April 20, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9914

Saudi Writer Fatima Al-Muzainy Calls On Authorities To Grant MRI Patients In Medina Right To Choose Music Over Mandatory Quran Recitation Recordings As Background Audio

April 20, 2022
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 9914

On April 2, 2022, Saudi writer Fatima Al-Muzainy published an article[1] in which she recounted her experience during her first MRI when she learned that listening to music was not allowed and that patients can listen only to audio recitations of the Quran. After listening to a Quran recitation for a few seconds, Al-Muzainy asked the technician to stop, preferring to listen to the noise of the MRI machine. Al-Muzainy argued that music is widely used around the world for treatment and relaxation and that patients in Medina might not be Muslim. She concluded by calling on the appropriate authorities to review their decision and allow patients to choose what they want to listen to during MRIs, saying: "Medina is not only a place of prayer but also a dynamic and diverse place which attracts people of different cultures, religions, and opinions."

The following is the full translation of the article.

No Music Allowed During MRIs In Medina, Says Machine Technician

"I had to get an MRI, and since it was my first time getting into that device, I was terrified of it and its coffin-like design. Trying to comfort me, the Asian technician started to explain to me how it functions and told me that it makes an annoying sound and therefore, he would give me headphones and I could communicate with him in case of emergency. He asked me what I would like to listen to and I answered with excitement that I like classical music. This is when he looked shocked and started to repeat supplications asking Allah for forgiveness.

"He then said: 'Here in Medina, listening to music is not allowed. People are only allowed to listen to the Quran. I then realized that he would ask me to choose something from the Quran. I gave up, let him choose, and entered the cold coffin, and the sound of the device started slowly, and it faded as a Quran reciter recited, 'A divorce is only permissible twice after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms,' Quran 2:229. At the end of the verse, I asked him to stop the recitation and decided to listed to the sound of the MRI machine."

"No Religious Position Related Exclusively To Listening To Music In Medina"

"Some may think that this is a minor detail; however, in reality, it is a situation with multi-layered problems. First, from a humanist perspective in the healthcare system, it is one of the most basic rights for patients to choose what makes them comfortable. Denying patients options that would be available to them in other parts of the world is a clear deficiency.

"It is well known that music is widely used around the world for treatment and relaxation. In addition, a patient might not be a Muslim at all, and there is no religious position related exclusively to listening to music in Medina."

"In Medina, We Listen To Music In Our Houses, Coffee Shops, And Shopping Centers, And Music Is Always Included In Our Celebration Of National And Family Events"

"With regard to the duality of Quran and music, it could be understood as a product of the Sahwa movement. Some are still comfortable with the idea of feeling guilty even if they did not commit any sins. We, the people of Medina are kind human beings. We listen to music in our houses, coffee shops, and shopping centers, and music is always included in our celebration of national and family events, and we have our own folklore and chants, and we are at peace with all of that, but when we are confined, we create a sudden exclusivity. Perhaps it is time to end the discussion regarding music. If it is religiously or traditionally permissible, then there is no need for ridiculous restrictions, at least in establishments that are expected to be totally neutral on controversial issues, such as hospitals."

Using Quran As Background Audio Constitutes Desecration Of Its Sacredness

"On the other hand, using the Quran as background audio constitutes desecration of its sacredness, and it could hinder its high status and spiritual value when it is mixed up with the shouts of salesmen in shopping centers, with the screaming of children during school activities, or with the annoying sound of MRI machines.

"The Holy Quran is a book for communing, performing prayers, recitation during retreats, for people to study, and for connections between people and the Supreme Authority; therefore, it should not be recited to those who would not listen to it, and it should not be a mere sound associated with our loud daily activities and affairs."

Al-Muzainy Calls On Authorities To "Raise Awareness Among Healthcare Technicians"

"I call on the appropriate authorities to review these issues and raise awareness among healthcare technicians in Medina in particular. Medina is not only a place of prayer, but also a dynamic and diverse place which attracts people of different cultures, religions, and opinions."


[1], April 2, 2022.

Share this Report:

 Fight Extremism - Support MEMRI