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Are Wordings Of Azaan Against Islam As Well As The Constitution Of India?

Azaan Meaning Islam Constitution
India that is Bharat known for its unity in diversity through its pluralistic society approach where there are numerous religious groups that practice diverse forms of worship and practice different religions, rituals, rites by keeping a religious harmony by respecting one another. A country with the biggest democracy in the world all because of its strong principles that are engraved in our Constitution i.e., Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic & Republic.

A country whose majority population is non-Islamic notwithstanding their Right to Life listens to the voice blown from the loudspeakers daily for at least five times a day and no one makes a real fuss over it despite numerous judgements having been passed against the use of loudspeakers as it is not an essential and integral part of Islam, but still the majority of this nation chooses to blindfold their eyes just to show their respect and understanding towards other religion in the name of Secularism. 

Yes, we are talking about Azaan, an Islamic call to prayer, recited by a muezzin daily on loudspeakers for at least five times a day to propagate the principles and fundamental purpose of Islamic morality that is LOVE: love for GOD and love for God’s creatures. Azaan is a call of a reminder that one shall never forget the Islamic religious conception i.e., mankind must behave morally and treat each other in the best possible manner to please God. A call to prayer just to spread the teachings on morality, righteousness, good character and the body of moral qualities and virtues as prescribed in Islam. Notwithstanding the violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India for the use of loudspeakers, Azaan has become the biggest example of Secularism in this Nation.

Emergence of Azaan as the biggest example of Secularism or Theocratism?

Secularism has always been an elephant in the room in India since its integration in the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1976. The objective of inserting the said word was to spell out expressly the high of secularism and integrity of the nation on the ground that these religious institutions are subjected to considerable stresses, strains and that vested interests have been trying to promote their selfish ends to the great detriment of the public good.

It is a matter of thought that - was Secularism able to put a fullstop over these religious institutions that are interested to promote their selfish ends in the name of religion or has it become a mere tool for promotion of their selfish deeds for the great detriment of the public good?

Azaan an Islamic call to propagate morality, love and righteousness, that we all must have heard while being at our home or while working in our office or while taking our evening walks but the sound from the loudspeakers never stops, because the non-Islamic population of this Nation always chose to stand on the Secular Heights even if they have to sacrifice their own rights. But have we all ever wondered, what actually Azaan conveys daily for five times a day?  

Let’s know the exact meaning of Azaan in the language that majority of the population of this Nation understands in, just to understand the gravity of the situation. 

                  TRANSLATION OF AZAAN IN ENGLISH & HINDI

1.     Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar - Allah is the almighty and greatest. 

अल्लाहु अकबर-अल्लाहु अकबर,  अर्थात्‘अल्लाह सबसे बड़ा है।’

2.      Ash-hadualla ilaha ill-Allah- I bear witness that there is ‘NO ONE WHO SHOULD BE PRAYED OTHER THAN ALLAH’.

अश्हदुअल्ला इलाह इल्ल्अल्लाह,अर्थात्‘मैं गवाही देता हूं कि अल्लाह के सिवाय कोई पूज्य, उपास्य नहीं।’

3.     Ash-hadu anna muhammadar-rasulullah - I bear witness that Mohammad is a messenger of god.

अश्हदुअन्न मुहम्मदुर्रसूलुल्लाह, अर्थात्‘मैं गवाही देता हूं कि (हज़रत) मुहम्मद (सल्ल॰) अल्लाह के रसूल (दूत, प्रेषित, संदेष्टा, नबी, Prophet) हैं।’

4.     Hayya-as-Salah – Come for the prayer (Namaaz).

हय्या अ़लस्-सलात, अर्थात्‘(लोगो) आओ नमाज़ के लिए।’

5.     Hayya al-Falah - Come for success and prosperity.

हय्या अ़लल-फ़लाह, अर्थात्‘(लोगो) आओ भलाई और सफलता के लिए।’

6.      As-salatu Kheyrum-Minan-nawm – Wake up and come for Prayer because (Namaaz) is better than sleeping. (announced only in the morning Azaan)

अस्सलातु ख़ैरूम्-मिनन्नौम, अर्थात्‘नमाज़ नींद से बेहतर है।’

7.      Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar– Allah is the almighty and greatest.

