“Is Allah deaf?” Ex-Karnataka minister’s controversial remarks on ‘Azaan’
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Karnataka minister KS Eshwarappa made a controversial remark on azaan and asked if “Allah is deaf” that loudspeakers are required to call him.
The BJP leader’s remark may spark a fresh row in the ‘azaan’ debate that knocked on the High Court’s door last year.
Eshwarappa was addressing a public gathering when azaan was playing in the background coming from a mosque nearby.
“This (azaan) is a headache for me, wherever I go I have the same problem. Does Allah hear prayers only if one screams on a microphone? Is Allah deaf? I have no doubt there will be an end to this soon as there is a Supreme Court judgement. PM Modi has asked us to respect all religions, but I must ask can Allah hear only if you scream on a microphone? This issue must be resolved soon”
“Even we Hindus pray in temples, recite shlokas, and sing bhajans, we have more faith than them and it is Bharat Mata who protects religions, but if you say that Allah listens only if you pray with a microphone I must question if he’s deaf. It is not needed, this issue must be resolved”.
There has been an intense debate over ‘azaan’ for a long time now, with a section arguing that the use of loudspeakers for azaan may be disturbing to people of other religions.
In April last year, some right-wing activists in Karnataka demanded the shutting down of loudspeakers, which they said violated noise pollution rules. In this regard, they also met commissioners and other police officers across the state.
Following this, mosques in Karnataka were issued notices from Bengaluru Police to use their loudspeakers within the permissible decibel levels. Bengaluru Police issued notices to 301 mosques, temples, churches, and other establishments to use their loudspeakers within the permissible decibel levels.
The row over the Azaan reared in Karnataka after flaring up in neighboring Maharashtra where Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray demanded the removal of loudspeakers from mosques and warned of “putting loudspeakers in front of mosques and playing Hanuman Chalisa”.
Last year, Karnataka witnessed protests over the hijab, while some right-wing groups have also raised an objection over ‘halal’ meat.
In January this year, the Haridwar district administration fined seven mosques for causing noise pollution.
The Allahabad High Court in May last year ruled that delivering the azaan on loudspeakers is not a fundamental right. The court further said that although azaan is an integral part of Islam, it stated that delivering it through loudspeakers is not a part of the religion.
The court made this remark while dismissing a petition filed by one Irfan of Budaun, who sought permission to play Azaan using loudspeakers in the Noori Masjid.
Ruling on the petition, a two-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court noted that there have been previous instances where courts have ruled that the call for prayer on a loudspeaker is not a fundamental right.
Notably, the Supreme Court banned the use of loudspeakers and music systems in public places between 10 pm and 6 am (except in cases of public emergencies) in July 2005, citing the serious effects of noise pollution on the health of those who live in such areas.
Azaan is the Islamic call to prayers which is given five times at prescribed times of the day. A muezzin is a person who proclaims the call to the daily prayer five times a day at a mosque.
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