I had never lived in a place where religion was so ever present. For example, I was walking in the mall the other day, and when I looked at the store directory, I noticed there was a Praying Room. In the mall. From my office you can see the blue dome of a gorgeous mosque. In Hamra, men seating in the street corners gently pass their beads through their fingers. And when I walk around Achrafieh, on the Christian side, I see churches all over, cemeteries with huge marble angels, schools and parks named after saints and all this to the sound of bells ringing…
This is the month of Ramadan. During the scorching sun and heat of August some colleagues choose not to eat and drink the whole day. To be reminded of what’s sacred for them. Stores close, people take leave from work… It creates a very special atmosphere.
I must say my absolute favorite is the Call to Prayer. Every day, 5 times a day, the beautiful voice of the muezzin (the man whose voice leads the call) reminds you to pray.
Fajr, between dawn and sunrise.
Zuhr, just after the height of the midday sun.
Asr in the afternoon.
Maghrib, just after sunset.
Isha during the evening.
In Beirut, I am reminded of where the sun is everyday, and also, I am reminded that there is something much bigger than me and my mundane activities. And I can’t help but feeling grateful for being here and being reminded. It definitely puts things in perspective.