Mosque Loudspeaker Noise

Feb 14th, 2007, in News, Opinion, by

Parvita writes on the topic: Loudspeaker Abuse in the Mosques: should mosques be disciplined?

If you live in Jakarta and look around some of the housing pockets in the area, how many mosques do you find in 5 kilometer radius? Have you ever seen a mosque without a loudspeaker? Have you ever had trouble sleeping because the mosque(s) was/were so loud, not only during adzan?

I stayed for couple of days in my sister's place at Pancoran area. I can hear at least two different adzans, so at least there are two mosques around there. The first night I stayed there, I was awakened by the Adzan Subuh. Which is alright. Then it stopped. But the last couple of days staying there, I was awakened around 3:30am by the sound of somebody reading the Qur'an with very high pitched voice.

It is not only there. At Kuningan, there are also at least 3 mosques using loudspeakers and they don't only use it during adzan, but also for calling each other, announcing who donated money or food, who died, sometimes kids singing, and all other kinds of information that are not really important (maybe for the neighbourhood, but not for all the people living in the apartment, I believe!).

Honestly, I feel bothered. First of all, the loudspeaker in the mosques has been abused. When you call for prayers, that is a reminder. Reading the qur'an loudly, or saying prayers or preachings loudly, that is already bothering other people's privacy. Especially when it is used for other things like calling your friends, that is extremely rude and insensitive; we have no choice to listen or not to listen. Some people still need to sleep, they need to work early and leave work late, and they want to have a decent sleep to be ready for work the next day, and here they are with their loudspeakers. I often wonder, when I need concentration in the office, those people are back in bed, taking a nap. Especially during Ramadhan. Experienced very loud sounds that keep you awake from 2am?

Second of all, is there any rules on how loud a loudspeaker can be, and how far from one mosque can you build another mosque? Check the Tegal Parang area, Warung Buncit. Just walk along the small street and look at how many mosques you see in that small area. A lot. And can you imagine if all of them abuse the use of the loudspeakers? Noise pollution.

Moslem people here believe that when you build a mosque, your merit "points" (pahala) will continue even when you are dead. Some people build mosque so that they are socially uplifted. Even though the Qur'an clearly says that your merit score ends when you are dead. Moslems also believe that to spread the preaching is a must for moslems. The Qur'an clearly says not to 'sell cheap' the teachings (for one example, using the verses when you know people don't want to listen to them). Qur'an also tells that prayers that will be answered are those which are said with humble heart and low/soft voice. So where did they get this idea?

I'm not a believer in hadits, but I remember someone told me that one of the hadits mentioned that the distance between building one mosque and another is when the adzan cannot be heard from the previous mosque. That makes sense. I wonder if there is any regulation in Jakarta for building mosques. Seems like there isn't.

Call me what you want, I am a moslem myself, I say my prayers, but me, my parents, my siblings living around Jakarta, and my other friends who are moslems, they feel bothered. But nobody goes to the mosque and complains. Of course nobody dares. What is the use of pointing out what is written in the Qur'an to them?

100 Comments on “Mosque Loudspeaker Noise”

  1. avatar madrotter says:

    Get this: my house is surrounded by 6 mosques and they all go full tilt when it’s praying time. Not counting all the other mosques in my village. Every night at around 3 there’s this bapak bapak who reads the Koran and is screaming out all kinds of comments… It took me like 5 years but nowadays I sleep right through it… It just takes time…

    My brother in law once paid a mosque to turn their speaker the other side, too bad, one of the neighbours paid more so the speaker got turned back again… He’s dead now and burried in Germany so it doesn’t bother him anymore…

  2. avatar realest says:

    @Purba Negoro: I don’t see a single truth in your post. Why revive old posts just to spin lies? I’ll answer your every line ….
    No, they’re not even minded. When is the government going to pay for my Chinese uncle’s burnt house, my Chinese father’s arsoned factory, my Chinese father’s car, trauma on my Chinese extended family …. (i could go on) during the 97-98 chaos?
    No, Indonesians do not like to be imposed but like to impose on others. What’s so “unrealistic” in renting one measly floor to build a church where all activities stopped at 9 pm sharp when you have mosques on all sides making noise in wee hours of the morning.

