You are currently viewing Call to Prayer (Fez, 1980) by Roger Abdul Wahhab Boase

Call to Prayer (Fez, 1980) by Roger Abdul Wahhab Boase

from the tall minaret
between two cypresses
a chant
neither song
nor shout
that sweetly penetrates
the faithless heart
beginning before the cock awakes
when night is turning grey
from the route d’Immouzer
half a mile away
five times a day
rings out
rings out across the square
reminding us that God is great
and to Him
to Him alone
should we prostrate
and now is the time to pray

at the corner of the street
by the sentry box
the night watchman
thin and sick and pale
dressed in a brown djellaba
a disciple of the Prophet
who would greet
every man as his own brother
bestowing on him
God’s peace and blessings
who would never beg or bow
to wealth or power
serving only Allah
whose skin is purified with a stone
and whose heart is gentle and devout
though his hands and feet
are toughened by frost
after warming his palms
at the still cooling embers
of last night’s fire
unrolls his worn and faded mat
beside what serves as bench or bed
and bows his head to the earth
leaving his faithful dog
to stand and guard the way
for prayer is sweeter than sleep
                        and now is the time to pray


Roger Abdul Wahhab Boase

About the Poet

Roger Abdul Wahhab Boase
Scholar and poet, author of books and articles on late medieval Spanish poetry and culture, including The Origin and Meaning of Courtly Love (1977), The Troubadour Revival (1979), and Secrets of Pinar’s Game: Courtly Poetry and Court Ladies in Late Medieval Spain (2017). He has also co-written a collection of Pashtun folktales (Pashtun Tales from the Pakistan-Afghan Frontier, paperback edn 2007), has done research on the expulsion of the Muslims from Spain, and engaged in interfaith dialogue (see Islam and Global Dialogue: Religious Pluralism and the Pursuit of Peace, paperback edn 2010).