Calling to prayer with loud voice

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Al-Watan newspaper

BEFORE writing this article I asked myself: Should I really need an introduction to prove that I strictly follow the Islamic faith and I am not an apostate or atheist or secularist or liberalist or supporter of Western culture, in order for readers to accept my opinion on this topic without prejudice.

Personally I enjoy listening to adhan or the call to prayer from mosques and it gives me immense pleasure and mental peace. I also enjoy taking part in congregational prayers at mosque, although it’s not compulsory on Muslims as per Shariah in which I have specialized.

During my travels to Western countries, I used to find time to visit Islamic centers and attend Friday prayers despite the prayer concession enjoyed by a traveler in Islam. During Ramadan, I enjoyed attending group breakfast events and Eid prayers at mosques in foreign countries.

I have lived a few years in a Muslim country outside the Kingdom. It takes care of the houses of God in quality more than quantity. As a result my family and I found it difficult to hear adhan from the mosque and we missed the enjoyment of listening to the prayer call, which is heartening to the faithful.

Taking care of Salah or prayer not only includes construction of mosques with minarets and delivering various services but also keeping the mosque and its surroundings neat and clean as well as protecting it from harmful things. The disturbing voices of muazzins (those who call to prayer) and imams and misuse of its sound systems are other problems that must be addressed.

The call to prayer done by a muezzin having a melodious voice is enjoyed by all. Unfortunately, most muezzins in our country do not have an attractive voice and their loud voices are not only disturbing but also horrible, especially the voice of cleaning workers whom the muezzins appoint to make the call during their absence.

The problem is when you complain about disturbing loud voices of adhan, Qur’an recitation and Islamic lectures from mosques, you will be accused of fighting the signs of religion and its sanctity. The question is whether adhan has the sanctity of the Holy Qur’an as the Prophet (peace be upon him) has prohibited reading the Qur’an loudly if it causes disturbance to others.

If raising the voice while reading the Qur'an is forbidden in Shariah for disturbing other worshipers, the prohibition of calling to prayer (adhan) and reading Qur’an during Salat with loud voice must be prohibited as it disturbs patients, small children and the elderly who live in the neighborhood. We should know that adhan is not an integral part of Salah; prayers have been conducted in Makkah for three years and one year in Madinah without adhan.

Shariah experts say adhan is neither a basic condition for Salah nor one of its principles or pillars. Adhan is fard kifaya or a legal obligation discharged by the Muslim community. Unfortunately, some people who do not know the difference between fard kifaya and fard ain and the difference between condition and pillar give strange opinion creating confusion among the faithful.

People talk badly about the harmful effect of giving adhan and reciting the Qur’an in loud voices from mosques on different groups of people living in the neighborhood. A person who was sitting in an emergency section of a polyclinic told me that he found adhan in loud voice from the nearby mosque quite disturbing to patients. Another person said the loudspeaker of the mosque is directed toward his house located close to the mosque and it disturbs sleep of his elderly mother.

He said when mosque authorities refused to remove the speaker directed to his house he threw it out of the mosque but they placed it again in the same place and he threw it again. Finally, they agreed to change the speaker’s direction and now his mother can sleep well.

One sister said to me: “Once my grandmother panicked after hearing the adhan for fajr prayer as the loud voice almost killed her. It turned out that they had set up new loud speakers outside the mosque and they were causing annoyance to people living in the neighborhood. At Asr time, people in the neighborhood urged the imam to change the sound system that was causing inconvenience to most individuals and families who live close to the mosque.”


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