By Halima Athumani
Uganda's Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje has issued a fatwa (religious edict) banning phone ringtones using verses from the Quran, the Muslims' holy book.
"It is haram for people to use the holy Quran verses as ringtones," Nsereko Mutumba, the public relations officer of Uganda's Muslim Supreme Council, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday, citing the new fatwa.
Mufti Mubaje made the announcement during a burial ceremony on Friday, according to a statement issued by Mutumba.
"Muslims are required to pay maximum attention whenever the Quran is recited and not indulge in any disrespectful actions or behaviors," the statement quoted Mubaje as having said.
He cited Surat Al- A’raf in which Allah says: "When the Quran is read, listen to it with attention and hold your peace; that you may receive mercy."
The Muslim scholar, who heads the Muslim Supreme Council, insisted that when people use Quran verses as ringtones, they always interrupt the recitation either to cancel the call or to answer.
This, Mufti Mubaje insisted, is not acceptable, let alone the fact that sometimes the phones ring in places where Quran recitations are forbidden, like restrooms.
"Suppose your phone rings in the toilet, do you want Allah's word in the toilet?" asked spokesman Mutumba.
The Muslim Supreme Council, which represents the Muslim community in Uganda, has circulated the fatwa among all mosques in the African country.
"We have informed everyone. We hope the media shall help us spread the word," Mutumba told AA.
"If you want to identify yourself with Islam use Islamic songs, not the words of the Quran," he said.
According to Mutumba, there are about 10 million Muslims in Uganda making up around 27 to 30 percent of the total population.
"We have 10,000 mosques countrywide," he told AA.
The mufti is elected by Muslim jurists and leaders during a special council. He remains in office until the age of 75.