Prayer Times in Istanbul & Turkey

Turkish Muslims perform the prayer ritual (namaz) five times daily, according to the tenets of Islam.

The Ezan: Call to Prayer

The ezan (call to prayer) summons the faithful to the mosque for prayers:

Allahu Ekber
Eşhedû en lâ ilâhe illallah
Eşhedû enne Muhammeden resulullah
Hayya ale-salah
Hayya alel-felah
Allahu Ekber
Lâ ilahe illallah
God is Great
There is no god but God
Muhammed is the Prophet of God
Come to prayer
Come to salvation
God is Great
There is no god but God

(Thanks to Mr. Tosun Saral for the Arabic transliteration.)

Although it’s not required that prayer take place in a mosque, it’s felt to be more appropriate and congenial in the sacred space with other Muslims.

The ezan is chanted six times daily. The exact time of the ezan changes from day to day and from place to place, according to longitude and latitude, sunrise and sunset, and geographical relationship to Mecca (Mekke, Makkah).

You can check the exact times for the call to prayer for any place in the world on the website of the Republic of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı) so as to plan your visits to the city’s great mosques. More…

A Typical Day

Here are the names (in Turkish and Arabic) of the calls/prayers and sample times for the ezan in mid-May in Istanbul:

İmsak (Fajr; 03:38 am): two hours before dawn, to awaken the faithful for prayer (pretty much the middle of the night!)

Hunat Hatun Mosque, Kayseri, Turkey

Hunat Hatun Mosque,
KayseriTurkey.

Güneş (Shuruq, Tulu;05:42 am): Dawn, before the sun appears

Öğle (Dhuhr, Zuhr;13:12, 1:12 pm): Midday, when the sun passes the zenith

İkindi (Asr; 17:07, 5:07 pm): Afternoon, when the shadows cast by objects are equal to their height

Akşam (Maghrib; 20:21, 8:21 pm): Sunset, when the sun has disappeared below the horizon; beginning of a new day in the Islamic calendar

Yatsı (Isha; 22:08, 10:08 pm): When the last light of day has disappeared

Then 5-1/2 hours’ sleep before the next call….

Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
Süleymaniye MosqueIstanbul.

What it Means to You

If you are not a Muslim, avoid visiting a mosque at prayer-time, that is, at or within a half hour after the ezan is chanted from the minarets.

Non-Muslim’s should also avoid visiting on Friday late morning through early afternoon, which is when the weekly group prayers and sermons take place. In short, if the mosque is busy with worshippers, it’s polite to return later to visit.

Here’s more on Turkish mosque-visit etiquette.

—by Tom Brosnahan


Mosque Etiquette

Ramazan (Ramadan)

Dates for Ramazan

Islam in Turkey

Islamic Holidays

Religion in Turkey

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Where to Go

Top 10 Turkish Travel Mistakes

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