MUMBAI: One of the attributes of 'azaan' is that it summons the
faithful to peace and tranquility. Ironically, 'azaan' through
loudspeakers has become a cause of concern and is being objected to from
some quarters. So much so that Navi Mumbai resident Santosh Pachalag
petitioned the Bombay High Court against "illegal use of loudspeakers"
by mosques in his area. An RTI plea had found that 45 of 49 mosques in
the area didn't have permission to use loudspeakers. Acting on the
petition, the Bombay High Court directed the police last week to remove
"illegal" loudspeakers from mosques. Many in the community have welcomed
the verdict. They say in many mosques the use of loudspeakers defeats
the purpose for which the muezzins call out to the faithful five times a
day. For long many mosques, in violation of the Noise
Pollution (Control and Regulation) Rules, 2000 have used loudspeakers
much above the permissible decibel levels (50dB during day and 40 dB at
night for silence zone and 55 dB during day and 45dB at night for
residential area). Now many community leaders and activists demand that
mosques should reduce the noise level or face the music. "Azaan is
mandatory to namaz, not the use of loudspeakers. Azaan should be
sonorous and easy on the ears. If loudspeakers are inconveniencing
fellow citizens, I would say the mosques should remove them before the
police take action," says senior community leader Dr M A Patankar who,
like many others, feel disturbed by the noise from illegal loudspeakers
atop some mosques. Activist Saeed Khan has closely observed the
increasing levels of noise from loudspeakers atop mosque minarets. He
says the Saboo Siddique Hospital in Dongri is a classic example.
Situated between Masjid-e-Iranian or Mughal Mosque (a Shia place of
worship) and a Sunni Masjid, Saboo Siddique Hospital and a nearby
municipal school (both fall in the silence zone) have to endure the
long, high-decibel azaans every day. "Normally an azaan should last two
to three minutes, but here the muezzins at both the mosques give azaans
which last longer. It iscompetitive religiosity and both groups try to
outdo one another in proving their respective superiority," says Khan.
Ali Namazi, honorary secretary of Mughal Mosque's Trust, denies that his
mosque is in any competition but admits that during the
recently-concluded Ramzan festivities the loudspeaker volumes were
"really high". "I ensured that the volume is reduced as it was
inconveniencing many residents. We don't allow anything which creates
problem for the citizens," claims Namazi. Khan complains that
at many Sunni mosques the practice of reciting "salam" (devotional
verses in praise of the Prophet) after the fajr (morning) prayer causes
"pain" to many people. "I have no problem if the salam is recited by
those who are praying inside the mosque. Why should it be amplified to
disturb those who are sleeping in the morning?" asks Khan. "If Muslims
have the right to give azaan, non-Muslims have the right to sleep
peacefully." The verdict has awakened many community members
from their "sleep." In New Mumbai, under the banner of Muslim Ekta
Forum, community members have decided to approach the court against the
rule that says that loudspeakers should not be used between 10pm and
6am. "Our morning namaz is held around 5am. We are planning to challenge
this rule and want exemption for it. We have told the mosques'
managements to follow the rules," says the Forum's president, Ali M
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Jul 27, 2008 - Here are the timings for the mosque loudspeakers within earshot of my bedroom. ... court order, which is only possible for a limited number of days each year. ... of lightning at every single loudspeaker in Mumbai, because the police sure .... minorities over the last several centuries and has allowed them to ...
Jul 18, 2005 - I am forced to wake up daily at 5 a.m. by the loudspeakers blaring Azan. The mosque
is nearly a km away yet sounds travel easily esp. at 5 a.m. ... Several
people are injured due to the noise produced by firecrackers every year. ... daytime or other persons carrying on other activities cannot be permitted.
It's against the law to use loudspeakers outdoors in residential areas
at any time, and in any area at all between 10:30 pm and 6:30 am.
Religious use is not exempt from this law, except by specific court
order, which is only possible for a limited number of days each year.