Mosque’s external loudspeakers only to be used for calls to prayers, Penang mufti asserts

PENANG Mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor has reportedly reminded Muslims that external loudspeakers at mosques should only be used for the first and second call to prayer, azan and iqamah.

“Amid the Ramadan holy month of fasting which sees Muslims attend their mosques at longer hours every night, using the loudspeakers indiscriminately would disturb the peace in local communities,” Sinar Harian reported Wan Salim as saying.

Wan Salim added that there is no gazette here (Penang), it is up to the mosque’s or surau’s choice, and the use of the external loudspeakers should be used for azan and iqamah only as much as possible because it is a symbol of Islam.

Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor

“We are here to worship, why do we want to bother others? They don’t come to the mosque because he is not ready to listen to tazkirah (a brief lecture about Islam), talks and so on. If they want to come to our mosque, they can use the loudspeaker inside.”

Moreover, Wan Salim pointed out that the issue of external loudspeakers should never have been a question of whether one was previously allowed to do so versus now.

“The environment is changing, the ‘fatwa’ or Islamic law must also change. Even if Penang does not gazette, we only advise the congregations not to use external loudspeakers for other activities other than azan and iqamah.”

Wan Salim also stated that locals who live near mosques and suraus have complained that the loud volume is negatively affecting those who are vulnerable such as seniors, young children, those taking time off work and students who wish to study.

He is also of the opinion that we can’t just follow our feelings. He urged people to take into account the current environment.

Wan Salim proceeded to explain how it is different in the villages where the mosque and the houses are far away, so reciting Quran before dawn and so on would not be a problem using external loudspeakers.

However, in the cities, the residential areas are so close to the mosque that it is important to understand that if the situation changes, the ‘fatwa’ can also change, according to him.

The use of external mosque loudspeakers is a sensitive subject in Malaysia, with complainants typically shunned and chastised by the local communities for speaking out.

Penang had attempted to gazette a ban on the use of external loudspeakers for uses other than azan in 2015, such as the supplication of zikir and sermons but faced opposition from Islamists and a protest rally. — April 6, 2023


Main photo credit: NST

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