Heard Azaan in Woman's Voice? Pakistani-Canadian Breaks Stereotypes in Ramzan Message
Screengrab of the video clip.
Breaking stereotypes, a Pakistani-born Canadian singer and rapper has given a beautiful rendition of Azaan (Muslim call for prayers). The Azaan is given out from the mosques five times a day by the Muazzin, conventionally a man, before the prayers begin.
But with her rendition of Azaan from a recording room, Urvah Khan, dressed in jeans and top and her arms tattooed, seems to have broken many stereotypes. The brief clip is from her album ‘Muhaajir (the Immigrant Songs)’.
Khan uploaded the video on April 24 and said, “Ramadan Mubarak! As a Karachi born Canadian Pakistani, my memory of the Azaan is ingrained in early childhood experience. The crackling loud speakers, the daily rituals, all part of a youth gone, but not forgotten. It dawned on me this Ramadan that I had never heard the Azaan sung with a woman's voice, and likely never would.”
Over a thousand people have liked the video and unsurprisingly it has invited all sorts of comments with most of them condemning the act of a woman saying the Azaan. Some have also commented on her attire, her tattoos and cropped hair.
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Ramadan Mubarak! As a Karachi born Canadian Pakistani, my memory of the Azaan is ingrained in early childhood experience. The crackling loud speakers, the daily rituals, all part of a youth gone, but not forgotten. It dawned on me this Ramadan that I had never heard the Azaan sung with a woman's voice, and likely never would. Therefore, I decided to undertake the task myself. I do this not out of spite, or to cause anger. I do it out of reverence and respect during this holy time, and to underscore the idea that the limitless love of God includes all, not just some. . . . . . . #ramadan #ramadan2020 #urvahkhan #calltoprayer #azaan #adhan #muslim #islam #queer #lgbt #pakistani #Canadian #female #rocker #rapper #punk #accapella
“Azan is not a song aur larkiyan azan nae deti hai aur is huliye m toh bilkul bhi nae Astagfirullah. (Azan is not a song and women don’t give Azaan, not at all in this attire),” said one of the people in comments.
The Azaan by a woman has been a contentious issue. In November 2018, religious scholars in Kerala staged protests after a school had play where a girl gave out the muslim call for prayer. It was dubbed as an insult to the religion. In another controversy in January 2018, a Muslim woman faced backlash after she led the congregational Friday prayers in Kerala’s Malappuram.