Saturday, August 21, 2010

Your Prayer, Your neighbor and the Microphone

If there is one thing that causes me so much anguish anytime I enter into most mosques, it is their wanton use of the microphone and amplifiers. The reason given for this innovation (anything that is ultra vires Islamic Laws is called Bid'ah translated as such) is that to amplify the Imaam's verbal utterances during the prayers.

To say the use of the mic and the amplifiers is alien to the spirit of the prayer is an understatement. Islam is a religion of ease, peace and mutual respect. Most of the time you see these Imaams clinching to these microphones like it is a matter of life and death, shouting into them and making unwarranted noise. If the noise was limited to them alone, I'd not be worried. 

Most of these mosques are situated in areas not inhabited only by Muslims but also non-Muslims alike. Has it occurred to users of these needless noise making gadgets that they are making life unbearable for their neighbors? How can we reconcile disturbing others and saying we are praying at the same time? Our prayers should be a source of peace and tranquility not only to us but also to all those around us.

The moment our prayers begin to digress from that noble goal, then there is a problem. What makes matters worse is that most of the time these mosques have no more than 3 lines (Saff) of people praying on a typical day. What then is the justification for so much noise when everybody IN the mosque can hear the Imaan loud and clear without a gadget? 

The excuse that the microphone and amplifiers are used to summon people to prayer is also hogwash. Islam is 1431 years old, when were these gizmos invented? All that while what were our predecessors using to call people to prayer? The use of these gadgets that turn the mosques into noise factories are no doubt Haram (prohibited in no uncertain terms) and should be condemned by all of us.

Our prayers and entire existence should be in themselves callers to our Deen (way of Islam), not the other way round. If you pray in a mosque that has been turned into a noise factory, you owe it a duty to Islam and Allah, Exalted Be He to talk some reasoning into those who use it. Islam is peace, and making life needlessly uncomfortable for our neighbors should not be part of our culture.

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