The Office of the Supreme Leader

Broadcasting Religious Ceremonies on Loudspeakers

question| Our usaynīyyah[1] broadcasts Qur’anic recitation and the mourning ceremonies of Imām Ḥusayn on external loudspeakers with such high volume that it can be heard from outside town. This is greatly distressful to those living in the vicinity of the usaynīyyah, but the people in charge and the speakers are unyielding in their insistence that this manner of broadcasting must be continued. Is their approach right?
answer| Although holding religious ceremonies and honoring the “hallmarks of faith” (shaʻāʼir of religion)[2] on suitable occasions in a usaynīyyah is a strongly commendable act of devotion, yet it is incumbent that the believers avoid causing distress or annoyance to other people, especially those living in the vicinity of the venues in which such ceremonies are held. To this end, those who direct such ceremonies must take appropriate measures—such as lowering the volume of the loudspeakers or turning off the external loudspeakers and having only the interior loudspeakers on—to ensure that the religious ceremonies in question do not cause distress or annoyance to the public.

[1] usaynīyyah is a place that Shia believers dedicate to the memory of Imām Ḥusayn and use to hold ceremonies throughout the year commemorating the holy occasions of the Shia calendar. Due to the fact that it is not consecrated as a mosque, the requirements that the believers must observe when entering and when present at a mosque are inapplicable to the usaynīyyah. For instance, believers need not partake of the major ritual purity (al-ahārah min al-adath al-akbar) to enter a usaynīyyah.
[2] Shaʻāʼir of religion, translated here as “the hallmarks of faith,” is a label derived from the Qur’an. It denotes any rite, ritual, or event that embodies and exemplifies the essence of the Islamic faith in an exceptionally pronounced and profound manner. Venerating and upholding these “hallmarks of faith” in any legitimate manner possible is recognized as constituting a highly praiseworthy act of devotion.
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