Roosters and the “Adhan”

October 25, 2011

Because of the climate in the United States regarding Islam these days, some people may find this post discomforting.  However, when we cease to learn from all that is around us, we epitomize ignorance!  I haven’t come all this way to leave ignorant….with that said…

In many countries where chickens are readily found in residences and their yards, the morning greeting of the local Rooster is no surprise.  Across the globe, for those who are up and at it at an early time, it’s as frequent as the sun rise each morning.  Serving as a reminder that this is a Muslim country, sometimes after but often times right before the Rooster calls a unique sound is heard.

if you have some time, click this link for an example (Sheik Ahmad Tijani) and listen to it while you read:

It starts of in the distance with the sound “Allah-u-Akbar, Allah-u-Akbar” in the language of Islam, the caller is saying “God is Great” “God is Great”.  Yet they are saying it in a very melodic manner the most “unique” of melodic manners…in Arabic, the caller says several statements including (I’m summarizing):  “Come to Prayer, Come to Success” “There is but one God” “Prayer is better than sleep” and a litany of other phrases…it is quite beautiful and lasts for several minutes…I am not doing it justice here…but, it sets the complete tone of the day….

Reminiscent of being in West Africa during the Rainy Season where the clouds block out the light from the moon and stars, and there is no secondary light pitching a shadow or a glow….during those months in West Africa you can’t see your hand in front of your face until you adapt.  At night you are not in shadows…you are in the absence of light.  Yet, your other senses are called because in the distance you can hear it…the sound of the drum…as steady, consistent and powerful as your own heartbeat signifies life in your body, that West African drum brings life together.

And so in Tulungagung at 4:30 a.m….in the dark of night…the “Call to Prayer” proceeds.  I get up and head outside to sit, so that I can have the sight that goes along with the feel of this morning.  It is a quaint neighborhood, so all is easy to see.  A Masjid is just down the street.  As I sit here watching, feeling…honing my insight…doors begin to open…people walk into the street…many things catch my eye…but this one in particular stands out.  A man has walked out of his house…he looks as if he had just awakened, most likely washed himself to prepare and headed out to the prayer in moments…walking next to him, but slightly behind him, was his little boy.  His small hand wrapped in Daddy’s hand, the other hand rubbing his eyes…as if he was still fighting sleep and they were both heading to prayer.  By the time 5:00 a.m. came, the streets were busy.  People heading to prayer and also getting their day started.

Out of respect for them, there are no pictures included here.  However, here is a picture of the mosque where the “Adhan” was called from.  Yes, it is dark….it was 5:00 a..m., including it just so you get my drift….

It made me think, for all the discussion that go on about being Christian and having Christian values in the United States, how many communities really pattern every single day based upon their belief.  Not just Sunday…not just Bible Study…but an actual community or in this case…an Umma…of belief.  Anyway, not to spend too much time on that…but the irony SCREAMS!

After getting some coffee, I went for another stroll.  Not to far away, I came up upon the largest Masjid in Tulangagung.  Where after prayer, the Imam gave a short sermon (15-20 min or so)…based upon the translation, none of it had anything to do with the United States (what do you know 🙂  Something else really stood out here though…By the time 7:00 a.m. arrived, the streets were teaming with people.  Women, Men and plenty of children.

There is a park that sits in front of the Masjid and also in front of a local public school and the residence where the Mayor lives.  Hundreds of people were walking in circles…exercising, some jogging, riding bikes, food was being sold, some were exercising the music, others were viewing animals at the petting zoo…no fire, no hatred, no animosity…but plenty of laughs, community interaction…it was family time for the community…

Of course, I could claim that the following picture is a result of my fantastic photographic and photo shop skills…however, truth is…I accidentally breathed all over the lens and was fortunate that the target of the photo still came through 🙂

And of course, we can’t forget the scooters…riding by at the community get-together….if you look close enough, you can see mama and daddy on the scooter, and standing in front of daddy…is the baby with a tiger hat on…. 🙂 family…gotta love it….

of course I am sticking out the entire time like a sore thumb.

All of these people doing their thing, and here I come 6’5” 240…big Black man who is obviously American walking through….they stared at me, the way I would stare at someone, in this case an Asian fella, walking through my yard at 7:00 a.m. in the morning wondering “who in the hell is that?”  and as they stared, I smiled…and they smiled too…”big smiles”….pleasantly and in a very nice manner as if wondering…”who is the “Giant.”

Being in an Islamic state has been quite the experience.  It is amazing to see the intermix of Asian/Indonesian culture with Islam.  Instead of becoming Arabs, these people are deeply tied to their own roots.  While this may surprise many in the States, opponents and proponents alike, who think they know all there is about Islam, it is quite a sight to see and it is beautiful to behold!

Wonderful people…and I am fortunate to have made their acquaintance 🙂

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