Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Acoustics of Muslim Striving: Loudspeaker Use in Ritual Practice in Pakistan

  • Naveeda Khan (a1)
Extract

The protagonist of Intizar Hussain's novel Tazkira (1987) is a hapless muhajir, or refugee, in Lahore, Pakistan in the period shortly after the 1947 Partition of India, which witnessed the pell-mell transfer of Hindus and Sikhs to India and Muslims to Pakistan. He writes that while others were busy seizing abandoned sites in which to live, he was unable to feel at home anywhere. To compound his sense of dislocation, bu amma, his elderly companion, complains bitterly that she misses the sound of the azan, the call to prayer, in the first house they rent in an outlying area of Lahore, as yet forested and relatively un-peopled. Bu amma recollects how the call used to punctuate her days in her haveli, or mansion, in a busy neighborhood back in India. Without it, her days stretch out ahead of her, running uneventfully one into the other. How is it possible, she wonders, that one could be in this place created for Muslims and not hear the azan? In their next house, bu amma quickly realizes what it means to live in the shadow of a mosque. It was once a barkat (blessing), she grumbles, that has been turned into a curse by that satanic instrument (shaitani ala), the loudspeaker. The protagonist describes bu amma's efforts to shut out the sounds from the mosque that now invade her thoughts, shred her concentration, and make her efforts to say her prayers a daily battle. They eventually have to leave this house as well.

Copyright
Corresponding author
nkhan5@jhu.edu
References
Hide All
Bedford Ian. 2001. Interdiction of Music in Islam. Australian Journal of Anthropology 12, 1: 114.
Bowen John R. 1993. Muslims through Discourse: Religion and Ritual in Gayo Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Cheetham Tom. 2005. Green Man, Earth Angel: The Prophetic Tradition and the Battle for the Soul of the World. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Datta Pradip Kumar. 1999. Carving Blocs: Communal Ideology in Early Twentieth-Century Bengal. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Dehlavi Maulana Kifayatullah. 1972. Kaifiyat-ul Mufti. Delhi: Kutubkhana Aziza.
Eickelman Dale and Anderson Jon W., eds. 2003. New Media in the Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.
Hashmi Habibur Rehman. 1999. Faza'il-e Azan o Iqamat (Virtues of azan and iqamat). Multan: Maktaba Qasimiyya.
Helmreich Stefan. 2007. An Anthropologist Underwater: Immersive Soundscapes, Submarine Cyborgs and Transductive Ethnography. American Ethnologist 34, 4: 621–41.
Hirschkind Charles. 2006. The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics. New York: Columbia University Press.
Hughes Patrick Thomas. 1895. A Dictionary of Islam: A Cyclopaedia of the Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies, and Customs Together with the Technical and Theological Terms of the Muhammadan Religion. Lahore: Kazi Publications.
Hussain Intizar. 1987. Tazkira (a Memoir). Lahore: Sang-e Meel Publications.
Katz Marion Holmes. 2002. Body of Text: The Emergence of the Sunni Law of Ritual Purity. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Khan Hasan-uddin and Holod Renata, eds. 1997. The Mosque and the Modern World: Architects, Patrons and Designs since the 1950s. London: Thames and Hudson.
Khan Naveeda. 2006. Of Children and Jinn: An Inquiry into an Unexpected Friendship during Uncertain Times. Cultural Anthropology 21, 6: 234–64.
Lajpuri Maulana Mufti Hafiq Qari Sayyid Abdu'r Rahim Qadri . 1992. Fatawa-e-Rahimiyah. Vols. 1–3. Karachi: Darul Ishat.
Larkin Brian. 2008. Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria. Durham: Duke University Press.
Lee Tong Song. 1999. Technology and the Production of Islamic Space: The Call to Prayer in Singapore. Ethnomusicology 43, 1: 86100.
Masud Muhammad Khalid, Messick Brinkley, and Powers David S., eds. 1996. Islamic Legal Interpretations: Muftis and Their Fatwas. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Messick Brinkley. 1993. The Calligraphic State: Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Metcalf Barbara Daly. 1997. Bihisti Zewar: Perfecting Women (Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi's Bihishti Zewar, A Partial Translation with Commentary). Lahore: Idara-e-Islamiat.
Metcalf Barbara Daly. 2009. Husain Ahmad Madani: The Jihad for Islam and India's Freedom. Oxford: Oneworld Publications.
Mittermiaer Amira. 2007. The Book of Visions: Dreams, Poetry and Prophecy in Contemporary Egypt. International Journal of Middle East Studies 39: 229–47.
Oxford English Dictionary (OED). 2011. “Loudspeaker.” At: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/110477?redirectedFrom=loudspeaker (accessed 13 Apr.).
Padwick Constance E. 1996. Muslim Devotions: A Study of Prayer Manuals in Common Use. Oxford: Oneworld Publications.
Pandey Gyanendra. 1990. The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Parkin David and Headley Stephen, eds. 2000. Islamic Prayer across the Indian Ocean: Inside and Outside the Mosque. Richmond: Curzon Press.
Punjab. 1935–1938. Legislative Assembly Debates, 1935–1938. Lahore: Government Printing.
Punjab. 1966. Provincial Assembly Debates, 1966. Lahore: Government Printing.
Roberts Michael. 1990. Noise as Cultural Struggle: Tom-Tom Beating, the British, and Communal Disturbance in Sri Lanka 1880–1930s. In Das Veena, ed., Mirrors of Violence: Communities, Riots and Survivors in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Schafer R. Murray. 1977. The Tuning of the World. New York: Random House.
Shafi Maulana Mufti Muhammad. 1996. Alat-e Jadida ke Shari'i Ahkam (The orders of the Shari'a on modern inventions). Karachi: Idarat-ul Maruf.
Shahab Qudrutullah. 2005. Shahabnama. Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publishing House.
Skovgaard-Patteron Jakob. 1997. Defining Islam for the Egyptian State: Muftis and Fatwas of the Dar Al-Ifta. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
Sterne Jonathan. 2003. The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction. Durham: Duke University Press.
Su John J. 2001. Epic of Failure: Disappointment as Utopian Fantasy in Midnight's Children. Twentieth-Century Literature 47, 4: 545–66.
Tejani Shabnum. 2007. Music, Mosques and Custom: Local Conflict and ‘Communalism’ in a Maharastrian Weaving Town, 1893–1894. South Asia 30, 2: 223–40.
Thursby G. R. 1975. Hindu-Muslim Relations in British India: A Study of Controversy, Conflict, and Communal Movements in Northern India, 1923–1928. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Truax Barry, ed. 1999. Handbook for Acoustic Ecology. 2d ed.Vancouver: World Soundscape Project, Simon Fraser University, and ARC Publications. At: http://www.sfu.ca/sonic-studio/handbook/Schizophonia.html (accessed Mar. 2011).
Von Grunebaum Gustave and Caillois Roger, eds. 1996. The Dream and Human Societies. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 51 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 284 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.