Here’s a cool problem: You’re a devout Muslim with an awesome mobile phone--a BlackBerry, of course. You’re smart and aware, not just because you have a BlackBerry, but because you’re conscientious enough to silence it long before salat (prayer).
But one day, you’ve got a lot on your mind, you forget to silence it, and you get a call. Your ringtone is, cleverly enough, the adhan (call to prayer). Suddenly--mass confusion! Did someone actually start the adhan? Some people stand up, some remain sitting, and the imam looks mildly annoyed. Oh, the humanity!
Or what if you’ve got an ayah (verse) as your ringtone, but answer the call before the ayah is complete and it meaningfully changes the message? Ouch.
We’ve come a long way--thankfully--since Für Elise. You’ve been able to choose your own ringtones for more than a decade now, and in the last few years most mobile phones allow you to use an MP3 or other arbitrary file as a ringtone. Of course, when the phone goes off, hilarity often ensues. Or at least eye rolling.
Back to the point. Does it make sense to use the adhan or an ayah as a ring tone? Let’s see…
- Does it help your taqwa
- Are you performing ibadat (worship)?
- Are you being respectful to the ideas
represented by the adhan or Qur’anic verse?
- What if it goes off while you’re taking a dump? (Don’t pretend it hasn’t happened.)
Now, you’re the one who’s answering these questions, but the mufti who lives in my mind says:
- Questionable at best: see A Look at the Qur'an Ringtones Fatwa.
- Umm…not really.
- Mortification. Especially if it’s a
touchscreen device. (See Fatwa on Cellphones: No Koran Verse Ringtones in the Toilet)
It’s not often that I agree with a range of right-of-spectrum muftis (scholars), but it really seems inappropriate (not to mention unnecessary) to use the adhan or an ayah as a ringtone, especially when there are more ringtones than you can shake a Sony Ericsson W910 at. And you know at least one of them will help you will keep you taqwacore (although you probably don't need that going off in the mosque, either...)
What do you think? Am I totally off my meds? Should al-Azhar University actually ask Egypt’s cellular
companies to ban the ringtones? Do you use Qur'anic ayat or the adhan as your ring tone? What about the other kinds of material some muftis have suggested as alternates? The Egyptian fatwa suggests "religious songs or poems that praise the prophet" -- but some of these could still be problematic. What would be a good choice of ringtone if you wanted to be
reminded of God?