The Islamic call to prayer is not only a way to express Islamic faith. It is also the way for a Muslim community to declare its presence in a country.
Adhan has long been an inseparable part of the Islamic way of life. It’s a call for Muslims to congregate at the mosques where people – rich and poor, educated and illiterate – all stand together to pray five times a day.
Starting from Prophet Muhammad’s time in the 7th century, adhan, which is recited by a preacher from a mosque, has symbolised the presence of Muslims in its surroundings
After adhan was instituted by Prophet Muhammad in the early Islamic period, “it became one of the symbols of Islam very quickly”, being one of the major expressions of Muslim community’s religious identity, says Usaama al Azami, a British-Muslim academic and a lecturer in Contemporary Islamic Studies at University of Oxford.
“If the adhan was not heard in a community, this was taken by the Prophet Muhammad to indicate the absence of a Muslim congregation in a particular locale,” Azami tells TRT World. Since then Muslims ensure that the call to prayers is announced from the mosques five times a day as a show of their loyalty to Islam and the Prophet.
Due to adhan’s central role in a Muslim’s daily life, any restriction on it is seen as violation of religious rights.
In India, the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for launching a crackdown against loudspeakers that mosques use for the call for prayers. Mosque administration in different cities have been forced to remove the loudspeakers – some also face police cases for violating the ban.