TO USE OR NOT TO USE
BY AFKAR ABDULLAH (Staff Reporter)
18 November 2005
The recent decision by the Dubai Department of Islamic Affairs banning use of loudspeakers for daily prayers has evoked a mixed response from people and scholars.
Religious scholars believe that the decision was in conformity with Islamic principles, but several Muslims in the emirate do not appreciate the move.
Incidentally, Islamic Affairs officials from other emirates, which currently allow use of loudspeakers for daily prayers as well as azzan, Friday and Eid prayers, and sermons, also support the Dubai Islamic Affairs decision, stating: "if necessary, we will also implement a similar ban in future."
Speaking to City Times, a scholar from Dubai Islamic Affairs, quoting from the Holy Quran, said that a person, when he prays, is required to use his or her voice at a moderate level. "Call on Allah or call on the All-Merciful, whichever you call upon, the Most Beautiful Names are His. Do not be too loud in your prayer or too quiet in it, but try to find a way between the two" (Surat Al Isra: 110), he quoted from the verses.
"As the verses reveal, the form of worship described in the Holy Quran is far from ostentation. It is not performed to impress people, the sole purpose is the due fulfillment of one's duty towards the Creator. The Holy Quran emphasises this point strongly," he said.
"In verses related to prayer, there are strong references to 'Calling on Allah, making one's religion sincerely His,' which means, performing one's prayer to earn Allah's good pleasure alone and not seeking any other purpose."
He said there is no religious harm if the loudspeaker is not used for five daily prayers during the week days. But it should be used for Friday prayers because of the several merits associated with it – firstly, it is the day when all Muslims assemble together at a central place in their neighbourhood for the purpose of remembering Allah through congressional prayer. "Friday and Eid prayers should be offered publicly at a place where all Muslims may come to attend without hindrance," the scholar said.
Dr Hamad Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Dubai Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities, explained that loudspeakers should be used for azzan so that all Muslims can hear it and attend the prayer in the mosque in group if they want, or offer their prayer at any place.
Azzan should be announced on loudspeakers to remind people who may be busy, of the prayer time. The loudspeaker should also be used for Friday and Eid prayers as they are important days for Muslims to get together to praise and thank the God.
In Dubai, mosques are allowed to use only internal loudspeakers during the normal daily prayers during the week while conducting the group prayer so as to allow faithful inside the mosque to follow the Imam.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Abdulrahman Al Kamali, Director of Justice and Islamic Affairs in Ajman, disclosed that loudspeakers are being used in all the mosques in the emirate for prayers, azzan, and Friday sermons as well as Eid prayers.
The office had not received any complaints from residents against the use of loudspeakers while performing the daily prayers.
"But, if the majority of the residents have a problem over the use of loudspeakers, the office would immediately direct the mosques to use only the internal speaker and restrict the use of loudspeakers for azzan, Friday sermons and Eid prayers," he said.
In fact, he said many people in Ajman are interested in hearing the prayers daily and they call us to increase the volume so that their children can get used to azzan and prayer.
An official from the Sharjah Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Department said loudspeakers are being used in some mosques of the emirate for prayers, but are not used in mosques located close to residential buildings.