A Mix of Faith and Culture – Adhan and Ave Maria

Today is Easter Sunday for those who are of the Christian faith.  And I wish all who celebrate Easter a joyous day.  Muslims do not celebrate Easter.   The special religious days in Islam are Eid al Fitr (celebrated at the end of the holy month of Ramadan) and Eid al Adha (celebrated at the conclusion of Hajj).

In recognition and both faiths today, I wished to share this unique video which combines the Adhan (call to prayer for all muslims) with  Ave Maria, a traditional song familiar to many Christians.


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42 Responses

  1. Why the Ave Maria, of all things? It is a prayer to Mary in common use among Roman Catholics. Quite another matter among Protestants – they view prayer to or veneration of anyone except God as idolatry…

  2. Very pretty!

    Happy Easter whether you celebrate bunnies, chocolate, Jesus’ resurrection or just another spring day (for those in my hemisphere. ;) )

  3. I find the combination of the Ave Maria and the Adhan strange. Given the Muslim opposition of anything non-Muslim connected to their prayer, I would assume that this kind of thing would be viewed as an offensive.

    For me it is just strange. It combines two very different musical form and I don’t think it works.

  4. Happy Easter to all!

  5. I am with Carboska. If one was looking for a piece of Christian music to match with the Adhan, Ave Maria isnt the one that I would have picked.

    As a person coming from a Catholic background, the role of Mary in the Catholic theology was always VERY problematic.

    The vast majority of Muslims would probably categorise the devotion towards Mary in Catholic theology as shrik. The phrase “Holy Mary, Mother of God” says it all.

  6. I was very surprised to learn about such a video and in fact, surprised to see a male singer who would call the azhan while a female singer sang Ave Maria. I thought the combined sounds were not only beautiful but what a way to introduce a ‘National Dialogue’ about differing faiths.

  7. What a nice way to celebrate today for all involved. As for the Catholic version of Mary…that shows one difference that is such a huge thing for Muslims and Christians alike. However, both faiths believe that Mary was the mother of Jesus and that it was a virgin birth by the power of God. One of the greatest messages about Mary in Islam is that Heaven is at the feet of your mother. For some reason, everyone picks up on the differences between the religions and they don’t see that it’s the same message to all about how we should all behave in this world.

  8. RCG, OK, in Islam, heaven is at the feet of one’s mother. But I doubt any Muslim would think that one should pray to one’s mother :) And that is precisely what is going on in the Ave Maria.

    For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with the text:

    Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

    The first sentence comes straight from the New Testament and probably even a Muslim would not have a problem with it. The second sentence – quite the contrary…

  9. While we are on the subject of interfaith music, it occurs to me that Passover (Pesach) is also going on at this time, we could even add in the most important part of the Jewish prayer service, which is taken straight from the Torah and shows God proclaiming His unity.

    I think a better choice for the Christian element would be The Lord’s prayer. For those who are not familiar with it, the Lord’s Prayer occupies a place in the Christian faith similar to the one al-Fatiha occupies in the Islamic faith.

    Below are texts and links to sound files for all three (actually 4 recordings are required). For those who are sensitive about such matters, none use any instruments – only voices. The first one is a solo male voice; the second, a solo female voice; the third, a solo male voice; the fourth, a solo male voice accompanied by a mixed choir.

    Shema/V’ahavta

    Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.
    And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength.
    And these words which I command you today are to be upon your hearts.
    And you shall impress them upon your children, and you shall talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
    And you shall tie them as symbols on your hands, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes
    And you shall write them on the doorposts of your homes and on your gates
    [...]
    That you may remember and do all My commandments, and that you may be holy for your God.
    I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that I might be God unto you.
    I am the Lord your God.

    http://www.virtualcantor.com/131%20Torah%20%20-%20shema%20echad%20gadlu.mp3

    http://www.cbisd.org/audio/cantor_11.mp3

    The first verse of this passage is usually sung separately, with other verses from the Torah added in. The first recording contains the ‘full version’ – with the other verses (unfortunately I have not yet been able to find a translation of the other verses).

    The second recording contains the rest of the verses in the passage above, and comes from the Reformed tradition. The Orthodox tradition adds in more verses in the middle which detail yet more ways of remembering God which are binding on the Jewish people but not on non-Jews, and promises which are made specifically to the Jewish people.

