The Jakarta Post
The Religious Affairs Ministry has issued a circular instructing regional religious affairs offices to distribute current guidelines on speakers to mosques and musholla (houses of prayer) in their respective areas.
The circular, dated August 24, cites Instruction No. 101, released by the ministry’s Directorate General for Islamic Guidance in 1978, which contains detailed guidelines about when and how mosques should use their loudspeakers.
The circular comes in the wake of the widely criticized blasphemy conviction of Meiliana, a Buddhist resident of Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, for complaining about the volume of the adzan (call to prayer).
“In connection with the many questions from the public about the use of loudspeakers in mosques and musholla, in the interest of clarity, we ask for your help and cooperation in disseminating [the instruction],” the ministry’s Islamic Guidance Director General Muhammadiyah Amin said in the circular.
Amin also asked the offices to distribute the instruction through social media platforms such as the WhatsApp messaging application.
The 1978 instruction calls on mosques to be more considerate in using loudspeakers, referencing Quran verses and hadiths, or prophetic traditions, in which Muslims are commanded to refrain from disturbing their neighbors.
Among other things, the instruction stipulates that amplified Quran recitations can be broadcast, at the earliest, 15 minutes before the adzan, while sermons should not be broadcast unless attendants overflow the mosque itself. (ipa)