remember ever being woken up by the azan. Of course I’ve heard pretty loud ones in Malaysia but that is due to the volume of their loudspeaker.

And seriously what’s wrong with hearing it? At least it sounds soothing. I can tell you when schools sing mari kita during assembly and with the zilch zilch from their PA system, that’s worse! And are not schools located inside housing estate as well?

True racial and religious harmony comes from understanding and appreciation, not by sweeping things under the ‘sensitive’ carpet.

24 07 2010
The wondering wanderer

I agree totally with you on this Icemoon … thanks for your comments! 🙂

24 08 2012

Have been wondering about this..I guess we’ll never know the true answer as to why the azan is not heard of in Singapore unlike our neighbouring countries. I like Riz’s explanation better as it doesn’t make me have bad thoughts, though I want to know what could be too sensitive to post, but I cannot deny Icemoon’s view either 🙂 Thanks a lot wanderer for this post.

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