A unified call to pray system was announced by the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs and Awqaf yesterday.

The nationwide system follows successful trial in Abu Dhabi. It was launched at the Shaikh Khalifa Mosque by Mohammad Nakhira Al Daheri, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs and Awqaf.

A unified system has been in place in Jordan for 30 years and was implemented in Egypt this Ramadan after considerable debate.

The minister said the system does not contradict Islamic teachings. "This move does not conflict with Sharia, because if one man takes on the responsibility of making the call to prayer [azan], then the responsibility falls off the rest of the people in the town.

Al Daheri said the ministry decided to unify azan timings to avoid mosques calling for prayers at different times in the same neighbourhood. Mosques will be electronically linked so that one call to prayer can be heard at all mosques at the same time. The unified call in Abu Dhabi will be made from Khalifa Mosque. This, according to a prayer leader, will help unify iftar and suhour timings during Ramadan.