Clarion Call For Judicious Use Of Loudspeakers In Mosques

6 July 2014
Rising Kashmir
Junaid Kathju

Srinagar: The indiscriminate and prolonged use of loudspeakers in Mosques has prompted many religious scholars, civil society members and health experts to call for their judicious and limited use within the precincts of the Mosques. Advocating restrain in the use of public address systems, chief cleric and chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said: 'I think we should make limited use of loudspeakers in Mosques. It's better to use it for Azaan (call for prayer) and Friday congregations. We tried to start a campaign against it last year but it couldn't make much impact.' He said imams (clerics) and local elders should come forward and try to convince people about the need for restricted use of loudspeakers in Mosques. 'In the next Ulema council meeting we will raise this issue and formulate a joint mechanism to start a sustained campaign to make local imams and people aware about the hazards of prolonged usage of the loudspeakers,' said Mirwaiz. Qazi Mufti Imran of Darul Uloom Bilaliya, Lal Bazar, said loudspeakers should only be used when it is necessary. 'We have always maintained that unnecessary use of loudspeakers should be avoided. It should only be used either for calling prayers (Azaan) or on Friday when there is large gathering of people outside the masjids,' said Imran. He said the onus is on the local Imams to limit the use of loudspeakers in their Mosques. 'Local Imams of all masjids should stop unwanted use of loudspeakers. It should only be used within the parameters of Mosque. There is no need to disturb others,' said Imran. Mufti Abdul Rashid is also of the opinion that loudspeakers should only be used within the confines of a Mosque. 'There is no need of using outside speakers of Mosques. We should restrain ourselves from using them. It is best to use it for Azaan and on Friday gatherings. Apart from that it is not necessary to use them,' said Rashid. Noted Kashmiri poet, satirist and social activist, Zareef Ahmad Zareef said excessive use of loudspeakers has become a nuisance for the society. 'I think we should take a firm stand and educate people about the harmful effects of loudspeakers. It has become a nuisance for the society,' said Zareef. He said every locality has three to four loudspeakers installed in each Mosque 'which has created noise pollution'. 'I am not against using loudspeakers but I think it should only be used for 'Azaan' and for Friday prayers. I don't understand why we have to chant 'darood' on loudspeakers, God can hear us without them (loudspeakers) also,' said Zareef. In his typical satirical style, Zareef said: 'Mashidan shouri shar,dam pathti insaan, bayen takleef dun cha hukmi yazdaan, mangan akhlaq sani lout aaes khudayas, khuda sahab ous tohund lot ti bozan.' Noise exposure has been known to have adverse effects on health and may cause hearing impairment, hypertension and cardiovascular complications besides annoyance and sleep disturbance. Principal GMC, Dr Rafiq Pampori said extreme noise is hazardous for humans. 'Any noise which becomes intolerable for a human ear is harmful. Children and pregnant women are most vulnerable to it,' said Pampori. Noises above 115db can even lead to deafness. According to statistics, about 50 percent of those who are exposed to the noise above 80db for a long time lose their hearing. According to Dr. Shafqat Waqil, a gynecologist working at Max Hospital Delhi, said It has been observed that the foetus of the women gets affected by the blaring sound of loudspeakers. 'Exposure of an expecting mother to prolonged noise of loudspeakers can be hazardous for the foetus,' he said. Noted civil society activist, Shakil Qalandar while passing the buck to Ulemas said it is entirely up to the religious leaders to start a vigorous campaign to stop the use of loudspeakers in Mosques. 'No doubt in Kashmir usage of loudspeakers in masjids has become a cause of annoyance, but I think civil society cannot play much role in it. It is upto the religious leaders and scholars to stop this menace,' said Qalandar. 'Loudspeakers should only be used within the Masjid or for Azaan,' he added. Social media has also been abuzz with the debate over the use of loudspeakers with most netizens advocating an end to unnecessary use of street loudspeakers outside the Mosques.