Call to prayer: Text messages suggestion unreasonable – Chief Imam
The spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, has described as unreasonable calls by the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations Minister on Muslim leaders in the country to consider using text messages in inviting Muslims to prayer instead of the traditional megaphones.
Resorting to text messages, according to Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, would help reduce the noise pollution in Ghana.
“In the house of worship, why is it that the noise will (not) be limited to the house of worship…and again maybe from the mosque, why is it that time for prayer would not be transmitted with a text message or WhatsApp so the Imam will send WhatsApp message to everybody that the time for prayer is up so appear,” the minister stated when he took his turn at the Meet the Press series in Accra on Tuesday.
Prof Boateng’s suggestion comes as the Rwandan government in a bold move in March issued a ban on loudspeakers from mosques in its capital Kigali.
Muslims in that country have largely complied with the ban despite criticising the move, a Rwandan local official from Nyarugenge, Havuguziga Charles, told the BBC.
A Ghanaian Islamic cleric Sheikh Bagaya welcomed the suggestion by the renowned heart surgeon that Muslim leaders in the country should consider using text messages to call Muslims to prayer instead of the usual loudspeakers.
“It is possible for us to adapt to text messages to call Muslims to prayer,” he said.
But in a fiery reaction on Starr Today Wednesday, the National Chief Imam’s spokesperson dismissed the suggestion as improbable.
“If you listen to the soundbite you’d notice that he [Minister] himself has indicated that the suggestion can start controversies. In other words he knows the consequences of such a thing,” said Mr. Shaibu.
“For us the impracticability is clear. The unreasonability is so clear,” asking the Chief Imam to have the list of all adherent of Islam and to send them a text message to call them to prayer, he added.
“It is not practical,” he stressed, as it would be a complete departure from the Islamic tenets.
The call to prayer, he explained is “Something divinely determined” beyond one’s wisdom from which “we do not intend to depart.”
Touching on the genesis of Islamic call to pray, Mr. Shaibu said it has a textual basis in the Quran.
Thus for him, the departure from the textual requirement of the Islamic religion and ritual will be a “violation of our religious rights.”