Monday, September 7, 2009

How rude is it

to ask the cab driver to turn down the Quran?

One of the things I love about living in Egypt is that I am surrounded by Islam in all it's living complexities and contradictions.

It's nice during Ramadan to not have to explain what Ramadan is. It's wonderful to hear the call to prayer, be invited to iftaars and celebrate the fun (don't tell the Ayatollah) in Islam. I love being in a place where my religion lives and breathes. Where traditions I thought were only within my family belong to a greater community.

Where I can hear beautiful verses of the Quran as I ride along in a cab... Um, If all the taxi drivers weren't half or completely deaf and playing the holy word of God at 250 decibels, maybe. But as things currently stand, my ears are assaulted by crackling speakers turned up so loud that no word or phrase is decipherable. It's all a garbled mess, blaring from souped-up woofers positioned only inches from either side of my head. But how can I ask a devoted worshipper to take the volume down a notch? Especially during Ramadan.

Me, I don't got that kind of schutzpa.

So I barrel down the corniche, windows open, unable to hear even the horns and traffic, counting the minutes until I can get out onto the Cairo streets and hear myself think again. This is a far cry from the soothing recitations that inspire spiritual enlightenment and peace. I am literally diving out of the cab to get away.

Only slightly more than 10 days left of Ramadan and then it's back to Egyptian dance music. THAT I can ask them to turn down with no problem at all. Whether or not my voice will be heard above "Habibi, ya albi, habibi habibi" is an entirely different story....

1 comment:

Amreen said...

I love this! I would love to experience Ramzaan in a Muslim environment. Even though there are so many Muslims in Toronto, I still often feel alone in the practice. I imagine what it would be like to see all the lights on in people's homes at 4am, and everyone rushing to have Iftaar ready for sunset. thanks for sharing these unique, colourful experiences - I truly love reading your blog and living vicariously!