The adhan in America: 50 mosques, 50 states

The adhan in America: 50 mosques, 50 states
(Wednesday, April 29, 2015) 09:17

When living in Saudi Arabia we take it for granted, the call to prayer. Echoing through the sky, the adhan drifts up from the minarets of mosques in every neighborhood, one chiming only a fraction of a second after the other to create the most melodious sound I ever heard. God is the greatest; God is the greatest.

The adhan is the call to prayer for Muslims; to remind and invite worshipers to abandon whatever is consuming their time and thoughts, and for brief moments, to leave everything else, and pray. Before each of the five daily prayers, the call to prayer is sounded from every mosque on the face of the Earth.

The words of the adhan are:

God is the Greatest. God is the Greatest.

God is the Greatest. God is the Greatest.

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.

Come to prayer. Come to prayer.

Come to success. Come to success.

God is the Greatest. God is the Greatest.

There is no God but Allah.

Yes, in the prayer there is success, peace of mind, and a communion with God.

The Muslim prayer may look different or odd to people of other faiths, but it is just that: prayer, a connection with the Lord. So much confusion surrounds Muslims living in the West; the prayer, the hijab, fasting, and other rituals that are not understood by the average person.

To bridge the gaps and to counteract the negative images associated with Muslims, one man has embarked on a spiritual journey across the United States. He is traveling to each of the 50 states, to make the adhan (call to prayer) in a mosque in each of the 50 US states.

Jameel Syed is the regular muaddhin (the one who calls to prayer) at the mosque where he lives, in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He set off on his journey on April 3rd, 2015, to be the first muaddhin in history to recite the call to prayer in all 50 states across the US.

The goal of this project is to help educate the public about Islam. He aims to reclaim the American Muslim narrative and give mosques the opportunity to deliver a positive message, to tell the world what being a Muslim is really all about. In each state, at the mosques he stops at, Jameel Syed will also deliver the same speech that was the last speech Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made to the Muslims before his death. To Syed, the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most eloquent speech ever delivered in the history of humanity. It reminded Muslims of the importance of the prayer, racial equality, treating women fairly, peace, and trust.

Born in the US to immigrants from Pakistan, Syed grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan where his father was a university professor. He first learned and tried out the call to the payer when he was 11 years old and he has been, with his hands held behind his ears and passion in his voice, reciting it and loving it ever since.

“There’s a science to this. The adhan has to have the power to pull the strings of the heart. It’s designed to. You’re drawn to it,” Syed said to the Detroit Free Press.

As for how the whole idea started, Syed said to the worshipers at the mosque where he first started his journey in Farmington Hills, Michigan, “We’re living in a world where Muslims are being demonized. We have a pretty bad rap around the entire global community. There are several Muslim American groups who are putting efforts into saying who they are not: We’re not Daesh (so-called IS). We’re not terrorists. We’re not radical. We’re not extremists.

You’re always playing defense. You’re always on your heels. I would rather spend my time telling people who I am. I want to show that Muslims can be beautiful people.”

On day 3 of his journey, Syed stopped at the mosque in Kansas City, Missouri.

The youth coordinator at the mosque, Amiin Ali, said, “Our message to the world is that Islam is not a violent religion. Islam is a peaceful religion that makes the society better. At our mosque we hold prayers, provide financial assistance to those in need, serve food to the needy, offer religious classes, and hold youth programs. We are out there helping the local communities, and we have a great relationship with our Christian neighbors.”

“Every mosque across the US deserves the chance to be able to tell its story, and that is why we are doing this project, for these voices to be heard. We want the people to see what these mosques are doing for their communities, so that they too can replicate and spread the goodness,” Syed said.

Starting from Michigan, Syed will stop at Islamic centers in every state, and will also be visiting famous landmarks like the Grand Canyon. The 35-day road trip will include occasional flights to reach states like Hawaii, and will end May 8 back again at his home state, Michigan.

Road trips are part of a deeply rooted American tradition, but Syed gave it a spiritual twist, for him it is a spiritual journey to gain the pleasure of Allah. America is home to the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes, which is a powerful reminder of the greatness of the Creator, and the ample blessings that He has showered upon mankind.

Syed told the Muslim Link paper, “Through travel, we get to know God better, it’s that simple. I have had some of my most spiritual moments staring out across a mountain range, a desert, lake, or even just humanity going about its daily existence. Travel makes the familiar unfamiliar to us and in doing so we come to better appreciate God’s creation. Throughout the Qur’an verses ask man to reflect on what has been created on earth and in the heavens – what better way to do that than through travel?”

Syed hopes that his project will help younger Muslims re-connect with their faith.

Accompanying him on his journey is Yahya Sultan of New Jersey, who will document the trip with photos and videos to be uploaded to social media websites and blogs, to allow everyone to participate in this wonderful spiritual journey across America.

Muslim Village
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