You Cannot Take A Selfie At 2 Of Islam's Holiest Sites Anymore

To protect and preserve the holy sites.

Cover image via AFP

Taking a selfie in Mecca and Medina during the Hajj and Umrah (minor Hajj) has now been forbidden by the Saudi government

The move to ban pilgrims from taking photos and videos using any devices for any purpose at Islam's two holiest mosques was taken by the Saudi Foreign Minister on 12 November and is imposed in Mecca's Masjid al-Haram, known as the Great Mosque of Mecca, and Medina's Masjid an-Nabawi, or 'The Prophet's Mosque'.

No longer possible.

Image via AFP

"To protect and preserve the holy sites"

According to Indonesia's The Jakarta Post, Saudi authorities stated that the ban was imposed to protect and preserve the holy sites and prevent unnecessary disturbances for those who wish to worship without distractions.

Millions of pilgrims who have travelled to Mecca for Hajj taking a photo while posing in front of the Kaaba to taking selfies on the upper floor of the Grand Mosque has been a normal routine

With the ban imposed now, the same is no longer possible.

Every Hajj and Umrah tour operator in their respective countries will be informed about the changes and will be tasked with informing the people.

Security guards at the two holy sites, who have traditionally always been hostile toward pilgrims taking photos or videos, have now been instructed that in the case of any violation of the ban to confiscate the photos and the camera if needed.

Hajj selfies, while common among pilgrims wishing to immortalise their Mecca moment, has always been a subject of controversy among conservative Muslims who have voiced out against it

A 2014 report by The Telegraph highlights the issue, which quoted people voicing out against the practice of taking selfies at Hajj.

"If photographs are only for personal memory and not for disseminating, then no problem. But if they were for the purpose of showing off, then they are prohibited, such as the photography that takes place at the (hajj) rites," a professor of Islamic Sharia law in the Saudi capital Riyadh was quoted as saying.

"It is better for Muslims to avoid them," he said of selfies.

Image via The Telegraph

What do you think of the ban on photos and videos at Mecca and Medina? Do you think people should be allowed? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

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