Q: The Islamic call to prayer blared from mosques is haunting and a bit mysterious to non-Muslims. What’s up with that?

A: Muslims are called to prayer five times a day — before dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset and evening.

The muezzin, a person appointed for the task, gives the “adhan,” or call. Although the words and translations can vary a bit, the call says:

Allah is great, Allah is great

I bear witness that there is no divinity but Allah

I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger

I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger

Hasten to the prayer, hasten to the prayer

Hasten to real success, hasten to real success

Allah is great, Allah is great

There is no divinity but Allah

The call to prayer has been controversial in some countries because some people find it annoying and disruptive.

In Egypt, officials were contemplating linking the mosques in Cairo to a wireless network so the call to prayer would be blared at the same time, instead of an uneven cacaphony.

In Oxford, England, the Central Mosque recently proposed a two-minute call to prayer up to three times a day, evoking protests.

The Bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard, said he supported the idea but the number of daily calls and their volume needed to be resolved, according to The Daily Telegraph.

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