Controversial Bollywood hothead lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar has come up with a new statement that has left a sour taste in the mouths of some Muslim fundamentalists around the country. Speaking about ‘Azaan’—the Muslim call to prayer, Javed Akhtar termed the use of loudspeaker as a nuisance to others. In a tweet on Saturday, Akhtar wondered why the practice was ‘halaal’ (allowed) when it was, for nearly half a century in the country, considered ‘haraam’ or forbidden.
In India for almost 50 yrs Azaan on the loud speak was HARAAM Then it became HaLAAL n so halaal that there is no end to it but there should be an end to it Azaan is fine but loud speaker does cause of discomfort for others I hope that atleast this time they will do it themselves
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) May 9, 2020
When a user asked his opinion on loudspeakers being used in temples, the 75-year-old writer said everyday use of speakers is a cause of concern.
“Whether it’s a temple or a mosque, if you’re using loudspeakers during a festival, it’s fine. But it shouldn’t be used every day in either temples or mosques. For more than a thousand years Azaan was given without the loudspeaker. Azaan is the integral part of your faith, not this gadget,” he replied.
So are you suggesting that those Islamic scholars who had declared the loud speaker haraam for almost fifty years were all wrong and didn’t know what they are talking about . If you have the guts then say so then I will tell you names of those scholar .
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) May 9, 2020
While it’s laudable that Javed Akhtar has shown some spine to comment on the dicey topic of Azaan and loudspeakers—another Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam might be wondering if Javed Akhtar’s support had come three years too late.
Three years ago, Sonu Nigam had spoken out against the usage of loudspeakers for Azaan by Mosques in wee hours of the morning, hence disturbing the sleep of even those who weren’t interested in the call for prayers.
He was incessantly hounded by the Islamic fundamentalists and a bounty of Rs 21 crore was put on his head by one Rizwan Malik for the same whereas a Maulvi in West Bengal issued a fatwa and announced a prize of 10 lakh rupees for any person who shaved the head of Sonu Nigam.
Last month, his tweets resurfaced again when he was stuck in UAE because of Coronavirus and the radical Islamists started reporting his tweets to the police and other authorities so as to get him arrested.
Just like Sonu Nigam, the moment Mr Akhtar came out with the contentious tweet, the Muslim fundamentalists started speaking out against him, with some going as further as disowning him as a Muslim.
Chalo, do one thing @Javedakhtarjadu jhandu. Total ban of loudspeakers in India for everything, Bollywood concert, political occasions or bhasan. Everything.can u ask for it. Do u know how much time it takes to give azzan.? Bhasano se kabhi Taklif nahi huvi? Jaahil. https://t.co/sOqHc0g13m
— Najir Mohammed Patel (@najirpatel1985) May 10, 2020
The purpose of azaan on loudspeaker is to call peoples for offering the namaz in mosques. and azaan is most beautiful sound in the world. It will not stop at any rate. And you and Sonu Nigham nd many who have thinking that during azaan they disturb. Then keep your ears close.
— Zubair Ansari (@izubairansari) May 9, 2020
— Yaseen Quraishi (@YaseenQuraishi) May 10, 2020
— Dr Md Asif Noor (@DrMDAsifNoor1) May 10, 2020
It did not take much time for Asaduddin Owaisi’s party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) to jump in and issue its absurd statement.
The national spokesperson Asim Waqar called Javed Akhtar an imposter and said that he was not a Muslim. He further alleged that Akhtar had RSS connections and that he was speaking against Muslims because he desired a Rajya Sabha seat under the current regime.
Dosto ek sahab ne aaj tweet karke phir se loud speak pr azaan ka virodh kiya hai
Lekin afsos ki wo musalman hai
Meri aap sab se guzarish hai ki un sahab ko aap ek laqab se zarur nawaziye,
Aap jo chahe unka naam rakh sakte hai
Asim Waqar @aimim_national @asadowaisi pic.twitter.com/TJ2iu1PRAM
— syed asim waqar (@syedasimwaqar) May 10, 2020
It should not surprise anybody if a fatwa is issued against Javed Akhtar in the coming days condemning his statements.
However obtuse Javed Akhtar might be at times, he has time and again shown his amicable side to the public. He had also supported the demand to shut mosques amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, saying even Kaaba and Medina have been closed due to the pandemic.
Whatever the outcome of this episode may be, one thing is clear as day and that is—the Muslim fundamentalists do not like any voice of reason and it does not matter if you are Hindu or Muslim—speaking against Islam is bound to land you in stormy waters and ultimately you will be hounded by the extremists.