    Al-Fatiha

    Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe
    The Compassionate, the Merciful
    King of the Judgment Day
    You alone we worship and to You alone we pray
    Guide us in the straight way
    The way of those who have found favor with You
    and not of those who have incurred Your wrath
    or gone astray.

    http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/arabicscript/1/1.htm

    The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father, Who art in heaven
    Hallowed be Thy Name
    Thy Kingdom come
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven
    Give us this day our daily bread
    And forgive us our trespasses
    as we forgive those who trespass against us
    And lead us not into temptation
    but deliver us from evil.
    [For Thine is Kingdom, and the power and the glory
    forever and ever]
    Amen.

    http://www.sv-luka.org/chants/otcenasAG.ram

    [Some traditions add the words enclosed in square brackets at the end - the actual Biblical text contains only the words not enclosed in brackets.]

    This sound file is from the Orthodox Christian tradition. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a chanted version in Greek (the language of the New Testament), because as it turns out the Greeks do not sing this prayer, but the Slavic traditions do, so this one is in Old Church Slavonic.

    Reciting all three of these prayers is a nice option for those who want to observe ‘generically monotheistic’ prayer times.

  10. For me the coming together of two religions is wonderful! Thanks for posting this, Carol!

  11. Bedu, i understand the intent behind the making of such a video. though I think maybe a Gregorian chant might have chanted/sounded better since those are acapella without musical instruments, sounding better next to the Adhan.

    Yet it was difficult for me to sit and listen to even half of the video. I apologize, but it was not my cup of tea. they say in Spanish, “cuando no te gusta el trago, Dios te da tres tazas”. -When you don’t like a sip God will give you three cups [worth].

    this was one of those sips.

  12. Is this a joke or what? Athan with a song! Athan is supposed to be used as call for prayers for Muslims. It is not a means of entertainment and when u combine it with music and singing, it becomes something else, not Athan anymore..Anyways, I find this video degrading to the dignity of Athan, offensive, and unworthy of watching ..

  13. Carol, thank you so much for this video!
    It is beautiful!
    So sad that some people can’t just open their ears and hearts to harmony! (be that musical, spiritual or even religious).

  14. … to combine the Lord’s Prayer with the Al-Fatiha is shirk. Interfaith is a good thing, but overstepping the tenants of any of the religions involved is not.

  15. Safiyyah, No doubt you don’t like the use of the word ‘Father’. In reference to God, it means a) He is our Creator and originator, b) He is the one Who gives us life, c) He loves us. Nothing else. Last time I checked, Islam also teaches that God is our Creator and originator, and that it is He Who gives us life. So where is the shirk in that??? Is it shirk to claim that God actually loves us?

    http://www.beautifulislam.net/tellmemore/god_and_love.htm

  16. PS Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree entirely with the material at the link I just posted. The aim is to present what the
    Qur’an says about God’s love, from an Islamic viewpoint, and nothing more.

  17. I do not understand, why this beautiful combination of sounds caused so much controversion… I understand that Adhan is the”call for prayer” for Islamic people… Not actual Quran recitation… Ave Maria is the actual prayer for Christians…
    So, what are you offended with? That Christians are already praying to God, while you are still called for that mission? Or, I do not understand anything in this world by living so many years and being a good Human Being, Not Muslim, but Orthodox Christian… Married to Muslim for 13 years and living in Riyadh, KSA for 2 years…Do I have to feel oofended any time I hear Catholics praying the way they do? I am happy to be in that place at that time , where GOD exists!

  18. @Lada,

    Music, especially combined with religious themes, is not acceptable to most Muslims. The Ave Maria is not a prayer for Christians, but for some Christians, those who are Catholic.

    Intercessionary prayer is a MAJOR sin in Islam, as Muslims feel it violates the very basics of “tawhid” or the oneness of God. Labeling someone as “the mother of God” is called “Shirk” in Islam. This means associating someone with God. This is the most serious sin in Islam, above everything else.

    I dont think many of us Muslims would have a problem with interfaith stuff. I know I am a fan of it, but it seems this piece was not done in keeping with Islamic feelings.

    I wonder if any Muslims were consulted before this was done? I am thinking they were not. Most Muslims would have suggested different options.

    It isnt that we offended at the way Catholics pray, I dont think most of us care one way or the other. When you combine the prayer with a Muslim practice, it raises the stakes a bit.

    I dont view the Lords Prayer as shirk, because nothing in it goes against Muslim teachings. Islam teaches that the Old and New Testament, in their original state, came from God. It is just viewed that they have been corrupted throughout the yearsm hence the need for Mohammed (PBUH) and The Qur’an. To set the record straight, as it were.

