carnegie logo

Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next »

EGYPT: A more harmonious call to prayer for Ramadan

Muezzin The call to prayer in Egypt can be lulling, but with voices of muezzins crackling from loudspeakers in thousands of minarets it can also be staccato and unnerving. The clamor is expected to soften for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan as the Egyptian government emphasizes harmony.  

 Al-Ahram Weekly reports the following:

For more than 13 decades, the call to prayer has begun five times a day via microphones attached to Egypt's mosques. Many of [the] muezzins [the person who recites the azan or calls to prayer] have imperfect voices thus creating a citywide cacophony while reciting the azan. Although each of the five prayers has a certain time at which the call to prayer should start, the calls are not usually synchronised. All this will soon come to an end after Minister of Endowment Hamdi Zaqzouq's decision to unify the azan and end the general state of dissonance.

“Zaqzouq declared a few weeks ago that the call to prayer in Cairo's 4,500 mosques would be unified by the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, which will start on 11 August. Alexandria will be the first to apply the new system after Cairo, along with other governorates that will work with the new system soon after its success is proven. "We have finished testing the new system, which will put an end to the war of the microphones and the current chaos," Zaqzouq stated.

Read the whole story here.

-- Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo

Photo: Muezzin calling into his microphone. Credit: Al-Ahram Weekly

Comments () | Archives (4)

This is the best decision to come out of this government in a very long time. The unsynchronized call to prayer is a nuisance!

Egyptian people should also practice more of their ancient past rituals, way past a more recent rituals to give them a equilibrium, they're a second oldest country in the world after all!

Nice to see that the Egyptian government has solved all other problems and now has the time and money to tell Mosques how to conduct their business.

This is a tragedy. The unsynchronized call to prayer in alexandria is one of the most beautiful things i have ever heard. It's the natural, bizarre harmonies of the different azans and muezzin that make it so incredible and mesmerizing. synchronizing will take much of the beauty out of it. A real loss for a still-beautiful part of islamic culture. A win for egyptian bulls**t beaurocrats who can't get anything else done, so they flex their muscles any way they can.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Recent News
Introducing World Now |  September 23, 2011, 8:48 am »



About the Contributors