Question: A man can divorce his wife by telephone. Similarly, an oath taken by telephone is valid. It is permissible, too, to appoint a deputy for zakat and udhiyyah by telephone or to do a trade agreement by it. Why are these permissible by telephone despite the fact that the sound emitted by a loudspeaker is not counted as the actual voice of the imam in salat?
Even though a speaker's actual voice and his/her voice emitted from a telephone, radio, or loudspeaker and which is formed by electricity and the magnet are strikingly similar to each other in a way difficult to distinguish between, they are not the same. The former is original while the latter is only similarity. An example of this is moving images on television. Images we see are not those people themselves.
It is permissible to use a medium (such as corresponding or appointing a deputy) in divorcing a woman or in giving zakat. As the telephone or the loudspeaker is considered a medium like a letter, the use of this instrument is permissible in divorcing a woman or giving zakat. However, in calling out adhan, performing salat, and reciting the Qur'an al-karim and listening to it, it is a condition that one should do them in person. Another's doing them in lieu of a person does not count. For example, if one is videotaped while performing salat and if this video is played when the time for a fard salat starts, one will not be considered to have performed salat. If one tells another person to go to listen to the recitation of the Qur'an al-karim and the latter listens to it, the former will not be considered to have listened to it. It is written in all fiqh books that it is not permissible to follow any voice other than that of the imam or that of muadhdhin performing the same salat as the followers. For this reason, the ruling regarding giving zakat and divorcing a woman differs from the ruling regarding calling out the adhan and performing salat in this regard. It is permissible to appoint a deputy for some acts of worship such as zakat and udhiyyah, but one cannot appoint a deputy for salat. A loudspeaker or a letter is like a deputy. Do not confuse them.
It is written in fiqh books:
A watermelon seed sown in soil turns into a big watermelon. The watermelon is not the seed any longer. The seed is rotten and gone. Likewise, the words uttered to the microphone of a loudspeaker are gone, and other sounds come out of the loudspeaker. The sound produced by the loudspeaker is not a human voice despite the quite close resemblance. When the voice of a muadhdhin goes into a loudspeaker, it is converted into a sound produced by electricity and the magnet. The sound we hear is not the voice of the imam or the voice of the muadhdhin, but a sound produced by electricity and the magnet. The adhan called out through a loudspeaker cannot be called adhan. It is adhan only when it is called out by a pious Muslim man with his own voice. It is not called adhan even when it is called out by a sinner, child or woman, even if it is his/her actual voice. It is very wrong to claim to add something beneficial to acts of worship. Islamic scholars do not do any changes of their own accord. They understand whether a change made to the religion is bid'at or not. It is obvious that the loudspeaker is bid'at, not sunnat, because our Master the Prophet stated, "A person who does not do acts of worship as we do is not from us." (Se'adet-i Ebediyye)
Question: Since the sound emitted from a loudspeaker is not the actual voice of the speaker, isn't it permissible to listen to the sound of musical instruments emitted from a loudspeaker?
A loudspeaker is a musical instrument, too. That is, it is not permissible to listen to the sound of musical instruments from it. A musical instrument does not produce sound by itself. To be able to produce sound, with the drum you have to strike the tightly stretched skin with a stick, with the reed you have to blow, and with the loudspeaker you have to articulate sounds. (Se'adet-i Ebediyye)
Question: It is bid'at to use loudspeakers and other musical instruments in adhan and salat. Then why is it permissible to preach on television or by using a loudspeaker?
It is permissible, even thawab, to broadcast beneficial programs through the radio, television, or loudspeaker. Even though the sound emitted through them is not the actual voice of the speaker, it is still permissible to use loudspeakers, stereos, cassettes, and CDs in order to transmit sermons, pieces of advice, and beneficial information. What matters here is to transmit information to people, even though the voice is changed. The case is the same if it is transmitted through writing. It makes no difference in this regard whether it is the actual voice of a human or is emitted through the instrument. One can preach on television, but it is not permissible to follow an imam in salat on a TV screen. Our religion ordered that the actual voice of a person be used in adhan and salat. It is not permissible to make changes to our religion. The following hadith-i sharifs say:
(A person who does not do acts of worship as we do is not from us.) [Miftah-ul-Janna]
(Any deed not resembling that which we do is rejected.) [Mizan-ul-Kubra]
(If a nation introduces something bid'at in their religion, Allahu ta'ala will eradicate a sunnat similar to it. He will not bring it back until Doomsday.) [Maktubat-i Rabbani]
Question: As a loudspeaker is considered a musical instrument and as it is an act of disbelief (kufr) to incorporate musical instruments into acts of worship, isn't it an act of disbelief, too, to sing anasheeds by employing the use of a loudspeaker?
A loudspeaker is used both as a musical instrument and as a transmitter of speeches. If it is not used for sinful purposes, the use of it is not considered to be mixing it into acts of worship. For example, a drum is a musical instrument. If it is used as a table for eating meal, one will not be considered to have played it or to have committed the sin of playing it. Drum skin is not sinful. What is sinful is to use it as a musical instrument. Similarly, it is not sinful to use the drum as a waterskin or as a hot water bottle. If a bottle in which there is wine is washed and if it is filled with water, there will be no harm in using it. If shrill pipes are tied to one another and if water is passed through them, water cannot be considered to have mixed with musical instruments.
On the radio, if music is never played or if there is no program that goes against Islam, then what is the fault of a radio? It is not sinful, but good, if programs that do not go against Islam and Islamic knowledge are broadcast by it. For this reason, it is written in our books:
"Islamic scholars have always approved of scientific innovations. So useful broadcasting via TVs, radios, and loudspeakers everywhere is thawab. However, it is not permissible to do acts of worship using a loudspeaker." (Se'adet-i Ebediyye)