Saudi Arabia Islamic Affairs Ministry restricts the volume of loudspeakers at mosques

Following the policy enactment, Saudi residents took to Twitter to appreciate the low-volume order in mosques.

Recently an order was issued to lower the volume of the mosque’s loudspeakers in Saudi Arabia because families had been complaining that competing speakers were keeping their children awake. Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Minister defended the order on Monday. He issued a circular on behalf of the Islamic Affairs Ministry, which stated:

The loudspeakers in mosques should not be set higher than a third of their maximum volume. Speakers that are used to broadcast the call to prayer should signal for prayers to start and then be switched off. Mosques shouldn’t continue to broadcast full prayers and sermons on loudspeakers.

 

The volume changes of mosques’ loudspeakers come at a time of wider reform to the role religion plays in public life under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler. It is pertinent to mention that the Prince has eased some strict social restrictions while allowing no political dissent.

While it is too early to judge the impact of the new volume directive on the soundscape of the kingdom, some residents of the capital Riyadh have stated:

Some, but not all, mosques appear to be somewhat quieter. At least one mosque is still broadcasting full-length prayers, as loudly as before in the area.

In a video released by state broadcaster Al Ekhbariyah, Islamic Affairs Minister Abdullatif al-Sheikh said:

The changes are a response to complaints from the public over excessive volume. The complainants include the elderly and parents whose children’s sleep is being disrupted.

He further added:

Those who want to pray don’t need to wait for the imam’s voice. They should be at the mosque beforehand. There are also several television channels broadcasting prayers. 

Following the policy enactment, Saudi residents took to Twitter to appreciate the low-volume order in mosques. While many appreciated the noise reduction in their areas, some said that they missed being soothed by prayers. One Saudi user, Mohammad al-Yahya, tweeted:

As long as the reading of the Holy Quran through loudspeakers has been muted on the excuse that it disturbs a few people, we hope the same attention is bestowed to a large segment bothered by loud music in restaurants and markets.

The Islamic Affairs Minister addressed the tweets against the low volume and said:

Some criticism of the policy is being spread by “haters” to cause trouble. Enemies of the kingdom want to stir public opinion, cast doubt on the state’s decisions, and dismantle national cohesion through their messages.

Regardless of the residents opposing the loudspeaker volume order on Twitter, many mosques in Saudi Arabia appear to have turned the volume down. Only time will tell whether the resistance takes over the policy and succeeds in bringing the volume back up or quiet neighborhoods stand firm.

What are your thoughts on this? Please share with us in the comment section below.

  • We need this in pakistan also
    Hamare area ka molvi suba 6 se 9 am tak “chanda” bi loudspeaker pr mangta hai aur wo b full volume k sath.
    And I live in a posh area of Lahore ?


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