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EGYPT: A more harmonious call to prayer for Ramadan

August 1, 2010 |  8:22 am

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