KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Penang Mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor has reportedly reminded Muslims that external loudspeakers at mosques should only be used for azan and iqamah, which are the first and second call to prayers.
Amid the Ramadan holy month of fasting which sees Muslims attend their mosques at longer hours every night, Wan Salim said using the loudspeakers indiscriminately would disturb the peace in local communities.
“There is no gazette here in Penang, it is up to the mosque or surau’s choice, 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,” he was reported saying in Sinar Harian.
“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, talks and so on. If they want to come to our mosque, they can use the loudspeaker inside,” he added, referring to Islamic lectures.
Wan Salim said 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,” he said, referring to religious edicts.
“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 said there have been complaints from residents who live near mosques and suraus that the loud volume is adversely affecting those who are vulnerable such as seniors, young children, people who are taking rest off work and students who want to study.
“So we can’t just follow our feelings, we have to take into account the current environment. It is different in the villages where the mosque and the houses are far away, so reciting Quran before dawn and so on using external loudspeakers is not a problem.
“But now in the cities, the residential areas are so close to the mosque so it is important to understand that if the situation and situation change, the fatwa can also change,” he said.
The issue of the use of external mosque loudspeakers is a contentious one in Malaysia, with complainants usually shunned and lambasted by their local communities for speaking up against the matter.
Penang had in 2015 attempted to gazette a ban on the use of external loudspeakers for use other than azan such as the supplication of zikir and sermons but faced opposition from Islamists and a protest rally.
Source: Malay Mail