“I was awake and meditating in my hut, and as the Muslim call for prayer began, I experienced tremendous peace, more bliss than the normal peace that I experienced daily.”
Believe it or not, the above are the words of a Buddhist monk who was taking about the early morning Azan and it resonated with exactly the kind of serenity I (and I suppose, countless other muslims) experienced.
Unlike the other Azans, the early morning or Subuh has the words “the Prayer is better that sleep” and listening to that alone (in Arabic) is sinmply melodic to not only the ears but also to the heart.
The Malay words of “sayup” (Is there an equivalent English word? Not sure, really) is reflective of the feeling. You can be within the vicinity of the mosque or surau, or well away, and yet the words feels as if spoken from a distant.
Like the sound of chirping birds while boxed in a concrete jungle.
Or the sound of cascading waters in a barricade of trees and the thick foliage of a tropical jungle.
It’s the magic of the Azan to invoke such a feeling of peace. The accomplished Bilals (taken from Bilal Ibn Rabah, the Ethiopian former slave?) does wonders to the Azan, loud speakers or not.
One of the many definitive moments in legendary (Tan Sri) P Ramlee's (many) movies was his reciting the Azan in Sumpah Semerah Padi. Controversial as it was (there are differences amongst ulamas as to whether such infusion of melodies is allowed), the Azan was well nigh beautiful.
I am sure you’ve heard of this before, but the timing of the Azan is such that as the world moves on its axis, so too will the call for prayers from one time zone to the other, mere seconds or none apart should the sequencing be perfectly timed.
Imagine the continual wave of serenity that then follows.
Even in the mind’s eye, it’s simply beautiful.