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  • I miss hearing the call to prayer five times a day. Sometimes it is an ache inside of me. I made the mistake of mentioning this to some acquaintances who have never lived in a Muslim country. They began talking about how annoying it would be to hear the Arabic quiver in the voice as it calls the faithful to come worship. They couldn’t understand.

    But it becomes part of your rhythm. You learn to know that it’s lunchtime or that siang has become sorai because those words are vibrating through your ears and your heartbeat and your walls. All of life slows down for a moment and you watch with curious appreciation, having come from a world that never slows. And strangely it becomes familiar.

    On the nights of little sleep, I would move to bed around dawn and often become aware of the imam chanting, softly but gradually more clear. That was my favorite of the five times because it would carry me to sleep. Because the world was still and listening. Because life didn't need to slow down yet as it wouldn't begin until the final note died away. It was the rhythm of a lives lived by the beat of the call to prayer.

    (Photo from the Masjid Raya Batam, the mosque where I lived)
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