So who is the noisy man?

I read somewhere that you know you’re a long-term desert dwelling expat when you stop explaining to people that the weekend here is Friday and Saturday.

In fact, it used to be Thursday and Friday, changing in 2006 after it was deemed that having a weekend halfway into the rest of the world’s working week wasn’t productive.*

Every Friday at noon, Muslims go to the mosque for Friday prayers and the city erupts with noise as the mosques broadcast their sermons on loud speakers. If you’re parked in the vicinity, you’re highly likely to get blocked in as people flock to pray, leaving their cars in every available space, on the pavement, and on the sand.

The call to prayer (azaan) is heard five times every day (seven days a week) and I really enjoy hearing it when we’re out and about. It’s such a part of life in Dubai and always reminds me where we are.

The children here, for whom going back to school on Sunday is perfectly normal, can even be trained to come home when they hear the call to prayer.

“I have to go when I hear the noisy man,” one of BB’s friends told me once during a playdate at our previous villa, located in a compound right opposite a mosque.

“The noisy man?” I enquired. “Ah, of course!” When you live so close to a mosque, it is pretty loud – and the first call to prayer is at sunrise!

But, as I said, I love listening to the echoing song of the iman (and quickly learnt to sleep through the dawn call). You can also hear it in shopping malls, where even if you don’t practice Islam, it’s a signal to think beyond the shopping.

Have a quick listen below!

*As an aside, in several other parts of the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen), the weekend is still Thurs-Fri.

8 thoughts on “So who is the noisy man?

  1. On our last visit to Abu Dhabi, my DD recorded the call to prayer on my camera. When she went back to school here in Ireland her whole class had to watch listen as she explained all about it. My kids don’t realise how lucky they are to have these type of experiences in their childhood! I was surprised how we got so used to the azaan, on the first day it made us stop and watch all the activity, by the end we stopped being such obvious visiting tourists. 😉

  2. Cool, and a little haunting…so, what do people actually do when they hear the call to prayer? Do they go to the nearest mosque, or do they pray wherever they happen to be? I couldn’t tell if any of the people in the mall were rushing off anywhere. There is a mosque in the ‘foreigner area’ (neighborhood) near our house, and it’s surrounded by halal restaurants and shops, but I’ve never been there during a call to prayer. I’ll have to pay closer attention next time I’m there! It will be interesting to see what the Littleboys have to say when they hear it years from now – sounds and smells always evoke such powerful memories.

    • In the malls, there are prayer rooms, separate ones for men and women. I think the sunset call to prayer is the most popular one – sometimes you see people praying by the side of the road. Yes, I wonder what the boys will remember – my DH, who spent quite a bit of his childhood in Kuwait, remembers Thurs&Fri being no school back then!

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