Another chapter in the politics of Azaan

Allahabad HC bans the use of loudspeakers for azaan


The Allahab High Court has ruled that though azaan or a call to prayer is an essential and integral part of Islam, the use of loudspeakers isn’t. The court ruled that the recitation of azaan “through loudspeakers or other sound amplifying devices cannot be said to be an integral part of the religion, warranting protection of the fundamental right enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, which is even otherwise subject to public order, morality or health and to other provisions.”

The court was hearing a plea by Ghazipur MP Afzal Ansari Congress Leader Salman Khurshid and senior advocate S Wasim A Qadri. A division bench comprising Justices Shashikant Gupta and Ajit Kumar ruled that azaan may be recited by the muezzin from mosque minarets “by human voice without using any amplifying device and the administration is directed not to cause hindrance… unless such guidelines are being violated.”

The bench also banned use of amplifying devices from 10 PM to 6 AM. In response to Ansari’s plea, the Uttar Pradesh government had filed a counter affidavit stating that Azaan was a call to congregate for prayer and hence a violation of lockdown protocol.  

This is however, not the first time Azaan has been targeted. In April, two Delhi policemen had unilaterally decided to ban azaan drawing flak for targeting the customs of the Muslim community. A short video clip of the policement giving stern instructions to the Muezzin not to give the call to prayer went viral. Two women can be heard reasoning with the cops that Ramzan was starting soon and azaan was essential to let people know when to break their fast. They told the cops that no one was going to the masjids to pray and only the muezzin would give the call. “This is wrong, this is ramzan, the rozas (fasts) will be observed, there is no ban on Azaan, we see the news too,” reasoned the women.  “Go and fight with LG. The LG has said no,” the policeman replied. Disciplinary action was initiated against the errant cops as the LG had not given any such directions.

The Gujarat government too had banned the use of loudspeakers and public gatherings for religious events. While on the surface, the order seems to apply to religious functions of all communities, the timing of it was curious given how it was issued after the various lunar new year celebrations of other communities, but just before Ramzan began. 



No public gatherings and loudspeakers for religious events: Guj Gov’t

How did two Delhi Policemen decide to ‘ban’ azaan on their own?



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