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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Silent adhan : exploring the muslim call to prayer in metro Vancouver Suleman, Zoolfikar K. B.

Abstract

The adhan is the Muslim call to prayer which is recited five times a day to call the faithful to pray. In contrast to many Muslim majority countries in the world where the adhan is audible and a part of the public soundscape, the adhan is not publicly recited regularly in Canada. Due to Covid-19, limited public recitations of the adhan have been allowed since 2020, during the Ramadan period of fasting. In this thesis I explore the absence of the public recitation of the adhan in Metro Vancouver. The adhan and its public recitation has not attracted specific scholarly attention in Canada. It is a lacuna in the scholarship surrounding Islam in Canada. This thesis centers the adhan and its public recitation through an interdisciplinary methodology using research-creation (an original short film – Silent Azaan which forms a part of this thesis) and an analysis of an online archive of documented public adhan recitations in Canada in 2020 hosted at the www.30masjids.ca web platform. During the Ramadan fast in the Spring of 2020, the convergence of Covid-19 and a ban on indoor public gatherings resulted in Muslims seeking approval for limited recitations of the adhan in some cities in Canada. These 2020 recitations across Canada provide some insights into how further inclusion of the adhan into the public soundscape might be received by municipal governments and various publics. I argue that multiculturalism narratives provide an unsatisfactory framework for inclusion of the adhan in the public soundscape. These narratives serve to mask Canada’s roots as a white settler colonial nation, but multiculturalism may persist as a “most acceptable”, “least controversial” paradigm around which Muslims, governments and various publics can coalesce for further future inclusion of the adhan in the Canadian public soundscape. This thesis examines the complexities involved and lays out a foundation for future debates on the topic, something which was lacking when I began. Supplementary materials available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/83087

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