"In the house of worship, why is it that the noise will [not] be limited to the house of worship…and again maybe from the mosque, why is it that time for prayer would not be transmitted with a text message or WhatsApp so the Imam will send WhatsApp message to everybody that the time for prayer up so appears...”
The above were the exact words of the minister for Environment, science and Innovations, Prof. Frimpong Boateng at a Meet the Press session in Accra yesterday.
Moments after reading those words, I got a bit irritated by the minister's remarks but later after watching excerpts of his speech, I realized he was speaking out of ignorance.
The minister knows nothing or little about the Azhan (Islamic mode of call for prayer) and as such need a bit of Education on that.
To start with, the Azhan is the Islamic call to worship, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. Adhan is called out by the muezzin from the mosque five times a day, traditionally from the minaret, summoning Muslims for mandatory (fard) worship (salat).
A second call, known as iqama, (set up) then summons Muslims to line up for the beginning of the prayers.
Now, the main purpose behind the multiple loud pronouncements of adhan in every mosque is to make available to everyone an easily intelligible summary of Islamic belief.
In modern times, as the world's population keeps increasing, a mere call by the muezzin is surely not enough to get to people staying far from the mosques and as such, loudspeakers are now installed on minarets for this purpose.
The adhan recites the Takbir (God is great) followed by the Shahada (There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God). This statement of faith, called the Kalimah, is the first of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Abdullah bin `Amr, one of the companions of the Prophet is reported to have said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying, “When you hear the Adhan, repeat what the Mu’adhdhin says. Then ask Allah to exalt my mention because everyone who does so will receive in return ten rewards from Allah. Then beseech Allah to grant me Al-Wasilah, which is a high rank in Jannah, fitting for only one of Allah’s slaves; and I hope that I will be that man. If anyone asks Al-Wasilah for me, it becomes incumbent upon me to intercede for him.” (Muslim).
The above saying of the Holy Prophet tells us about the huge advantage of duplicating the words said by Muezzin. It not only makes one able to get Allah`s blessings, but also leads towards achieving the Greatest Assistance one could ever get, i.e. the support of Rasulullah in the hereafter.
This cannot be achieved through the use of a mere text message.
Now what Mr. Minister do not know is that, the first purpose of the Azan is to let the Muslims living in that vicinity know that the time for prayer has approached and that they should get ready for it.
Secondly, Azan is to be called in a loud voice, sometimes through the public-address system, so that it is audible to all the people living far and near the neighbourhood.
The Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh) is reported to have said that even a solitary person in the desert is to make the call for prayer in the formal way. Who knows, somebody, upon hearing the Azan, may join this person in prayer. Even if no one turns up, he would be beneficial on the day of Judgement when the stones, bushes and other things would bear witness in the presence of Allah that he did pronounce the oneness and the greatness of Almighty Allah at that time.
The Azhan is supposed to be done by a man and not an electronic device and that's why no single mosque plays a particular recorded version of the azhan as a means of calling for prayer no matter how melodious the said Azhan is.
From the above, the minister and anyone who shares similar view must realize that calling for the total abolishment of the Azhan is wayward as per the Islamic teachings, a congregational prayer can never be observed without the azhan.
Again, if you suggest that imams invite Muslims to prayer through the use of electronic means in this case, text messages, how would the Imam know the contact to a new entrant in his community to forward this text message to?
Does Prof even know that calling Muslims to prayer is not the duty of the Imam?
Someone needs to tell him all this. He seems lost!
My simple thoughts!