Home Insights and Teachings How to use your voice? How to employ the media?

How to use your voice? How to employ the media?

By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

Perhaps we can glimpse in some Quranic Ayahs the features of the answer to these two questions: “How to use your voice? How to employ the media?”, explicitly at times and implicitly at others.

At first, we cite the following Quranic Ayah mentioned as part of the recommendations of Luqman to his son: “And lower your voice; surely the most hateful of voices is the braying of asses (donkeys).” (31: 19).

We notice here an emphasis on keeping the voice low in a way that psychologically keeps man away from raising his voice, by denuding the high voice from any aspect of beauty and rationality. It is as if he is saying: Even if you raise your voice to the highest levels, your screaming will never reach the level of the donkey’s braying and hee-hawing, and you yourself get annoyed by it just as the others do, for it is the most hateful among all other voices.

What is your opinion regarding this level and this simile?

Actually, the issue does not stand any discussion or debate afterwards, for no man accepts to get that low; thus, he would pay attention and remember that whenever he wanted to raise his voice.

That is why those who resort to screaming for the success of their provocative speeches lose their poise and social status when the disposition of the society develops in a way that it would only listen to the low voice away from any noise and fuss.

Another Ayah implicitly mentions the [exclusive] case in which the high voice can be used and its role that is determined according to how high one should go to make the others hear him.

As for the other cases, one would lose the said goal, and if he raises his voice, it would be as if he is messing around and acting irrationally… Allah says: “And if you utter the saying aloud, then surely He knows the secret, and what is yet more hidden.” (20: 07).

This Ayah points out that one should not raise his voice when addressing his Lord, for He knows the secret and what is yet more hidden, so what does one need to raise his voice for? In this context, we cannot but cite the following Ayah: “And remember your Lord within yourself humbly and fearing and in a voice not loud in the morning and the evening and be not of the heedless ones.” (07: 205).

From all these Ayahs, we can deduce the wisdom behind the various pitches of voice Allah created for man, so that he would use every pitch in its appropriate position. For example, it is unlikely for man to use inside the house the same pitch he uses in the farm to make the others who are hundreds of meters away hear him.

This is not restricted to the human voice; rather, it extends to include the voices coming out of the media outlets, such as radios, televisions, speakers, recording apparatus and the like, for these devices too have several pitches man can employ according to his needs.

Perhaps we can deduce the goal behind these methods mentioned in the Quran to prevent man from using his high voice in cases in which the high voice is not needed, and the goal is to make him train his human taste on employing the functions of his body calmly and rationally, without offending himself and the others.

Islam wanted that to be part of the mandatory codes of conduct Muslims had to commit to when addressing the Prophet (p.), and perhaps this might extend to include the other sacred Islamic leaderships (Imams), as mentioned in Al-Hujrat Surah: “O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and do not speak loud to him as you speak loud to one another, lest your deeds became null while you do not perceive.Surely those who lower their voices before Allah's Messenger are they whose hearts Allah has proved for guarding (against evil); they shall have forgiveness and a great reward.(As for) those who call out to you from behind the private chambers, surely most of them do not understand.And if they wait patiently until you come out to them, it would certainly be better for them, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (49: 02-05).

We notice in another Ayah how the Quran calls on man to keep a normal level of sound, even when observing the acts of worship; thus, he should not raise his voice much or lower it to the level that he would not even hear himself. Rather, he should keep a moderate level that delivers the aspired meaning without making noises or causing a fuss, and the Ayah is: “And do not utter your prayer with a very raised voice nor be silent with regard to it, and seek a way between these.” (17: 110).

It is worth noting that the fact that Islam rejects loud voices when not necessary is not restricted to one position and not another, for the issue has to do with the nature of the voice and not the content; thus, there is no difference between the Quran and others, as some naïve people believe that they have the right to raise the volume of the speaker to the fullest if it was to broadcast the recitation of the Quran or a sermon and the like, claiming that religion imposes on others to succumb and surrender to that… Actually, this conception is wrong, for Islam wants man to listen to the Quran, sermons and others with a serene and devoted soul, and this cannot take place if the voice was so loud that it causes tension and anxiety.

Many great scholars issued a Fatwa in which they forbade using loud speakers in an annoying manner, if it harms the people and even if it was used to broadcast Quranic recitation…

[Extracted from the book “general Islamic concepts”]