While answering a question on the use of loudspeakers during Salah (5 times prayers) and the permissible limit of sound on the loudspeakers, Darul Iftah of Darul Uloom Deoband- the official body of Ulema mandated to issue Fatwa on Islamic matters, said (Fatwa: 1431/1053/D=1433): “If the voice of the Imam is not reaching to the Musallis (those who attend prayers behind Imam) then it is lawful to use loudspeaker though it is better not to use it. If loudspeaker is installed, then it is necessary that the voice is up to the area where the Muqtadi are present. It is makrooh to spread the voice more than that area or outside. And in case the general public feels problem then it is utterly undesirable. It is necessary to avoid it.” Another prominent Islamic seminary of India, Draul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama replied in response to a question by one Col (retd.) Shamshi of Lucknow on use of loudspeakers for announcements during the holy month of Ramadan. Nadwatul Ulama clerics clearly cautioned that “non-Muslims and the sick persons should be given due consideration before using loudspeakers”.
In the light of above two Fatwas, let us introspect the present day condition of a number of Muslims. At many places, during the holy month of Ramadan, loudspeakers start blaring as early as 3 a.m. in the morning, directing Muslims to wake up, eat Sehri and so on. Not only this, in the early hours when the rest of the world is sleeping, some Maulanas start delivering sermons through loudspeakers, unmindful of the inconvenience it causes to the people at large, including Muslims who may be sick or who might want to sleep. The Holy Qur’an in Surah Al-Nisaa 4:36 says that “Do good – to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess.” Prophet Muhammad has said that the rights of the neighbour were so overwhelmingly emphasised to him by Angel Jibraeel that he feared that neighbours might be made partakers of one’s inheritance. In another Hadith, the Holy Prophet said that a man whose neighbour is not safe from his misdeeds, is not a believer in Islam. The Muslims today, need to think about the inconvenience caused to neighbours due to use of high decibel loudspeakers. Islam was brought as a model religion to provide relief to all. Today, Muslims are causing distress to a lot of people by indulging in activities which are in contradiction to the teachings of Islam.
Gandhi ji once said that an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. This statement found resonance in the controversy surrounding the loudspeaker row. Extremist elements trying to create hatred amongst communities are citing use of loudspeakers by non-Muslims during their festivals. Without going into the merits of the allegation, Muslims must remember Gandhi ji and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. It is the responsibility of every Muslim to follow Islam in principle and refrain from anything which may cause discomfort to neighbours or put a bad image of Islam amongst non-Muslims. Islam is a beautiful religion and must be presented as such. Every learned Muslim is aware of the story of an old lady who use to throw garbage over Prophet Muhammad. The compassionate and forgiving reaction of Prophet Muhammad to that old lady is an ideal example for the present day Muslims to move forward.