Friday prayers interpreted in British sign language. Photo: Muslim Deaf UK
The call to prayer, issued five times in day in cities across the globe, is one of the most beautiful, spiritually uplifting sounds, regardless of whether one is Muslim or not. The sound even inspired Irish Catholic actor Liam Neeson to consider converting to Islam. He describes the sound as “the most beautiful, beautiful thing.”
But many Muslims around the world will never hear the beauty of the call. Although there is no official estimate of the number of deaf Muslims, the World Health Organization estimates that about 275 million people worldwide (Muslim and non-Muslim) have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears. Continue reading →
The second pillar of Islam after the shahadah, or the proclamation of faith, is salah, prayer. This ritual is probably the most well known to non-Muslims. Stories on Islam and Muslims many times include a picture of Muslims praying. Salah is so conspicuous because it includes many physical motions, the culmination of which is complete prostration with the face touching the ground.
Muslims are required to pray 5 times daily. The prayers are spread out throughout the day at dawn, around noon, afternoon, sunset, and in the evening. The daily prayers are suppose to establish the believer’s direct relationship with God. When a Muslim prays, even if the prayer is done in congregation, they are standing in front of God as an individual without any intercession. Continue reading →
Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders did a really fun and enlightening radio program related to Inside Islam last week. It was on Arabic and Islamic influences in American culture. The author of “Al America” Jonathan Curiel joined me live on the air to talk about the roots of Islamic influence in Americana, from the Alamo, to the French Quarter, to the Mississippi Delta, even in popular music. It made us think about doing a program on the Call to Prayer and its influence on secular music – both in the Muslim world and in America.