A Yabanci’s Understanding of the Ezan: The Call to Prayer
photo by shapeshift

One of the many characteristics of Turkey’s cultural identity and history thrives in its religious composition.  A land whose history consisted of the Ancient Greek religions, to the birth and foundation of Christendom, alongside Judaism, and the establishment of an Islamic Empire, this land is rich in spiritual identity.

Today, Turkey is mainly a Muslim, having the most mosques per capita within any Muslim dominated country.  Thus, anyone who has been to Turkey has experienced the blaring voice of the ezan (adhan in Arabic), which is announced by a muezzin five times a day, proclaiming the unity of God, and to another extent, the unity of the nation.

Whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or even atheist, the ezan can be seen as not only a religious call to prayer, but a social call to prayer.  In that, as a nation, as a world, we are all one, and that we must not forget that we’re all connected and should remind ourselves to build a world that cares for others.  Whether believed to be God, nature, or science, there is no wrong in giving thanks and remembering that we are only a small speck in the grand vastness of the universe.

As someone who comes from a non-Muslim background, I felt it important to know what the ezan meant, and also, give it meaning to someone who is not of the same faith.  By no means am I deeply religious, or pandering faiths, but I think it’s important to see how different societies understand their place in the world and how their viewpoint can positively affect ours.

Thus, I hope this brings a more clear and fresh understanding to what the ezan can mean to a yabanci.

Allah is greater than any description
-Allah (God) is the greatest.  For agnostics or atheists, the comprehension of life can simply be life itself.  There is nothing greater than existing.  Descartes stated the timeless phrase “I think, therefore I am.”  Whatever gave us that capability has to be great.

I testify that there is no deity except for Allah
-Allah (God) in the Islamic faith, as with many other faiths, believes God to be something that exists in everything.  An Islam tradition, especially with Sufism, which is closely knit within the Turkish identity, has a strong belief in unitary nature, believing that all things are an aspect of God itself.  Even though Buddhism or Taoism doesn’t focus on a particular God, they aim to achieve a oneness with the all things.

I testify that Muhammad is a Messenger of Allah
-This of course does not have to be believed by everyone.  Coming from a non-Muslim background, I can simply understand it as a great man who brought spiritual and global awareness to the world.

Make haste towards the prayer
-Pray, meditate, take time to concentrate and be thankful for the life we have, no matter how difficult our situations may be.

Make haste towards success
-Strive towards excellence.  Always remember to do your best.

Allah is the greatest!
-An understanding of a creator is the source of all things.

There is no deity except for Allah
-No matter what your belief system is, even if atheist, there is a focal point to your orientation of the world.  Even if only love, there is nothing greater than that.

Meet the author


A former producer for MTV Networks and Nickelodeon, I'm a freelance writer, producer, and videographer under my company, Crescent Street Films, LLC. (www.csfilms.org).  By utilizing my strengths in the entertainment industry, I write and produce in order to build a transglobal film and internet community.  As a child, I watched films and listened to music from all over the world, and have a deep love of the Mediterranean and the East.  I hope you enjoy the words I write, as I share my diverse influences with viewers, building bridges of understanding and peace.