When taking a vacation in Turkey, one should be prepared for the mixture of excitement, noise, and confusion during the Islamic “call to prayer” (Adhan or Azan) during the 5 times a day of worship for the Muslims, especially in the large city of Istanbul. Its compelling soul awakening sound is amplified by the skill of the person who is singing/reciting it from high atop one of the many minuets above the mosques. The man honored with this job, the muezzin, climbs the minuet and calls/sings in all directions “hasten to prayer” with his strong melodious voice. Note: Some mosques now use a loud speaker to carry the message; thus, climbing to the top of the minaret is not needed to be done by the muezzin.
Main Purpose: To make an easily intelligible “summary” of Islamic belief and ideals available to everyone.
You will hear this call to prayer at dawn, midday, middle afternoon, after sunset, and at night approximately two hours later. The prayer is the same each time except for the pre-dawn version. One line is added…”Prayer is better than sleep!”
The Turkish people have heard this prayer recited from the time they were born, in their mosques, schools, homes, or on the street and it is an integral part of the Muslim faith
No matter where you are coming from, it is strangely beautiful to hear the dissonant chords and music that is normally unfamiliar to the vacationers’ ears.
Listen to a beautifully moving sample of an Adhan (click YouTube link above).
PS. If you are visiting the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul, you will be able to see for yourself the reverence and respect the call to prayer has for the people. Note: Remember not to take photographs of the people in prayer and also to wear a scarf over head and shoulders.