Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Start of prayer broadcast cancelled

Well, this is NEWS....I hope the authority will allow iqama back...what's wrong?
Normally, in this part of the world, iqamah (start of prayer) has certain period after the azan, such as 30 mins after azan for fajr (subuh), 20 mins for zuhr, asr and isha', 5 min for maghrib.
Within 2 km radius from my house, there are 5 mosques and still is good to hear the iqamah before driving/running to the mosque..then again, Dubai still allows iqamah

Start of prayer broadcast cancelled
Anna Seaman
ABU DHABI // The loudspeaker announcements signalling the start of prayer have been cancelled by the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf). The call for iqamat-as-salat, which signals the beginning of the congregational prayers for Muslims, is no longer being relayed from speakers at mosques in the city of Abu Dhabi.
In a statement issued yesterday, Awqaf said the iqama call had been cancelled to stop worshippers running to the mosque at the last minute. The appropriate way to go to the mosque was to walk slowly and with purpose at the sounding of the azan, or call to prayer, it said.
“It is sufficient for the iqama to take place inside the mosque, without it being broadcast,” the statement read. “The iqama is for the benefit of those already present inside the mosque … and scholars agree that the iqama should be delivered at a softer, quieter voice than the call to prayer.”
The purpose for the iqama is to help the imam lead worshippers inside a mosque so that everyone’s prayer movements are synchronised. The azan, on the other hand, indicates that the time to pray has arrived and, technically, it is possible to pray at any point after this sounds.
However, in the Islamic tradition it is preferable for a Muslim to pray as part of a congregation in a mosque unless attendance causes hardship. Even when going to a mosque is not possible, many Muslims who share a space at work or in living quarters prefer to pray together, with one of them leading the prayer.
Although those already inside the mosque will still hear the iqama, many people feel the decision by Awqaf hinders their ability to pray in unison with those inside the mosques.
Ahmed Yousef, who works in IT, said he could not believe the news. “I noticed the iqama had stopped and I went to the Awqaf website to see if it was official, but I couldn’t find anything. “Now I have heard about this statement I am very sad. It will affect everyone. The iqama is as important as the azan [call to prayer] and I see no reason for it to stop.”
Awqaf said that by reducing the volume of the second announcement, people will be obliged to go the mosque as soon as they hear the azan, thus encouraging more worshippers to pray in congregation.
“When a Muslim hears the call to prayer, he or she ought to head to the mosque,” said the statement.
“The Muslim scholars have agreed that a call to prayer should be from a minaret high above ground. In our day and age, it is sufficient to broadcast the call to prayer through loudspeakers. As for the iqama, the Prophet and his contemporaries did not deliver it from the minaret.”
The decision has caused controversy in the capital, particularly among women, for whom it is not compulsory to pray at the mosque, and for those unable to leave their homes.
Karima, a mother of four, who asked that only her first name be used, said: “Five times a day I wait at home until I hear the iqama to begin my prayer. Now, as I won’t know when it is, I might delay my prayers unintentionally.”
Karima added that as there had been no official announcement, many missed the timing for their prayers before realising the iqama was not going to sound.
“For women praying at home, or even men who can’t make it to the mosque, we need the call as a reminder. If they had told us, then at least we would have known,” she said.
Hessa al Hirsi, a housewife from Abu Dhabi said: “This news really hurts me. We are in a Muslim country and to hear that they are imposing these rules is terrible. If it starts here then where will it stop? I’m afraid they will cancel the azan altogether and then my children will grow up without a reminder to pray.
“The prayer is the most important icon in our religion and anything preventing it is not acceptable.”
In the other emirates and in Al Ain, the iqama broadcasts continue. It is not known whether Awqaf will enforce the decision nationwide.
Mr Yousef said: “I think I speak for every Muslim when I say I hope the iqama returns soon.”


Pentilium5 said...

wonder why, any group protesting the move yet?

Aristotle said...

The reasons provided by the authorities to 'silence' the Iqama is quite a weak one. Every Muslim should know that the reward for one's action is based on the intentions, and even if one is late for prayers and if indeed he has the honest intention to pray from the first takbir, then inshaAllah he will be rewarded as such, even if he joined in the last rakaat. There is no need to be running to catch up, with or without hearing the Iqama. Getting to hear the Iqama is a good secondary reminder to anyone that the solat is progressing, and one should stop work regardless of where he/she is, to perform this obligation, either in the mosque or in the office/home. I sincerely hope that the Iqama will be reinstated. Unfortunately, the larger implication of this move by the authority, is the perception by the citizens that the government is trying to 'soften' its stance on Islam in order to appease the foreigners.