अल्लाहु अकबर-अल्लाहु अकबर, अर्थात्‘अल्लाह सबसे बड़ा है।’ 

8.      La ilaha illa Allah – NOBODY ELSE SHOULD BE PRAYED OTHER THAN ALLAH.

ला-इलाह-इल्ल्अल्लाह, अर्थात्‘कोई पूज्य, उपास्य नहीं, सिवाय अल्लाह के।

Translated by: Firoz Bakht Ahmed (Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad) 

Now as we can see from the translation of Azaan, one thing is very clear from its second and eighth line that it is totally against the principles and fundamentals of Islam itself, because if we go by the Islamic religious conception i.e., mankind must behave morally and treat each other in the best possible manner to please God. But on the contrary, the second and eighth lines of Azaan are hurting the feelings of people of other religion and disrespecting them by announcing that “NO GOD IS WORTH PREACHING EXCEPT ALLAH”

Is Azaan a cloud on the horizon?

Most of the people don’t even know the meaning of Azaan. Taking advantage of it, over the years, some passages containing interpretation of core principles of Islam have been misquoted by radical Islamist institutions thereby rendering the said interpretations out of context, clearly in contradiction to the exceedingly moral principles of Islam. Various petitions were filed for prohibition on use of loudspeakers for Azaan, as it started disturbing people’s peace. But when people really understand these misleading wordings of Azaan, it gets very derogatory to even listen to it, as in the 2nd and 8th line it is clearly stated that “NO GOD IS WORTH PREACHING EXCEPT ALLAH”मैं गवाही देता हूं कि अल्लाह के सिवाय कोई पूज्य, उपास्य नहीं” ।, then what about the faith and belief of the people of other religions? Isn’t this exactly why secularism was actually added to address this very situation in the first place in order to stop these religious institutions that are trying to promote their selfish ends to the great detriment of the public good?

This is derogatory and discriminating in nature for the rest of the non-Islamic population of this Nation and by using loudspeakers, they make this listen to everyone five times a day and by doing so it is not just against the principles of morality under Islamic religious conception but under Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India as well, by creating an environment of religious differences by announcing 

La ilaha illa Allah – NO GOD IS WORTH PREACHING EXCEPT ALLAH, अल्लाह के सिवाय कोई पूज्य, उपास्य नहीं।’

On the other hand, in Islam according to Al-Ghazali under chapter 2, much emphasis has been attached in Islamic tradition on developing strong moral values, where faith is considered incomplete without having sense of morality. So, is this the sense of morality Azaan is propagating by disrespecting the faith and beliefs of people of other religion(s)? Is it right in a Secular country like India? 

Now intellectuals may think that if majority of the population doesn’t even know what Azaan says then, how come it can create an environment of religious differences? and how can it lead to the great detriment of the public good? Actually, it has already created an environment of religious differences by leading its own people on the path of the great detriment of the public good. 

To remove this dogma, we should first understand that Islam is the second-largest practiced religion in India comprising of 14.61% of the total population. According to the census, India is the country with the third largest Muslim population nation outside Muslim-majority countries with approx. 204.54 million people identifying themselves as adherents of Islam as per 2015-2016 census.

