I was introduced to the unified Athaan system back when I visited Jordan 15 or so years back. What it is really is just a radio transmitter that relays an actual live athaan that is happening in the city’s main Masjid.

So technically it is a live athaan.. not recorded… but what that means is that the people who used to make athaan, now are only there for Ikama (the call to start prayer) and as back up just in case the unified system breaks down.

The eminent scholar Mohammad Al Albaani who was based in Jordan spoke out about this and called it a Bid’a. There is nothing you can really do about it… its not a religious decision its a political one made by a government that concerns a religious matter.

For years I hoped that this trend would not go beyond the boarders of Jordan… but alas it has reached the shores of Egypt. Thankfully the system breaks down regularly and the quality is atrocious (the Jordanians have had a longer time to perfect it) but at the end of the day it is still hated and is still seen as a bid’a. Which it is.

It occurred to me one day that if this trend keeps going then maybe one day they’ll just have a massive HDTV screen where the imam is and we’ll all have to just follow him in prayer. Maybe when the technology allows us we’ll have holograms that are more 3D.

And maybe as a homage… one of the Imam’s will look back at those praying behind him and mutter.”Help me Obi-Wan, you’re my only hope.”

September 30, 2010