Calgary

Mosques broadcast call to prayer over loudspeakers to boost morale during Ramadan

Some Calgary mosques have begun broadcasting a call to prayer over loudspeakers for the first time, to boost morale over Ramadan since large gatherings have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

City approved move that mosques hope will raise spirits during Ramadan despite COVID-19 distancing

Marzouk Souraya, a volunteer muadhin, recites the Islamic call to prayer on Friday outside the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Some Calgary mosques have begun broadcasting a call to prayer over loudspeakers for the first time, to boost morale over Ramadan since large gatherings have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

The Al Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly was the first to do so from its Green Dome location mosque in the northeast last Thursday, soon followed by the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre, the Calgary Southwest Masjid and the Al-Hedaya Islamic Centre of Northeast Calgary.

"May Allah bless the entire city council, bylaw officers, Coun. George Chahal, [Alberta Community and Social Services Minister Rajan] Sawhney and the community. May this COVID-19 disappear and everyone safe again. Thank you for the kindness and consideration. God bless Calgary. Love Calgary. Ramadan Mubarak," the Al Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly tweeted Thursday.

The organizations received permission from the City of Calgary to broadcast the Adhan until the end of Ramadan later this month.

The Muslim holy month is centred around communal prayers and gatherings, which have been mostly cancelled due to physical distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Omar El-Hajjar, president of the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre, said bringing back the religious practice will help raise people's spirits during Ramadan.

"Ramadan is very important to us. It's the month of gathering ... unity [and] giving," he said.

Omar El-Hajjar, president of one of the organizations that have been broadcasting a call to prayer over loudspeakers, Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre, says the initiative is bringing the community together. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

"Because of the pandemic, we're seeing a lot of people losing morale ... so, we decided to go ahead and do the Adhan because it gives that boost ... we're still here, our community is still here."

The Adhan is normally played about five times a day for prayer congregations.

The mosques are broadcasting the call to prayer corresponding with Maghrib, or sunset prayer, signifying to Muslims the time to break their fast.

"It makes people have some dignity, have special comfort, special happiness. It takes them back home," said Imam Jamal Hammoud of the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre, noting that it's common for the Adhan to be broadcast in Muslim-majority countries.

Some people drove in to the mosques to listen from the parking lot, while others listened from their homes or online.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story may have given the misleading impression that the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre was the first in Calgary to broadcast a call to prayer through loudspeakers from a mosque. To clarify, it is among several Calgary mosques that have begun doing so in the past week as the city allowed the move for the first time to keep spirits up during Ramadan.
    May 12, 2020 11:25 AM MT

About the Author

Hala Ghonaim

Reporter/Editor

Hala Ghonaim is a Calgary-based video journalist. She's previously worked in her hometown of London, Ont., as a radio and digital reporter. You can reach her at hala.ghonaim@cbc.ca.

now