So even if the majority of the population is not able to understand the meaning of Azaan it is important to note that 204.54 million people of the same nation are able to understand what is announced five times a day and if they are able to understand then they are learning what they are hearing, whose adverse effects were witnessed by all through the macabre tale of the Kashmiri Pandits massacre that took place on 19th January 1990, which is also referred to as the black day of our country. We should all forgive but never forget, when only one Islamic call was repeated from Azaan i.e., 

La ilaha illa Allahअल्लाह के सिवाय कोई पूज्य, उपास्य नहीं।’

through every Masjid from all corners of the valley, not for prayer but to eradicate the non-Islamic population from Kashmir as the Valley was fallen prey to few power drunk head and ego inflated self-proclaimed ‘kashmiri Akaas’ whose satanic whims once provoked the gullible and incited Kashmiris to wash their hands in blood of their own brothers in the name of Allah. In that case Secularism will die thousand deaths but the dream of a Secular nation will never be able to achieve as a large sect of this nation will never be able to develop an understanding and respect for the people of other religions if they continue to listen La ilaha illa Allah-NOBODY ELSE SHOULD BE PRAYED OTHER THAN ALLAHअल्लाह के सिवाय कोई पूज्य, उपास्य नहीं।’

To understand it further, we need to understand what psychologists call it - ‘the illusory truth effect’.According to the illusory truth effect the tendency to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure is the phenomenon was first identified in a 1977 study at Villanova University and Temple University of Philadelphia, U.S.A where it was found that repetition makes statements easier to process relative to new or unrepeated statements, leading people to believe that the repeated conclusion is the only truth. So, essentially the more you say something, the more it sticks in people’s head and the fun part is it doesn’t even have to be true and that is the problem. 

 

Legalities On Wordings Of Azaan

Secularism means developing an understanding and respect for different religions. But, what Azaan is speaking on loudspeakers for five times a day is not only against the principles of morality protected under Article 25(1) but also against the principles of Secularism, isn’t it? As being Secular means equal status of all religions without any preference in favor of or discrimination against any of them. It was said in the judgement of Aruna Roy v. Union of India that, 

  • ‘the essence of secularism is non-discrimination of people by the state on the basis of religious differences. Secularism can be practiced by adopting a complete neutral approach towards religions or by positive approach by making one section of religious people to understand and respect religion and faith of another section of people. Based on such mutual understanding and respect for each other’s religious faith, mutual distrust and intolerance can gradually be eliminated’.
  • His Lordship then quoted Gandhiji who said “the real meaning of secularism is “Sarva Dharma Sambhav” meaning equal treatment and respect for all religions”.
Do you think that announcing the second and eighth line of Azaan on loudspeakers daily are talking about giving equal treatment and respect to all religions? Religion is a private thing, rightly said by Tajamul Hussain, a Muslim representative from Bihar in the constituent Assembly that;

  • “everyone attains salvation through his thinking or through his religion, no person is competent to say that attain salvation through my religion, because every religion is supreme for their followers, it should be practiced privately”.
Now intellectuals may say that practice and propagation of religion via medium of Azaan is well within the Right to Freedom of Religion protected under Article 25 of the Constitution. But it comes with a provisio that is called ‘Edification’ which means to instruct someone in a way that will uplift them morally, spiritually or intellectually. This can be traced from the following judgement of Rev Stanislaus vs Madhya Pradesh, 1977 SCR (2) 611- In this court held that, ‘propagate means right to exposition of the tenants of its religion for the edification of others’.

Do you think that by announcing La ilaha illa Allah-NOBODY ELSE SHOULD BE PRAYED OTHER THAN ALLAHअल्लाह के सिवाय कोई पूज्य, उपास्य नहीं।’ on loudspeakers, Azaan is propagating ‘Edification’ in the society or it is developing an environment of hate speech and inciting religious distress by demeaning and developing differences by propagating a derogative approach towards the people of other religions? 