    I’ve a legitimate problems with not only the mosque and i know my rights. I was born here so is my father and we’re registered Indonesians with proper IDs. We never fail to pay our income taxes or property taxes, that should grant us as much rights as any other man in the country.
    What’s so ‘mutually beneficial and friendly’ about asking money for your rights? Till this day, we’ve to bribe on almost everything from extending our ktp & passports, settling of shipping customs to registering marriage at the local RW just because we’re of a different color.

    Actually China(buddhism/taoism) and the Greeks(polytheism) accomplished the best of those feats. Stephen Hawkings did not dismiss a God, not Allah. God is an English western-originated word to define an omnipotent being.

    Wouldn’t that make you equally arrogant believing in something according to your limited experience and knowledge on one planet in a vast universe must therefore be equally and identically applicable everywhere else, even beyond your own comprehension and intellect- identically to the rational of the argument Earth is the only inhabited and inhabitable planet of the universe?

    For the last two paragraph of your post, replace all the word ‘atheist’ and ‘i’ with ‘you’.

  3. avatar ET says:

    Here in Bali we aren’t much bothered by masjid loudspeaker noise but we do have something else and it isn’t restricted to 5 times a day. It’s the call to Mammon in the form of ubiquitous roaring chainsaws cutting down trees to make room for more and more penginapan, parking lots, ruko’s etc. etc. It goes on from dawn till dusk only to be replaced after dark by howling street dogs.

  4. avatar Suryo Perkoso says:

    Hehehehe…..I’d forgotten about Madrotter – have a few drugs and it all all be alright…
    I’ve a foolproof way of not being bothered by adzan and mischievous Imam, don’t buy/rent a house within half a mile of a masjid, simple really.
    We only get troubled by the 737’s crossing the outermarker ust outside our back door.

  5. avatar Daan-Wolters says:

    I is proven that sounds above 80bd damage your health. Here in Apartemen Taman Rasuna Jakarta Selatan the sound of the mosque is more than 170db. Even although the mosque is more than 1 km away. The sound is not restricted to calling for pray but takes usually 30 to 45 min, and con spontaneously start on no calling for pray times in de middle of the day. Sometimes simply to beg for money. Another heath hazard is insomnia, people need between 7 and 8 hour sleep a night. Because of the sound pollution is that not achievable in Apartemen Taman Rasuna .

  6. avatar Nay says:

    The better answer for atheists on the existence of Allah (god, Tuhan etc) would be the more humble:
    “I am sorry, I am a normal human with many weaknesses and limitations. Therefore, I do not nor cannot know if God exists or not.”

    The first obstacle to inter-faith (or inter-lack-of-faith) dialogue is settling on the definition of the word “God”. It is such an abstract concept, that to argue over it using your own personal biases is bound to cause misunderstanding.

    I think you’ll find that athiests are mostly opposed to the theist concept of “God”.
    If we were to use the definition of “God” as to mean the unity of life and existance of all of creation as a starting point, we’d do a lot better and bridging the gap between belief systems. It is very hard to deny “God” using the context of life and creation because to deny “God” like that would be to deny oneself, and show no respect to other living things and all creation. By not believing in “God” then you would not believe in yourself and therefore you’d effectively a walking dead-man. (and we have lots of biblical and Quranic verses about infidels and those who have no relationship with God)

    That is not to say that all Athiests are nihilistic. A nihilistic athiests denies life and considers it evil. Enlightened athiests (the Dawkins variety), believe that life and all creation is amazing and worthy of intense study. In my opinion, enlightened athiests are only a very short step away from the philosophy of Islam.

    They too do not fully understand the nature of God, but they do worship life and creation in their own way…. by science and reason. Just because they do not subscribe to any religious tradition or cultural practice does not make them bad people if their “love of God” or “love of life and evolution” is pure IMHO.

