I stay in a locality that has some 4 mosques in less than 2 sqkm. area. Of all the 5 calls for 5 prayers during the day, the most prominently heard is the one in morning – some 30 minutes before the sun rise. Most of them start the call simultaneously with loud speakers put to max volume – far beyond the capacity of the loud speaker to handle the decibel. The call of “Allah Hoo Akbar….” – Allah is great and let’s come and worship him is in Arabic. If recited in harmony and sound system tuned in at optimal levels it is music to ears.
I experienced the music when I have been in Leh for last two years consecutively. The mosque in the main market has the volume of speakers tuned to just the right pitch and with the Maulvi Sahab’s voice in harmony it’s as if tune of pied piper- difficult to resist and not pay attention to.
My experience here in Delhi is quite contrary to that in Leh. Maulvi Sahab starts the call as if an abrupt outburst, “Allaaaah hoooo Akbar”, as if it’s Allah who is to be woken from sleep. I hope they get trained to be more musical in their call for prayers. Also if all 4 mosques could decide to have a single call for the 4 mosques. The 5 calls instead of 20 will be more music to ears and finding the one best maulana will be easier than having 4.
The same holds true for Hindu temples as well. While they do not have calls daily but when they have religious singing days, the sound (music is hardly existent) is equally and even worse than Muslim call for prayers. The singers have no formal training and for them uttering the bhajan is a way to worship and offer their prayers to almighty. For the listeners, they believe that it not important to have the best of musical compositions, the lyrics should itself take care of the listening factor as well.
The other key religion in India that uses sound most prominently is sikhs. The singers are formally trained, the sound system is best and attuned to a more manageable decibels and played only twice a day.
I have no intention to be biased against any religion and favor the one I belong to. In fact I love this aspect of diversity here in India. I learned that Ajaan – the Muslim call for payer- in morning and evening is a time when you do not need to guess sunrise and sunset times. It’s the most auspicious time to remember the almighty. I was hesitant to write on this topic fearing negative feedback from my friends but then I have put forth what I feel.
I miss the Ajaan in Leh……