The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) recently issued a circular to prepare mosques to serve the worshipers for the holy month of Ramzan 1444AH.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Surendra Poonia shared a Twitter post listing that loudspeakers have been banned during Ramzan.
“Crown Prince & PM of Saudi Arabia Mohd bin Salman passed new orders regarding Namaz during Ramadan -No loudspeakers -No broadcast of prayers -Keep prayers short -No donation collection -No kids in mosques for prayers -No iftar inside mosques भारत में ऐसा करने पर तूफ़ान आ जाये (If you do this in India there will be a storm),” he tweeted.
A tweet and a YouTube video by Sami Hamdi, the founder of The International Interest, a current affairs magazine focusing on the Middle East and North Africa, went viral on the internet.
In the video, Hamidi claimed that the Crown Prince was trying to restrict Ramazan in Saudi Arabia.
Other media outlets such as News18.com, ThePrint, Live Hindustan, ABP, India TV and right-wing media organisation OpIndia also reported on the false claim.
As the fake news spread, many from the Muslim world believed it to be true and condemned the guidelines have received a backlash from Muslims around the world, with many critics seeing the guidelines as attempts by the Saudi government to limit the influence of Islam in public life.
However, the claim was soon debunked by the fact-checking team of Alt News.
In its report, it said that the circular issued on March 3 by the Ministry has no mention of ban loudspeakers.
What are Saudi Arabia’s new guidelines on Ramzan?
According to the directive, during the holy month of Ramadan, imams and muezzins must not remain absent. If necessary they must delegate the performance of the task for absences with permission from the Regional Branch of the Ministry, and the person acting on their behalf has agreed not to breach the obligation. The allowed time of absence cannot be exceeded.
The order further instructs the imams and muezzins to adhere to the calendar and times of all prayers during the month. They are required to shorten the evening prayer and complete the night prayer in sufficient time so that the worshipers do not face any inconvenience.
The guidelines prevented mosques from collecting financial donations to organize meals for worshipers and ordered that these meals should be prepared and held in designated areas in mosque courtyards rather than inside the mosque.
It is also forbidden in mosques to take pictures or use cameras to broadcast worshipers or recite prayers by any means and prohibited the broadcasting of prayers via all kinds of media. The ministry also prohibited those attending mosques from bringing children.
What is the rule regarding loudspeakers in Saudi Arabia?
In 2021, the minister of Islamic affairs, Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, issued a circular limiting the use of external loudspeakers to only use the loudspeakers for Azaan (call for prayer) and iqamah (the second call for the congregational prayer).
He added that the decision indicates that “the loudness level of the devices should not exceed one-third of the degree of the loudspeaker device.”
In January 2023, the minister of Islamic affairs set the number of external loudspeakers at four which are only to be used in mosques to make prayer calls.