The Call to Prayer

Although I’ve heard the mesmerizing call to prayer many times a day while I’ve been here in Egypt, it struck me all of a sudden that I’d never actually seen anyone pray. I’d somehow managed not to see any of these millions and millions of people praying. How could this be?

The call goes out five times daily, and the other day, while I was drinking a Sakara ale at the hotel bar on the Red Sea, I happened to look out the window, and for the very first time on my trip, I saw someone pray.  It was one of the security guards who monitor the metal detectors that are a part of the furniture at all the hotels.

The guard came around to the area just outside the window where I was sitting, and before I knew it, he’d unrolled his purple and gold prayer rug and spread it on the ground.  He was a very large man.  The rug looked impossibly small for him to use comfortably, much more like a washcloth than a rug.

When the young man actually got down on his knees, I looked around to see if anyone else were regarding this.  I appeared to be the only one staring at him.  This made me feel very uncomfortable all of a sudden, as if I were overseeing something I shouldn’t.  I watched him as he went into complete bowing down form, outstretched, prostrate, was struck by how the automatic pistol on his hip would bob up and down.

I wondered if I should be observing this. Would I want people looking at me while I prayed?

Before I could think through this at better than the speed of alcohol, he was finished, stood up, and looked directly at me through the glass.  I didn’t glance away fast enough.

He smiled.  I gave him an awkward small smile and a nod.  He bent down, rolled up his rug, then stood up and gave me a serious full military salute, but smiled again, and walked back to his post.

It’s one of the images of Egypt I’ll never forget.

* * * * *

Today’s writing prompt is


Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it. : )

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