Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Islamic Society
27 Sep 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com
Istanbul’s Azaan: A Sense of Infinite Space

By Swati Chopra

One of the first and lasting impressions of Istanbul — ancient capital of empires — is the call to prayer. It rings out simultaneously at the appointed times from various mosques, old and new, that dot the city. Though the tone and pitch of the voices of the muezzins vary, they share a quality of passionate intensity that inspires a response in all those who hear it. Stepping into the Hagia Sophia’s cavernous central hall, one is filled with a sense of infinite space. The neck arches and the head tilts backwards to take in the expanse of the giant dome that caps the building, as the eye attempts to focus on the wisdom etched in golden calligraphy at its centre. The experience is not unlike that of childhood wonder at the immensity of the night sky studded with innumerable stars. Cocooned in awe, one can easily ignore the milling crowds of tourists and return to an interior space that can feel as vast and deep as the soaring silence of the domed space above. -- Swati Chopra


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