Bear Erickson and I recently attended a weekly prayer service at The Islamic Society of Santa Barbara which is held at The Goleta Community Center every Friday at 1:20pm. I had called earlier and spoke with representative Mansoor Hassain . He met us when we arrived, we took off our shoes and sat on the floor while another representative Abdul Rahim explained to us what was about to happen.
My interest in going to this prayer session stemmed from my love of the Call To Prayer or Adhan recitation . I’m hoping to video someone doing this recitation for Little Village. Perhaps record part of the Quran during Ramadan as well.
So I have plans for these recitations that I love but really unclear as to how to broach the subject with them. Being there wasn’t awkward but it was different. I don’t want to provoke anybody by asking insulting questions. I respect their religion and right to privacy. Plus to them, I’m just some guy off the street. I’ll be looking for an intermediary to help signify my worthiness.
I should say that I have no any idea what the text of Adhan is about. My passion for these recitations is based purely on the sound and the emotion that’s emitted by person doing it.
We sat in chairs along the side . The room quickly filled with hundreds of people. Men in front, fewer women in the very back. Mohammed did the Adhan recitation followed by several minutes of the faithful kneeling with their heads on the floor and then standing. Not in unison .
At some point all were seated and a man rose and proceeded to give a talk or sermon in Arabic . Towards the end he spoke in English. Evidently this man was not the Imam but rather a guy standing in for him because he announced that the Imam was stuck in traffic somewhere down south. LA traffic impacts us all.
Then the congregants knelt shoulder to shoulder, row after row across the ballroom floor. They moved forward in the room to be in this formation.
Hundreds of believers. There were a few words spoken in unison by the congregation. Again in Arabic. I had no idea what was said but easily sensed the conviction with which it was spoken. Very powerful. Moving.
Before and afterwards our guides were friendly and informative. Although I didn’t bring up my idea of video recording the Adhan recitation I felt welcomed and sensed there would be a time to ask if I came back a few more times. Building familiarity if not trust by showing up on a few more Fridays.
Here some links to check out:
The two recitations are outstanding. The Quran recited by a 12 year girl is jaw dropping great.