silent no more

September 10, 2010

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-prayer-callers-20100902,0,2781388.story

Three times a day, Cairo's 4,500 mosques shout out their calls to prayer, creating a caucophony of sounds that is entirely counterproductive to their purpose of making a spiritual call. The callers, or muezzins, are supposed to begin in unison, but there are now too many in the city to regulate and the Ministry of Religious Endowments is considering broadcasting one singular call over a radio system that connects all of the mosques.

Sound and religion are very closely tied together, especially for the muezzin, who uses his five calls per day to jolt muslims out of their ordinary lives and summon them to prayer. However, the spirituality acheiving power of these holy sounds become lost in the "out-of-tune, rambunctious chorus that…brings anything but serenity." The attempt of the radio system would be to override the "ramshackle clutter of emotion and humanity" and restore spiritual power to the sound itself–the one that rests in silence.

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