Call to Prayer With Mr. Gurer
On Tuesday evening, February 28th, we went to the Lakewood Library on Detroit Avenue to hear our good friend Mr. Murat Gurer from the Turkish American Association of Cleveland & the Turkish Cultural Center conduct a program in the auditorium regarding the "Call to Prayer" in the Islamic tradition.
Aslide that he displayed indicated that the Call to Prayer in all faiths could be defined as "a signal to members of the religion indicating that it is time to engage in a scheduled prayer ritual." Thus in the Christian religion the Call to Prayer is in the form of church bells; in the Jewish faith it is the Barechu; and for Muslims it is the Adhan.
Mr. Gurer told us how this is done in his homeland of Turkey: a Muzzein (who assists the Iman) performs the Call to Prayer, which lasts three to five minutes, from the minaret (tall tower) of a Mosque nowadays making use of loudspeakers. It is recommended that the Muzzein have a beautiful voice and all Calls (and the Prayers themselves) must be in the Arabic language no matter what country they are conducted in.
An English translation of the Call to Prayer is:
God is the Greatest
I bear Witness that there is no God but God
I bear Witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God
Come to the Prayer
Come to Deliverance
God is the Greatest
There is no God but God
Thus the significance of the Call to Prayer/Adhan is that it is can be regarded as an invitation to salvation, an expression of the morality of the Muslims, and a call for unity. On the latter point, a Muslim is allowed to pray by herself/himself but it is considered better to pray as part of a group.
We also learned that Muslims pray five times during the day. As a slide read, "each prayer is given a certain prescribed time during which it must be performed...calculated mathematically." For instance, in the morning the call, itself, occurs before sunrise at approximately 5:50am so that the Muslim has until the sun comes up at 7:10am to pray.
Approximately 33 people came to the Lakewood Library to listen to the presentation so Mr. Gurer engaged us all in a community discussion and constantly took and enthusiastically answered questions about the Muslim faith and about Turkey.
Among the things that we learned were:
***Even though technology (loudspeakers or even an app can be downloaded onto one's phone) is allowed to play a part in the Call to Prayer, it must be done live and not pre-recorded.
***Jesus is highly regarded in the Islamic faith as a prophet as his mother, Mary, who is the only woman to appear in the Koran.
***The Call to Prayer is so respected in Muslim countries that when it occurs people turn down the music that they might be playing in order that it might be heard by all.
***In the Islamic tradition, children are not forced in engage in prayer until puberty but they can accompany their families to the Mosque which is usually a fun place for them to go.
***Once years ago in Turkey, there was a military coo and the officials who took over banned the Call to Prayer as well as the Prayer, itself, from being done in Arabic which troubled many people. Not surprisingly, the next Prime Minister restored the tradition of them being conducted in Arabic.
***Women are highly regarded an treated as equals of men in the Muslim faith. The reason that they pray separately from the men is because their dresses might get pulled up as they kneel thereby creating a distraction.
In addition, Mr. Gurer reviewed the "Pillars of Islam" which are prayer, charity, fasting during designated times such as Ramadan, a Pilgrimage to Mecca if one is financially and physically able to do so, and to offer verbal testimony to the belief that there is no God but God and Muhammad is the Messenger.
It seemed that the audience in the auditorium was composed of all faiths so we are pleased to write that we believed that everyone there seemed very open and accepting to Mr. Gurer and what he was saying and he, in turn, was open and accepting to their questions as well as to them.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC