The Call to Prayer, the Adhaan, is one of the most instantly recognizable Islamic sounds that we might hear in our soundscape today. For Muslims, the Adhaan is a specific call to notify the Islamic community that the time for prayer has arrived. For those who are not trained to respond to it religiously, the experience of listening to the Adhaan can trigger the formation of different interpretations, sometimes in hostile ways, from its original intent. This paper looks at the Adhaan from the perspective of sound and suggests that the voice of the Mu’adhin, who calls for prayer, carries with it the possibility to be perceived in manifold ways. Through the sound of the human voice and its pervasive nature, the Adhaan carries its original message, fusing it with new meanings, and announces it in a way unique to the voice. Guided by philosopher Ariana Cavarero’s conception of the voice and referencing situations in The United States of America where the Adhaan was at the center of controversy, this paper approaches the Adhaan with a focus on the sound of the voice and the relations that it fosters both intentionally and unintentionally.
Adhaan, Journal of sonic studies, Sonic Studies, sound, voice