Loudspeakers and Hadhrat Thanwi’s Fatwa

Question: In the Dhameemah (Appendix) of Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi’s Imdaadul Fataawa, Vol.1, Mufti Muhammad Shafi says that it is permissible to use loudspeakers for Salaat in the Musjids. He adds that if Hadhrat Thanvi was alive, he would have retracted his fatwa and concur with the permissibility view.

Answer by Mujlisul Ulama:
In the Dhameemah to Imdaadul Fataawa, Mufti Shafi’ (rahmatullah alayh) does not say that if Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) was alive “he would say that the usage of loudspeakers for Salaah is permissible”. Mufti Shafi said: “In these circumstances, Hadhrat Thanvi would retract his fatwa of fasaad-e-namaaz.” That is, he would retract his view of Salaat of the muqtadis not being valid if a loudspeaker is used.

Using the loudspeaker in Namaaz and the Fasaad of the Namaaz are two separate issues. Whilst Namaaz will not be faasid if a loudspeaker is used, the karaahat (abomination and impermissibility) of the instrument in Salaat remains intact. 

Besides the issue of invalidity of Salaat which was Hadhrat Thanvi’s Fatwa, Hadhrat had also presented other reasons for the prohibition. Study the entire Fatwa in Imdaadul Fataawa. In his Fatwa he had mentioned that it is not permissible to even bring the loudspeaker into the Musjid. Read the Fatwa with concentration to understand the Shar’i abhorrence for the introduction of the loudspeaker into the Musjid and Salaat. Even if he would retract one view (i.e. if he had been alive today), there are still several other factors which render the loudspeaker impermissible for Salaat.

At no stage did we ever say that Salaat with the loudspeaker invalidates the Salaat despite this being our inclination. But, the use of the loudspeaker in the vast majority of cases remains   haraam. In most Musjids the loudspeaker is used even if there is a half saff of musallis. Many Musjids are so small that there is totally no need for a loudspeaker which has become merely a style and fashion. We have seen in many Musjids, the mike switched on when there are just a dozen  musallis or less and the Musjid itself is small making it totally unnecessary for a loudspeaker. Besides the waste, riya (show) and stupidity, the khushu’ of the Salaat is disturbed with this unnecessary apparatus attached to Salaat. Furthermore, nowadays they have a new style. They tie the mike to the Imaam giving the impression of him being a dog on a leash.

All the arguments which Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) explained in his lengthy Fatwa remain valid to this day. The only issue which may change is the question of fasaad-e-namaaz. We are averse to research the loudspeaker from the technological aspect, because we know that we shalll ultimately be forced to say that the Salaat of the musallis becomes faasid if a loudspeaker is used. The explanation which the India and Pakistan university professors gave the Ulama about the technological aspects of the loudspeaker is inaccurate. We are positive that a proper study of the loudspeaker will establish that the end sound is not the original voice of the Imaam. But, as mentioned above, we have no intention to explore this issue in view of the Ibtilaa-e-Aam of the entire Ummah.

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