Time to Pray
Daily prayer. Many of us aspire to it although we don’t all succeed. For Muslim faithful, the athan, or call to prayer, comes five times each day.
Time to Pray is the story of Yasmin’s visit with her beloved Tata, her Grandmother. Her first night with Tata, Yasmin is awakened by the athan as the muezzin at the nearby mosque calls the faithful to prayer. How can Tata arise so early, perform the necessary washing up and pray in the middle of the night? Wondering at her grandmother’s devotion, Yasmin falls back to sleep.
In the morning, Tata assures Yasmin that one day she too will achieve the five daily prayers. Tata and Yasmin go shopping for a prayer rug and Tata makes her granddaughter prayer clothes as well. Tata and Yasmin pray at home. They pray at the mosque.
Yasmin loves this time of devotion, but still she worries. How will she remember to pray at home without the muezzin and the athan? When she returns home, the solution is wrapped up in her suitcase, a gift from her Grandmother.
The love between Yasmin and Tata is as obvious as Yasmin’s desire to live a faith-filled life. Young as she is, Yasmin understands that there are many challenges to doing this, especially when she is not near a mosque.
This story is loosely based on the author’s childhood. Addasi grew up in Kuwait but far enough from the mosque that she could very seldom hear the athan. Her grandmother, on the other hand, lived across the street from the mosque and could hear the call clearly, day or night.
Graceful Arabic script, the translation provided by Nuha Albitar, flows across each spread of this picture book as do the warm colors and bold patterns of the Middle East. Just where Tata lives is never mentioned; it is important to know only that she lives somewhere very different from Yasmin yet Yasmin can live among the Faithful in either place.
This simple book taught me more about Muslim prayer than any other single work I’ve read. Share it with the young reader in your life who is Muslim living in the West or who has Muslim friends. My son came away from this book with a better understanding of his classmate’s religion and how she offers her prayers up to our common God. The story is also encouraging for the faithful of any particular religion who are struggling to create a practice of daily prayer.
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