The Karnataka Waqf Board thought it could do the ordinary people of the state, who do not wish to be woken up by the blaring noise of the morning azaan, some good by issuing a circular prohibiting the usage of loudspeakers from 10 pm to 6 am. However, the Waqf Board was soon forced to withdraw the noble circular, and issue an apologetic clarification for trying to not disturb the morning sleep of the people of Karnataka. On March 9, the board issued a circular stating that loudspeakers should not be used from 10 pm to 6 am and loudspeakers can be used during the day by following ambient noise standards as per the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000.
The circular also mentioned decibel levels be maintained by mosques throughout the day, and that loudspeakers not be used in identified ‘silence zones’. However, the circular was met with stiff resistance by the Muslim community and the Islamic clergy in Karnataka. As a consequence, the circular dated March 9 stands withdrawn, and the Waqf board has issued a clarification on what it supposedly intended to convey to the various mosques in the state.
“The contents of the circular have been misrepresented. The prohibition on using loudspeakers was misinterpreted as a prohibition for morning azaan, which is not correct, despite clear instructions that loudspeakers shall be used only for azaan, important announcements such as death, the timing of burial, the sighting of the moon, etc,” the board stated in its latest circular issued on Wednesday. Moulana Maqsood Imran Rashadi, Imam of Jamia Masjid, Bengaluru was quoted as saying by the New Indian Express that there was no need for such a circular (March 9). “They should not have issued that circular as it unnecessarily created confusion among people,” he said.
Many clerics even questioned the intent behind the Waqf board’s sudden circular, alleging that the ruling-BJP could be behind the silencing of loudspeakers mounted atop mosques in the state. Karnataka Waqf Board officials said there was no pressure from the ruling party, adding that following appropriate directions/guidelines is the responsibility of all the institutions and all the departments. Evidently, outrage by the Muslim community has led to the Waqf board ridding itself of all such social responsibility.
Only recently, Prayagraj SP order the lowering of loudspeaker volume for a mosque after the Allahabad University Vice Chancellor detailed how her mental peace was being disturbed due to the daily loudspeaker blaring at 5 a.m., taking a told at her ability to work. Interestingly, in May last year, the Allahabad High Court had ruled that while azaan may be an integral part of Islam, amplifying it via multiple loudspeakers most definitely was not. The High Court had also banned the usage of loudspeakers between 10 pm to 6 am, although mosques continue to deliver azaan around 5 am in the morning.