Time travel and the adaan

Legend goes the mosque in Shali town, in the Siwa oasis, was the last to use a live adaan. Now, they’re all voice recordings that vary with every mosque.

Sometimes, I love it. I love it when I’m up working late and I hear the fajrthe call at morning light. Cairo is so still, you can hear the mosques starting up within seconds of each other, the call rolling like waves across the sleeping city. In my street in Roxy, I look out to see a few old men, past the age of sleeping, who walk silently to the mosque, and gather to talk in the street afterwards, white gellibayas fluttering with a little breeze, prayer beads in knotted hands.

Sometimes hearing the fajr fills me with despair – it means I stayed up too late again and I’ll pay later, when I’m yawning all day.

I’ve just about reverted back to Australian working hours. Sydney comes online at about 12 midnight here, and finishes around 9am, so I find myself staying up later and later as I chat with editors, getting an instant response to questions that could otherwise take a couple of days. On the positive side, when I do eventually go home, at least I won’t have to readapt…

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

One thought on “Time travel and the adaan

  1. Belle, do you know how it is "adaan" in calssical arabic ?!! it is " athaan " but " th " you have to say it like "the" in english. Well, yes you are absoultly right, it is "adaan" in our egyptian accent. Hope this will help you to improve your arabic. But you are amazing to know such words and to know for what they are standing for. Bravo 3lyky! 🙂

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