What is Prayer Call?

Prayer (salah) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Prayers are supposed to be performed five times daily: at dawn (the Salat Ul Fajr), midday/noon (the Salat Ul Zuhr), mid- afternoon (the Salat Ul Asr), sunset (the Salat Ul Magrib), and nightfall (the Salat Ul Isha), and can last up to a half an hour. Prayer call (Adhan) sounds (usually via loudspeaker) from each mosque, and is just what the name says — a summons for Muslims to attend the five daily prayers and the Friday service (which is the main service of the week). The call, which is always delivered in Arabic, but has no fixed melody, may actually be sung by the Muezzin, or may be a recording.

During prayer times, shops and restaurants close; usually you will be allowed to remain in the shop or restaurant, but will not be served during the period of prayer. Often newcomers to the Middle East are startled the first few times they hear the call — particularly the early dawn and nightfall calls — but quickly become accustomed to it.

In Western countries, not all mosques broadcast the prayer call outside the mosque.

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