How loud is too loud? Competing rights to religious freedom and property and the Muslim call to prayer (Adhan or Azan) in South Africa
MetadataShow full item record
This article approaches the position of the call to prayer (adhan or azan) in South Africa from the perspective of both legislation and case law. Although only an unamplified adhan has religious status in Islam, Muslim religious authorities (ulama) have since the twentieth century also approved of, and permitted, an amplified adhan. The adhan has been rendered in both forms from South African mosques (masjids) for some 223 years. However, the unamplified adhan has recently come under the legal and judicial spotlight when the volume of its rendering by human voice was restricted. In August 2020, after prior attempts at municipal level and mediation had been unsuccessful, a high court in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, ruled that the sound of the unamplified adhan emanating from a mosque located on the premises of an Islamic institution (madrassa) in the city of Durban should not be audible within the house situated on nearby property belonging to a Hindu neighbor. Wide media coverage reported that the ruling was publicly decried and met with criticism. The Madrassa lodged an appeal in September 2020 and the matter is ongoing.