  7. avatar Pranav jain says:

    I live in a metropolitan city in india. supposed to be a “seculaaaar” country
    Loud prayers whether its from a mosque , church or songs from temples all should be avoided atleast in early mornings.
    Mosques my god, the loud yowl at 5:30 in the morning is really ear shattering. so much negative energy in the mornings… not against using mic but atleast spare us in the early morning. and that too in a metropolitan city where lot of people share spaces .. Wonder if there are any educated people praying there who can advice from within.
    Mornings should be peaceful , silent and calm.

  8. avatar madrotter says:

    hahahaha! here there’s one guy who starts every morning around 3 AM with his koran reading, and he goes on for hours every damn day, louder than metallica, soon after there’s god knows how many of those folks screaming like they’re being murdered, it took me about 7 years but i finally manage to sleep through it:)

  9. avatar Rajbir says:

    Hi Parvita,

    I live in Delhi (India) and I’m an Indian. My residence is in one of the posse colonies of Delhi namely Mayur Vihar. Earlier there used to be a lot of noise due to Hindu religious programmes conducted throughout night with big Stereo Speakers making sound and singing religious songs. Though a Hindu myself I used to get disturbed a lot due to these DJs singing religious songs. I used to pray myself and liked those songs but during night they were a nightmare for me and maybe for others too in the vicinity. But after some time when people became aware of the noise pollution, the Hindus stopped these noise making religious ceremonies in here in my vicinity. Of late now temples and Gurudwaras have also gone noise free and removed their loudspeakers due to some sort of awakening as a measure to avoid noise pollution. But still there are some more noise makers in my vicinity. A lot of mosques I can hear at least 4 mosques competing with each other and making very irritating noise with squeaking and blaring Loudspeakers. Quite sometime back some people installed a loudspeaker at a Govt place and started playing muslim religious songs at 2:30 pm at night during the month of Ramajan. Due to these noises I have developed some problems like I fell asleep while watching TV or reading because during night I wake up hearing those ajans and other instructions and other sounds from blaring loudspeaker from these Mosques.
    As the matter belongs to a religion, the affected people don’t raise their voices and police also don’t take any action against these Law breakers. For individuals there is a law where you cannot play music after 10 pm and before 6:00 am in the morning. But for these Mosques there is no law. I think muslim clergy should think about this and stop using Loudspeakers in Mosques.

    I was just surfing the net and came across your article and thought about sharing my ongoing ordeal.


  10. avatar Theo Davis Lee says:

    Where I live the mosque is just behind my house. It’s not annoying when the adzan is prayed with people who has good tone, not the karaoke type. But it gets annoying when they get out of tunes.

    The mosque had recently adjusted their volume from loud to loudest. I had my windows to absorbs sound so it was ok then, but now, it goes inside my bedroom. No big deal, I woke up to it, listen to it, and got used to it and stays asleep after a week of getting adjustments.

    I just recently moved to Jakarta, and the mosque don’t bother me. I think it’s a encouragement for them to pray together, it reminds me of someone forcing the other people to pray. I also realize that it doesn’t matter what religion you are, the people attending are getting less and less. Their ID state their religion, but when I asked them, they said that their religion is just on their KTP, they don’t follow it or practice it any more.

    I think a religion should be teach rather than forced, and even though these loud speakers are meant for good intention, we are now in a modern world where individualism surrounds us and that Indonesia, at least Jakarta, or the big cities, to pay closely on their mosque.

    I also find it funny after they adjusted their loud speaker to loudest during adzan, it was actually turned down by the morning prayer. I can hear it, but not as loud as during the day. As days comes, the loudness is actually turned down, like as if the people living around the mosque turned it down.

    I have Muslim friends and even they say that it’s too loud at times and annoying. I also think that we should at least learn from the Muslim and their ways of praying, at least 4 times, where Catholics and Christians used to do that back in the day, but has since forgotten to pray together in church every Sunday.

    Instead, the Catholic churches gets bombed by terrorist. I think this is the wrong message that the terrorist is sending. Not only that people goes to church because of what they believe, it’s more than what they believe. We live in a place where we look for hope and without religion, without any believes, there is no point of living. Imagine if you live without hope, what is the point. I believe that any religion is better than no religion. And there’s more and more atheist people without religion.

    I would rather live with hope looking forward to something greater than living without any believes.

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