The Future of the Adhan over Loud Speakers in Countries with Muslim Minorities in Africa: Supplementing it with Mobile Texts, WhatsApp Messages, Mobile Adhan, Printed Prayer Timetables?
Adhan (call to prayer) is a well-established act of exercising peaceful freedom of worshiping Allah by announcing the time of the 5 daily obligatory prayers, using phrases that have been narrated from Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), in a specific manner. Among others, the adhan is significant for several reasons:
1. It is a manifestation of the slogan of Islam and proclamation the word of Tawheed.
2. It is an announcement that the time for prayer has begun.
3. It announces the venue where the prayer is to be offered; and
4. It calls people to pray in congregation.
There are recent trend in different parts of the world to limit the adhan sound level. Two recent examples illustrate this. First, in March 2018, the Rwandan government reportedly banned mosques from using loudspeakers during the adhan, in the capital city Kigali, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-43413645.
Second, following the above, in April 2018, Ghana’s Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations Minister, as part of plans to allegedly reduce ‘noise pollution’ in Accra, has urged mosques to use mobile texts and/or WhatsApp messages to call the Muslim community to prayer. The Minister is quoted to have recently stated:
“In the house of worship, why is it that the noise will (not) be limited to the house of worship…and again maybe from the mosque, why is it that time for prayer would not be transmitted with a text message or WhatsApp so the Imam will send WhatsApp message to everybody that the time for prayer is up so appear.”
As precedents are being set without being challenged, others are likely to follow in absence of sustained peaceful organisation among Muslims beyond national borders. Those being forced (or 'persuaded') to refrain from broadcasting the adhan via loudspeakers should peacefully continue to use all necessary and lawful means to actively engage with relevant authorities to observe reasonable accommodation to the adhan over loud speakers.
If the ‘suggestion’ to refrain from adhan over loud speakers is transformed into a ban on loud adhan, due consideration should (in the short-term) be given to the desirability of delivering the adhan over loudspeakers in every mosque in every neighbourhood, where it is known that the loud adhan from one mosque can be heard sufficiently by all the Muslims in the neighbourhood. In areas where mosques are within very close proximity in a particular neighbourhood, the sound of the adhan over loud speakers may be co-ordinated among mosques so that loud adhan from one mosque is sufficient for all the mosques in such a neighbourhood. In such a case, other mosques in the neighbourhood can carry out the ritual of adhan either with less loud sound or without broadcasting the sound over loudspeaker.
We ask Allah to help us to obey Him. May Allah bless Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
And Allah Alone Knows Best.