    I have a good knowledge of The Bible and there are portions that you can really feel the voice of God in, others not. The Lord’s Prayer, is one I feel comes from God.

    All The Lord’s Prayer is, is a prayer by a prophet of God, Jesus (PBUH) who is giving an example, when asked, of a proper way to make Du’a, or supplication to God.

  19. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for this Carol, It really touched my heart.
    Was this video a clip from the concert in Petra?

  20. Lada, The problem with Ave Maria is that it is a prayer not to God, but to Mary, mother of Jesus. Probably every Protestant on the planet believes that is idolatry. It is not only Muslims who are offended by it. And I am sure that every Jew on the planet would also think it was idolatry. It is only the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox who use it.

  21. Abu Sinan, I think maybe you have forgotten that American Bedu identifies herself explicitly as a Muslim. So, yeah, she did consult at least one Muslim before posting this. Her views may be different from that of other Muslims, but there we have it.

  22. @Caraboksa,

    I was not talking about Carol, rather the people who made the video in the first place.

  23. This is beautiful, Carol. Shukran.

  24. Abu Sinan, Ah, right…

  25. Such a joy to hear the Adhan again.

  26. the video does look like it was filmed in Petra but I’m not certain.

    I know there are those who enjoy the video and those who are insulted. I chose to post the video as an example of how religions are being mixed. Maybe some individuals who have never heard the adhan will hear it for the first time and hear its beauty, strength and power.

    I can understand the controversy on Ave Maria as a prayer which is sung in accompaniment to the adhan. What prayer (whether sung in accompaniment to music or not) would readers feel to be more appropriate?

    Or would this video have been deemed more acceptable if both were sung without the accompaniment of music?

  27. @Carol,

    I dont have an issue with music, although many Muslims do. As to an accompanied prayer, I’d have no issue with anything that doesnt have a theme which contradicts the teacings of Islam.

    If one is looking to make a video which works with both faiths it is important not to include things that one would find offensive.

    I would think maybe Luther’s best known hymn, “Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott” A Mighty Fortress is Our God. I dont think the lyrics are problematic, from a Muslim standpoint.

    If music were included it would be the arrangement by JS Bach.

  28. Abu Sinan, Hmm. ‘Ein’ feste Burg…’ with the Adhan. Don’t give me ideas – I have been ‘in the middle of’ composing a fantasy on ‘Ein’ feste Burg…’ for organ solo for years now…

  29. Carol, I personally would vote for the Lord’s Prayer instead of the Ave Maria. And there are chanted versions of it without accompaniment that could work nicely from an artistic standpoint.

  30. @Caraboska,

    The Lord’s Prayer would work, as would much from Psalms as well.

    As to “Ein Feste” I guess that is my German side coming out. I have a prejudice for German music and I LOVE the arrangement by Bach.

  31. I do not know “Ein Feste” but do enjoy Bach immensely.

  32. @Carol,

    Oh, look it up, please. You’ll enjoy it. I am not too big on Baroque music, I am more of a Romantic “Sturm und Drang” type or later, but a lot of Bach is the exception to the rule for me.

  33. @Abu Sinan,

    I certainly will.

  34. The Athan is beautiful.

    The Ave Marie is beautiful.

    They are NOT beautiful together.

    The Athan should be paired with voice only not music and something that focuses more on the oneness of God not Mary as in Ave Marie.

    Interfaith is great but compromising your faith in trying to reach that is not.

  35. This is an offensive clip for most muslims. If you dont mind and to be on the safe side it would be better to remove this post

  36. I didn’t care for this but not for any religious reasons. I just didn’t find it at all pleasing to the ear. I couldn’t even finish listening to it. I didn’t at ALL care for her rendition of such a beautiful song.

  37. @Saud

    El offendido no es el dueno (con tilde) sino el que mea la cama.

    This happens to be Bedu’s house.

  38. Bedu- maybe the Gregorian Chants- Kyrie, Sanctus, Gloria or Halleluja- from the Aleluja Diligam Te – the version I have is chanted by Coro de la Abadia de San Florio or Anon: Jalta Cogitatum.

  39. @Inal,

    Speaking of Kyrie, if we want to stay with songs with music……….nothing beats the various prayers of Mozart’s Requiem.

  40. Mozart that’s a possibility… But like you I’m partial to Bach Abu Sinan.

  41. @Inal,

    My favourite would be Beethoven, but although he did some religious music, he wasnt really known for it. I like Wagner a lot as well, but given the pagan nature of his works, wouldn’t fit here!

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