Cairo: Saudi authorities have said that the use of outdoor loudspeakers at mosques in the kingdom must be limited to proclamation of adhan or the call to Muslim prayer, and the Iqamah or the second call made immediately before initiation of the prayer.
The step was made by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Call to employees of mosques ahead of Ramadan that starts next week.
The ministry also pointed out that the sound level should not exceed one third of the amplifier volume.
Last week, the ministry issued a set of instructions including a ban on live transmission of prayers from mosques via all types of media during Ramadan.
The ministry also banned the use of cameras at mosques to film imams and worshippers during prayers.
As part of regulations for mosques, the ministry also said would-be organisers of iftar banquets, a Ramadan feature, must submit applications for approval and obtain permits. It demanded non-government organisations offering iftar meals to worshippers at mosques during Ramadanto coordinate with mosques’ imams.
Private groups and individuals holding iftar parties must adhere to a set of guidelines endorsed by the ministry, including avoidance of wastefulness and extravagance in meal distribution.
They are also obligated to get meals from the shops licenced by municipalities. If they receive donations of iftar meals in kind, they have to collect them from the approved stores.
Employees at mosques across the kingdom are, moreover, banned from collecting donations for financing the iftar schemes, which must be held in designated areas under the supervision of imams or muezzins or persons in charge of raising the adhan. The ministry has instructed that iftar areas must be cleaned following the iftar end.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called for sighting the crescent of Ramadan on Friday evening April 1 to determine the start of the lunar month.
According to astronomical calculations, Ramadan is due to begin on April 2 this year.