Islam & Disciplined Prayer

What would happen if every human on earth prayed at five am just once a month? Once a week? How about once a day? What would happen if that single morning prayer was just one of five daily prayers, five daily moments devoted to humility, silence, grace? 

The Five Pillar of Islam are faith, prayer, charity, a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca and fasting during the month of Ramadan. It was difficult to select which teaching I valued most between zakat or ‘charity’ and salat or ‘prayer.’ But, the memories of a month I spent in India about ten years ago in a small city called Mysore led the way. 

For thirty straight days I was woken by the sounds of adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, throbbing from the minaret of a nearby mosque as the Mysore sun rose. And, although I personally wasn’t going to pray, just hearing the call was enough to make me feel beckoned, invoked, summoned by the very substance of voice.

Imagine what it’s like to respond to the call to prayer in kind. To hear the call as you are walking toward it. Imagine it, five times per day. I would like to welcome and respond to invocation, at least once. Once, every day.

*This post is part of a series of explorations on the teachings I most admire from the world’s major religions. So far, I’ve written on Buddhism,  Christianity,  Confucianism,  Daoism,  Hinduism, Judaism and Jainism as well.