Minaret

DEFINITION

In Islamic tradition, a tall, slender tower attached to or built near a mosque. Every minaret photo of a minarethas a balcony that a muezzin (Muslim crier) uses to call the faithful to prayer five times a day.Nur in Semitic languages means "light." Hebrew menorah thus means a "holder of light" or "candelabrum." The Arabic form of the word is manarah, manara, or manar.In pre-Islamic Arabia, minarets were high places of light or fire, and served as beacons or markers to guide caravan routes. Such towers attached to Byzantine fortresses along the North African and Syrian coasts were used as lighthouses. Standing vertically it serves as a spiritual symbol that links heaven and earth. The appearance of a single minaret resembles the numeral "1" which symbolizes unity and oneness. Some Muslims suggest the association to the first long straight letter of the Arabic alphabet, alif, with which Allah's name begins.The "adhan" ? the call to prayer made from the minaret ? sung by a muezzin present in the minaret, or a recording of him amplified by a loudspeaker. To hear a short recording of the adhan click here.Also see dikka, mihrab, minbar, and qiblah.

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