Recently, the Allahabad High Court pronounced a verdict that bans the use of speakers by mosques. Before that the Maharashtra Govt. had passed an order banning the use of speakers for religious purposes from evening to dawn. There have been much such legislation and verdicts being passed in India and abroad too like Spain and Portugal. Such orders hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community and we feel that our liberty of professing religion is being snatched from us, but is the exploitation of the liberty we had at once, the actual cause for all these issues?
In Delhi, I experienced something throughout Ramadan that made me cringe. The mosques had fixed sirens in every nook and corner. More than an hour before Fajr, the sirens started blaring and kept blaring periodically until Fajr so as to wake the people up for suhoor, the volume was so loud that even if you shut your windows, close your doors, and bury yourself inside the pillow, you will be wakened by those sirens. Despite being a Muslim, I was greatly disturbed by continuous sounds. I wondered how our non-Muslim brothers, especially Hindu brothers living in the area would feel being waken an entire month hours before the dawn. How would mothers feel when their infants who slept after endless efforts are waken up by these sirens? How would the cardiac and BP patients admitted in the nearby hospitals feel when they are exposed to that sound for an entire month in the middle of the night?? if these people then fill up with hatred for Islam and contempt for the Muslims, who is to blame? Aren’t we supposed to show a bit more responsible behavior towards fellow beings? In the modern era, when everyone has mobile phone equipped with alarms, why should such a practice be continued? Just because it has been happening since the last few generations?
This isn’t the only instance when we have exploited the liberty we have. In many areas, before the azaan of Fajr, i.e. when the average Indian has yet 3 or 4 hours to sleep, some people start reciting Durud and Naat in the speakers for a period of half an hour or more, how could that be justified? Isn’t it an obvious case of public nuisance? Now when such incidents occur, the right wing leaders use it to intensify their demand for ban on use of speakers by mosques, the media highlights the same giving it an uglier face and then the court or the legislature passes an order fulfilling the demand. The problem is that along with such nuisance activities, even the azaan gets banned. We might feel this a conspiracy and a political game played by those against Islam, but if we ponder impartially, we would realize that our irresponsible behavior and the attitude of not bothering to the others has played a much bigger role in getting the azaan banned. If we had used our liberty to use speakers in a reasonable manner, we might have enjoyed that privilege forever. We still have time to change this situation and rationalize our behavior before azaan gets banned throughout India, if we stop providing the right wing politicians the opportunity to attract the sympathy of the normal Indians, the situation may not deteriorate any further.
In my opinion, even if there was no fear of azaan getting banned such as in Muslim majority countries, we should maintain a reasonable behavior and an attitude of care towards our Non-Muslim brothers, such nuisance activities actually widen the gap and repel the people from Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) had once said (Inna minkum munaffirun) i.e. there are people among you who discourage and repel (the others from coming closer to Islam) we have to make sure that this description doesn’t fit on us, if it does, then woe on us the day we stand in front of the Almighty!!