What happens when we hear “the call to prayer”?
In North Africa, the call to prayer sounds over the loudspeaker of every mosque five times a day. The first call tells me I have more time to sleep. The midday call usually finds me in a taxi on my way home from school. With the noise of city life, I rarely notice the calls for afternoon, sunset, and night.
One day on my way home from school, my taxi got stuck in traffic beside a mosque. It was the midday call to prayer of Friday, the Muslim holy day. The faithful flocked to the mosque, prayer rugs tucked under their arms. Outside of the towering building, men spread their rugs and knelt.
An elderly man caught my eye–was it his ardent haste to the mosque? His brow furrowed as he wove through the traffic at the intersection. He wore traditional dress-the robe, the cap, and the prayer rug under his arm.
“!حي على الصلاة”
Today he was answering the call to prayer as he probably had for most of his life.
But what about me? When I hear “the call to prayer” in my own life, do I ignore it? Do I approach my place of worship out of obligation…or devotion?
Maybe it comes down to this: Is prayer doing, being, or both?