Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The ministry of religious affairs in Saudi Arabia limited using loudspeakers in mosques to calls for prayers and the Friday preaching only as well as the two Eid prayers while using loudspeakers during regular prayers and sessions of religious studies in mosques has been banned banned.
In addition to that, the number of loudspeakers allowed in each mosque has been limited to four speakers only. This is what Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported yesterday.

The paper explains that this decision was finally made after people began to “increasingly complain from the loud noise of preachers” while they teach their students and because sounds of prayers in different mosques were mixing and thus distracting the worshippers who in some cases were praying in a mosque but listening to the Quran coming from another one!
The article tells a story about one Saudi resident who came home once to find that his children were crying and when he asked about the reason they said that the preacher in the nearby mosque was talking and crying so they cried with him because “his weeping was scary”…
In Iraq we have the same problem though not in the same extreme way as it is in Saudi Arabia because they have more mosques there and add to this that we don’t have electricity all the time so mosques cannot operate their loudspeakers at every prayer time and this spares us a great deal of the suffering and protects our eardrums!

Still what makes things unbearable in some cases is the ugly voices of some preachers, yet they insist on shouting through loudspeakers; I still remember one mu’athin (the man who reads the call for prayers) who used to call for the dawn prayer in the mosque that was a few hundred meters from our house and man! He had one of the ugliest voices I’ve ever heard; something very close to an air-raid siren.that was a real pain in the neck for the entire block for several years.

Anyway, this step in Saudi Arabia marks a significant change in the attitude of the community and I’m sure it took a lot of courage from people to publicly complain from the inconvenience caused by mosques and preachers; entities that were considered so holy and divine for centuries. I guess the idea of what-gets-abundant-loses-respect applies to the mosques here.

Unfortunately in Iraq, we seem to be trying to “reinvent the wheel” like we say here and I really don’t know some parties want Iraq to go through the whole mistake of letting religion interfere with every aspect of life before the society revolts to put things right and give everything what it really deserves.
It’s not the issue of loudspeakers that I’m concerned about, that’s only the tip of the iceberg as most of you know.
Wisdom says smart people should learn from others’ mistakes and I frankly don’t think our leading class has absorbed this part.

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