Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs has issued a new directive ordering mosques to limit the use of loudspeakers. The Ministry has allowed the loudspeaker to be used only for calls for prayers Azan (call for prayer) and Iqamat (second call for prayer indicating that the Imam has taken his place for the prayers).
A circular has been issued by Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs Abdul Latif Al-Sheikh, to all mosques directing that the volume of the loudspeakers are to be kept at not more than one-third of the level. Any violations in the rule will invite heavy penalties as per the order.
The order was based on Sharia evidence which suggests calling the Lord quietly. “One should not trouble the other and one should not raise the voice in recitation or in prayer over the voice of the other,” read the order based on Hadith.
As per a report, external amplifiers and loudspeakers used for anything other than the Azan harm patients, old people, and children in the houses in the vicinity of the mosques.
The Ministry also ruled that prayers conducted by Imam should be specific to the devotees within the mosques with no legitimate need to convey it to those at home.
“In addition to the fact that reading the Quran on external amplifiers is disrespectful to the Quran when it is recited loudly using external loudspeakers, while no one is listening to and pondering on its verses,” said the circular,” read the circular.
The order released by the Ministry is based on fatwas by most senior Islamic scholars like Sheikh Mohammed bin Saleh Al Othaimeen and Saleh Al Fawzan of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Ministry in 2019 too had asked the mosques to limit the usage of loudspeakers in the Holy month of Ramadan.