My house and Suhaimi’s mosque


Makkah newspaper

PROFESSOR Mohammed Al-Suhaimi used to be my neighbor, but he is no longer there and I do not really know the reason for his departure, even though I did not sing any song or make a call for prayer. If such a thing happened I would not have been surprised because he would not be my first neighbor to be annoyed by my voice and leave.

Seemingly disturbed by the loud prayer calls, my dear neighbor one day gave a TV interview in which he said children were "terrified" by the noise of the adhan from the mosques. Then his enthusiasm increased a little. He went on to claim that the use of microphones for making prayer calls was the practice of those who pledged allegiance to the hardline Al-Sahwa (Islamic Awakening) Movement. The group had openly opposed state institutions.

Despite my strong opposition to what he claimed on the TV, I would say in good faith that his outburst was nothing more than unwarranted expression of zeal and excitement while presenting an idea, which could have been done a bit more calmly.

Personally speaking, I love the overwhelming sound of the adhan, and I find it beautiful and relaxing. Then I would be exaggerating if I had claimed that the adhan was one of the most important things I missed during my travel abroad. And little do I travel. But this does not mean that calling adhan though the microphones is among the basic necessities of Islam and the religion would be invalid without them.

However, the view that the use of loudspeakers at prayer times is disturbance to the worshippers in other mosques, or people who use them are the ones who secretly pledge allegiance to the guide of the group known by the nickname Al-Sahwa was just his opinion.

My disagreement with Al-Suhaimi was not on the number of mosques in a neighborhood, nor on loudspeakers used at the time of prayer, but in exaggerating and the talk of horror on listening to the adhaan. This is an extremist view that even the non-Muslims would be embarrassed to express.

Moreover, suggesting Al-Sahwa connections while attacking a different opinion has become somewhat boring. It is similar to the "Brotherhood" accusation, which is gradually losing its value because of overuse by people to attack opinions that are different from that of theirs. We may hear such accusations soon in football stadiums. Fans may brand the foreign referee who refuses to allow a free kick or a player who misses a golden opportunity to score as a Sahaw with a hidden agenda. They may even claim seeing them pledging allegiance to the leader of Al-Sahwa at half time.

Those who bitterly attacked Al-Suhaimi were also not very innocent. Among them were opportunists of all kinds, including those who redistributed seats in hell and heaven, and those who admitted people into and threw them out of religion.

Among the exaggerations in this case was the idea of building a mosque next to the house of Al-Suhaimi, an idea that was suggested, I fear, assuming that there was no mosque next to his house. I would advise those who mooted this idea if they are really looking for rewards for the good deed to launch a similar campaign to build a mosque next to my house.

There is also a great reward for fostering kinship with a fellow Muslim, which is definitely better and more beneficial than humiliating a Muslim.