LUCKNOW, India Muslim clerics at a leading seminary are warning against using verses from the Quran as ring tones for their cell phones, calling the practice un-Islamic.
Clerics at the Dar-ul Uloom seminary in the northern Indian town of Deoband issued an edict banning the use of Quranic verses or Muslim call to prayers as ring tones, saying doing so violates Islamic law.
Such ring tones are popular among Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state. They are most commonly used by people in their mid-40s and 50s, said Mukesh Sinha, a mobile phone company executive. Many consider the religious tunes a reminder of their faith.
"Whenever my phone rings, I hear these verses that stress the values of hard work and honesty, and I feel closer to my religion," said Faiz Siddaqui, a bank manager.
But seminary official Mohammed Asumin Qazmi said the ring tones use Quranic verses for entertainment.
"Anyone who persists in using these should be ostracized from society," Qazmi said Nov. 18 from Saharanpur, a city 280 miles northwest of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.
Mufti Badru-Hasan, a leading cleric in Lucknow, said he supported the ban.
"One should hear the complete verse of the Quran with a pious mind and in silence. If it is used as a ringtone, a person is bound to switch on the mobile, thus truncating the verse halfway," Badru-Hasan said. "This is an un-Islamic act."