Partisans of Allah: An Excerpt

“The call to prayer at the break of dawn has a special spiritual significance for Muslims, even if few actually manage to stir from the depths of slumber to give proof of their faith. Not willing to leave the decision to the individual believer, mullahs at the ever-increasing number of mosques dotting the urban landscapes of Pakistan have in recent years taken to forcibly rousing the faithful from bed. Only the deepest sleepers escape the cries every morning of an army of rival muezzins, one more raucous than the last. On recent visits to my home city of Lahore I have been struck by the lack of any elementary spirituality in the half hour cacophony caused by scores of different calls to prayer. Some observers see this as a sign of growing, religiosity. Others frown at the excess, which they attribute to the temporal rivalries between as well as within different Muslim sects. Once a simple, beautiful, and melodious invocation of the divine, the azan is in danger of becoming nothing but a shrill and strident display of human arrogance.”

–Ayesha Jalal

Partisans of Allah

Jihad in South Asia