Haj Saeed Jallo
The Ghanaian Muslim community has been cautioned against making politics out of the ‘suggestions’ made by the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovative Minister to the effect that “Muslim leaders must consider calling their adherents to prayers through text and WhatsApp messaging.”
In a telephone interview with your authoritative Islamic news platform mytawheedonline.com the chief spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, Sheih Armiyau Shuaib remarked, “I am not sure the minister made those pronouncements out of malice or hatred for the Muslim community. He might have made it with the belief that it may be the steps that can help reduce noise pollution in our communities”.
He told this reporter that the minister did not address Muslims exclusively, his remarks included Christians and other bodies that are seen to be noise polluters.
The minister, Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng made those suggestions when he took his turn at the weekly ‘meet the press’ series in Accra on Tuesday. “In the house of worship why is it that the noise will 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.” He declared.
These remarks have caused a furor within the Muslim community in the country with some people calling on the president to dismiss the minister for such insensitive pronouncements. Others have called on him to apologize unconditionally to the Muslim community or resign.
Sheikh Armiyao Shuaib however reminded the Muslim community that this is just a suggestion and not a law, therefore the hard stance being taken is uncalled for. He decried the attitude of some Muslim politicians who promptly took advantage of the suggestion by the minister to score political points, adding, “the minister said so due to his lack of understanding of laws and rules governing our religion, he needs to be educated on the issue instead of the public outcry and condemnations from some political opponents”.
“How can the National Chief Imam invite the faithfuls to prayer through WhatsApp, and even if he has the contact numbers of his followers can the Imam have enough time to invite them all? This is unrealistic and impractical, yet we must not crucify the minister for this mistake” Sheikh Armiyao continued.
He admitted that Muslims indeed sometimes make unnecessary noise in the call to prayer, some as early as 3 am when their neighbours are fast asleep after a hard day’s work. “this goes contrary to the admonition by our prophet to the effect that we mustn’t step on the rights of our neighbours. Let us tone down on the excessive noise during prayer time”, he advised.
“Instead of making political gains out of this suggestion we must rather educate the minister on our laws and regulations, and let him understand that the call to prayer is rooted in scripture, we must also educate our own people to reduce the noise pollution and bring it to the barest minimum” the sheikh concluded.