According to the United Nations (UN), hate speech is understood as, ‘any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor. This is often rooted in, and generates intolerance and hatred and, in certain contexts, can be demeaning and divisive’. So, if one goes by legal aspect - pronouncing of Azaan is also in contradiction with Section 153 (A) of Indian Penal Code, 1860 which states, 

  • ‘Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both’.
In Islam -“I-slam” – itself means peace then how can a peaceful expression of religion like Azaan can be a hate speech? To simplify it further we have to understand the gravity of the situation through a landmark case in U.S.A of free exercise of religion,

  • Where the court held that ‘the government has no role in determining religious truth and peaceful expression of beliefs, including religious views that might offend some listeners is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of US from infringement by the federal government as well as state government. The group in question was Cantwells who were Jehovah’s Witnesses, they believed they had a scared duty to bring their message to others. They carried religious materials with them, including pamphlets, books and records. They also had a portable record player, which played an anti-Catholic message called “Enemies”. Jesse Cantwell stopped two Catholic men on the street. The men agreed to listen to the record, but reacted angrily when they heard it and were tempted to hit him and told him to leave. Thereafter, the Cantwells were arrested for solicitation without a permit and for inciting a breach of the peace’.
Azaan, an Islamic call to prayer, recited by a muezzin daily on loudspeakers for at least five times a day is not just spreading hate speech in the name of propagation of religion but is also encouraging incitement amongst  204.54 million Muslims of this Nation by saying daily 

Ash-hadualla ilaha ill-Allah-NOBODY ELSE SHOULD BE PRAYED OTHER THAN ALLAHअल्लाह के सिवाय कोई पूज्य, उपास्य नहीं।’

According to the UN, incitement is a very dangerous form of speech, because it explicitly and deliberately aims at triggering discrimination, hostility and violence, which may also lead to or include terrorism or atrocity crimes. 

Now as we all have already discussed that how wordings of Azaan are completely in violation of the basic structure of the Constitution of India as it is in violation of principles of Secularism, against the mindset of Morality under Article 25(1) and is in contradiction with Section 153(a) of IPC, 1860 for propagation of hate speech in the name of religion as it lacks ‘Edification’, but the big questions still stands,

CAN STATE INTERVENE TO STOP THE HATE SPEECH PROPAGATING IN THE NAME OF RELIGION, BECAUSE RIGHT TO PROPAGATE RELIGION IS A RIGHT GUARANTEED UNDER ARTICLE 25 OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION?

So, State can definitely intervene in this, to promote and to safeguard the foundation of secularism from destroying and it will not affect their freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of The Indian Constitution. Because, Article 25 (2) (a) says that States can intervene in religious activity associated with any other community to promote secularism.

According to Article 25 (2) (a) - State has the power to regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice.

It was clearly said in Bajoe Emmanual v. State of Kerala (1984) JSCC 615 that “If religious practices run counter to the public order, morality and health or a policy of the Government to uphold the sovereignty and integrity and unity of the Nation then the said religious practices must give way for the benefit of the people and the nation as a whole”. 

 

Conclusion

It is to be deeply understood that, every religion that takes humanity on the path of edification shall be respected, and every God associated with its respectable religion that teaches mankind about righteousness should be honored. Because it is not the God(s) who form these religion(s) or ask people to worship them, it is the consolidation of the people’s feelings towards their deity(s) upon which their whole culture, tradition(s), ritual(s), festival(s) revolves around. 

So, announcing NO GOD IS WORTH PREACHING EXCEPT ALLAH in Azaan does not remain just a religious doctrine for adherents of Islam to propagate but it actually challenges the entire religious existence of the non-Islamic population of this nation which is in sheer contradiction of principles of public morality protected under Article 25 of the Constitution of India. And is also in sheer contradiction of Islamic principles whereby according to chapter 2 of Al-Ghazali, where faith is considered incomplete without having sense of morality.

It was also rightly said by Tajamul Hussain that “everyone attains salvation through his thinking or through his religion, no person is competent to say that attain salvation through my religion, because every religion is supreme for their followers”. Even the father of the nation agreed to this principle that for the benefit of the society and the nation as a whole; 

“I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason & is in conflict with morality”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             - Mahatma Gandhi


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