Sketches from Pakistan 3. Calls to Prayer

When the Imams call to prayer from the loudspeakers in their minarets, it is so loud and all embracing that it is as though the whole country is steaming with spirituality.

It is almost possible to believe that a divine order reigns, a different reality, brought about by sufficient belief.  A life defined by Allah overlays and defines the problems of everyday life.

Sermons broadcast in Arabic through the loudspeakers – part words, part music of words –  create an ambient aural background that is all pervasive.

But, because this is so normal, life goes on.

The loudspeakers blare as wedding guests sit chatting impassively, building workers pull down scaffolding and pile up bricks, traffic buzzes and honks by, the fruit sellers keep selling fruit… and the last prayer sinks into a muzak hum, like a radio stuck between channels.


building worker
Building worker on a break 25/12/92


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