On Satellite Dishes and the Call to Prayer

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The residential landscape in Morocco is characterized by clotheslines and satellite dishes. From my balcony, the satellite dishes are uniform, pointed south. They command the rooftops, calling out to the sky.

IMG_3252Meknés began with sickness. My body purged of energy, I slept the moments in between spells curled on the bathroom floor.

Throughout the morning a rooster crowed from the adjacent building, striking in how its methodic cry seemed to replicate the call to prayer. Then indeed the call from the minaret echoed through the walls of my room, assertive, intentional, melodic. Hasten to worship. It was the weekly holy day, and the people of the city swarmed into the streets.

As I leaned over the concrete railing I was struck by those gathering to worship. Often I have heard western folk describe their thoughts of the Islamic call to prayer as eerie, mysterious, unnerving.

On the contrary, it gave peace to my heart, soothed the worries of my soul. I was struck by the beauty of community, people hustling through the street, carrying mats and cardboard on which to kneel, the public giving of oneself. There is an intentionality of direction in this town. IMG_3260

Unwell, I am lifted by the spirit of the faithful. The prayerful face east, turning their hearts to God. I lean over the balcony and turn my heart in unison.

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