By Mohamed Faizal –
I am writing this open letter to you, seeking a religious verdict, on an important issue that has grave ramification for a lot of the people – use of loud speakers in religious premises.
I think you have a responsibility, to publicly state your respective religion’s positions on this matter. I have a feeling that you may be acting against your religion’s injunction, when you use loudspeakers.
First of all, issuing a religious verdict on an issue is to pass judgment on that issue, using the religious text. So I believe it is paramount that we, first, fully understand, the true nature of the issue, I am seeking a verdict on.
The reality of the use of loudspeakers, in the manner it is used, in your premises is that: it is an assault; it is torture; it is maiming. So the explicit question is: are assault, torture and maiming sanctioned by your religion?
A lot of the people experience, a sudden loud burst of noise as an assault. When they are constantly exposed to it, they experience it as torture. (It is well known, that the Americans use loud music, as a form of torture on their prisoners of war, incarcerated in their notorious Guantanamo prison.)
According to Dr. Sumathipala, a senior lecturer in physics, “If your sleep is disturbed by noise, you could suffer mental stress, and turn aggressive. Loud noise indirectly causes stress. Children living in noisy neighbourhoods could develop hearing problems, later in life.”
According to Dr. Chandra Jayasuriya, consultant ENT surgeon, National Hospital, Colombo, “the human ear has a greater tendency to get damaged when exposed to sound, with intensity more than 80-90 Decibels (dB). Even a very quick exposure of three seconds, to loud sound, could cause a severe damage to the cochlea of the human ear.”
The level of noise generated by a hair-dryer is about 90 dB. That should give you an idea, of how grave the true nature, of the level of noise generated by loudspeakers, in all your premises is. Also, the duration of loud noise generated there, lasts for a lot longer than the 03 seconds, the maximum duration of exposure needed, to cause permanent hearing loss. In fact, the loudspeakers continue to wail, at times, for even longer than 03 hours.
According to Islam, one cannot be a true Muslim, unless his neighbours are safe from his tongue and hands. Islam equates removing from the path, something that is harmful to the public, to a portion of belief. Prophet Muhammad (saw) ordered his beloved companion Omar (rali) to lower his voice, when he recited verses from the Quran, in congregational prayer. (He wasn’t using loud speakers.) I am sure similar values are espoused, by other religions too.
Now, how is it possible, for religious authorities to use loudspeakers, without contravening the values of their own religions? How is it then possible, for you to claim religious leadership?
Again, are assault, torture and maiming, sanctioned by your religion?