Open Minds - 'Are you troubled by call to prayer volumes?'
There was recently a heated debate in the letters pages of 7DAYS about the volume of the call to prayer in some areas and a reader has asked for my opinion on what to do if the speakers are too loud.
Well, in one way or another you should communicate with the caller to prayer and to the Imam of the mosque.
They both live next door to the mosque, within the grounds, certainly within the compound. If they don’t speak English, I’m sure one of your neighbours speaks Arabic and possibly goes to that mosque.
Bake them a cake, take them a sweet, take them something and say: ‘Please, we live in that villa, you see right there, across from the speaker. You see the speaker over here, above in the minaret? That one is exactly on my window and my kid wakes up and I wake up. What can we do?”
And usually they work it out, they say: “Tonight I’m going to keep my mouth away from the microphone.”
That’s one way to lower the volume. Another thing is to lower the volume from the system itself, but then some people might complain because they’ll say: “Well, I’m on the other side but I didn’t hear the caller, because Muslims do want to be woken up by it.”
The other thing that could happen is if a group of people complain from several villas and then the speakers are tilted up a little bit.
So these are three solutions.
The other way around is to directly complain to the Department for Islamic Affairs. There is a special department for volume and mosque sound systems. But my advice is to go and get to know the Imam and the caller yourself as a group of guys from the neighbourhood, it’s a nice thing to start a good relationship with them.
They are not there to hurt you, disappoint you, annoy you, they do their job. And the volumes are sometimes already set. Sometimes they forget and their mouth is too close to the microphone, sometimes it depends on the caller, some callers come and they are low in volume, sometimes they are high in volume, it depends on the person.
If I was having a problem, I’d be smart enough to take something sweet once a month so they’ll always remember - maybe in the beginning once a week - until they REALLY know you want the volume lowered on
That should work. As an Imam or a caller you should be a kind person. But if it doesn’t work, you can go through the official channels. As a last resort, people can send their info, location of the mosque, location of the neighbourhood, their name, address and number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will personally promise to deliver their details to the department and have them go to every mosque and explore the possibility of improving the situation.
And nobody should be worried that if they complain they are going to get in trouble. This is nonsense!