Egypt's Minister of Endowments Mohamed Gomaa has recently announced the decision to ban the use of loudspeakers by Muslim mosques while conducting Taraweeh prayers and religious lectures during the upcoming month of Ramadan.
The prayers are usually held every night in Ramadan, during which Muslims gather at mosques to pray in congregation and read long sections of the Qur'an.
The sounds of Muslim preachers leading these prayers are normally amplified through loudspeakers placed outside the mosques.
The minister explained that the decision aims to prevent the interference of preachers' voices from different mosques, which would distract worshipers and cause disruption.
While a similar decision has been made in previous years, people took to social media to express their conflicting views on the ban:
Some refused to consider the prayers as noise pollution
Others expressed their admiration for the sound of Muslim prayers
This woman shared her concern for Muslims who pray at home
Meanwhile, many people applauded the decision
Some noted that the use of loudspeakers is not mandatory
According to Saudi Gazette, several Muslim scholars, such as leading Saudi scholar Sheikh Mohammed Al-Othaimeen, have opposed the use of external speakers when Qur'an is recited loudly. These scholars say that the voice of an imam should only be heard by people inside the mosque, in order to avoid disturbing neighboring houses and mosques.
Apart from Taraweeh prayers, loudspeakers are mainly used to announce the call for prayer, the adhan, as well as the Friday prayer sermons.
The Qur'an has actually addressed this issue in Surat Al-Isra, in which Muslims are ordered to "seek an intermediate way" while reciting the adhan:
"Say: 'Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call - to Him belong the best names.' And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer or [too] quietly but seek between that an [intermediate] way."
Additionally, Surat Al-A'raf mandates that Muslims make du'aa (prayer) "privately" and with "humility".
"People have the right to peace and quiet"
Officials have mixed feelings too
According to Youm7, officials have expressed conflicting opinions concerning the minister's decision. Secretary of the Committee of Religious Affairs at the Egyptian parliament, Omar Hamroush, said that banning external loudspeakers during Taraweeh prayers does not constitute a religious violation.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Abed-el-Karim Zakariya condemned the decision, saying that the sound of Taraweeh prayers is a much-anticipated Ramadan staple.