FACT-CHECK: Has Saudi Crown Prince MBS restricted Ramadan Activities?
by Zahack Tanvir
The radical pro-Muslim-Brotherhood presenter Sami Hachimi in his latest tweet on Wednesday claimed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has announced new orders to restrict Ramadan in Saudi Arabia, which is contrary to what Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs announced on 3rd March 2023.
Hachimi who is infamous for his anti-Saudi rumor mongering, claimed that MBS has restricted the following during the holy month of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia:
- No Loud Speakers.
- No Broadcast of Prayers
- No Itikaf without ID (state surveillance on the zealous)
- Keep Prayers Short
- No Collecting Donations
- No Kids in Mosques for Prayers
- No Iftar inside Mosques
The matter is absolutely opposite to what Hachimi claimed.
The English translation of the circular is as follows:
With the Holy month of Ramadan approaching for the year 1444 AH, and for the importance of preparing mosques to serve worshippers.
His Excellency the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance SheikhDr. Abdullatif bin Abdullaziz Al-Alsheikh directed all branches and sectors of the Ministry to work on the following:
First: Emphasis on Imams and Muezzin on the following:
- Full regularity in their work, and no absenteeism in the holy month of Ramadan unless absolutely necessary. After assigning the person performing the work for the period of absence, this mandate shall be with the approval of the Ministry’s branch in the region and the one on behalf has undertaken not to breach the responsibility. Absence shall not exceed the allowable period.
- Adherence to Umm al-Qura Calendar, emphasis on raising the adhan “call for prayer of the Isha prayer on time in Ramadan, and the iqamah performance of prayers according to the approved period for each prayer.
- Taking into account people’s conditions in Tarawih prayers, the completion of Tahajjud’s prayers in the last 10 days of Ramadan with enough time before Fajr adhan, so it won’t be hardship on worshippers.
- Abiding by the Prophet’s guidance in Qunoot Duaa – supplication at Tarawih Prayer and non-prolongation, and being limited to Jawame Duaa and the sahih supplications, and avoid hymns and intonation.
- The importance of reading some useful books on the mosque group, according to circulars which regulates that.
- Adhering to the directives issued regarding the controls for installing cameras in mosques, not using them to photograph the imam and worshipers during the performance of the prayers, and not transmitting the prayers or broadcasting them in the media of all kinds.
- That the imam be responsible for authorizing the itikaaf, verifying that there are no violations from them, knowing the data of the itikaaf, and requesting the approval of the sponsor approved for non Saudis, according to the directives notified in advance regarding the Itikaaf controls.
- Not collecting financial donations for projects to iftar the fast (and others).
- Iftar for the fasting people – if any – should be in the places prepared for that in the courtyards of the mosque, and under the responsibility of the imam and the muezzin, and that the one responsible for iftar the fast for the fasting person should clean the place immediately after finishing the iftar, and not create any temporary rooms or tents and the like to hold the iftar in them.
- He urged worshipers not to accompany children, as this would disturb the worshipers and cause them to lose their reverence.
Second: The branches of the ministry direct the servants of mosques and maintenance institutions to redouble their efforts and work, for the cleanliness and preparation of mosques, and to ensure the cleanliness of women’s prayer rooms in mosques.
Third: The observers should follow up on the implementation of these directives, submit daily reports on their tours to their references, and a statement of the observations monitored – if any, in order to process them immediately.
Exposing Hachimi’s Lies
It is as clear as a day the directives announced by the Ministry focuses more on making Ramadan more productive and effective for the Muslim observants.
Taking pictures of Imams and worshipers have been prohibited, and at the same time the prayers broadcast service will take place only through official channels, rather than random media outlets.
Prohibiting Itikaf without any ID proof is a rational and logical decision. It requires a confirmation from the sponsors of the non-Saudi residents, and at the same time organizers have to adhere to the safety of the worshipers. Saudi Arabia hosts millions of pilgrims every year. Non-vigilant incoming of people may cause security lapses, and the Kingdom does its best to provide safety and security to the worshipers.
Keeping prayers short is just a non-explanatory claim. The circular clearly states that, prayers should include ‘Sahih’ – authentic supplications, and to avoid hymns and intonations which are unnecessary.
Donations in Saudi Arabia take place under a proper supervision, to avoid the misuse of funds especially by the Islamist and Terrorist organizations. In the past, non-regulatory funds were sinisterly collected on the basis of humanitarian grounds. Eventually the donations would be used for terrorism. Kingdom’s wise decision to stop sporadic donations should be applauded.
Iftar in mosques are not banned. It specifically states that, Iftar should happen under the responsibility of Imam and Muezzin, in the courtyards of the Mosques, rather than in private tents and rooms. Moreover, the places should be cleaned immediately after the food service.
It’s recommended not to bring in the children in the mosques out of reverence of the place, as it would disturb the worshipers. Prophet Mohammed ordered the mandatory attendance of children in the mosques for prayers after they reach 10 years of age. Children under 10 years are exempted from the order.
Moreover, this is a common trend in the South-Asian mosques as well, where small kids are not recommended in the mosques as their screams and commotion can cause disturbance to the worshipers.
Hachimi has been running smearing campaigns against Saudi Arabia to serve his sinister agenda to tarnish the moderate image of the Kingdom and Mohammed Bin Salman. MBS’ vision to bring back the moderate Islam that existed before 1979 has caused unrest among the ranks of extremists, and they do their best to discredit his efforts.
It’s incumbent upon every sane person to verify the news and rethink before spreading.
Zahack Tanvir is a Saudi-based Indian national. He is Director of Milli Chronicle Media London. He did a certificate program in Counterterrorism from the University of Leiden, Netherlands. He tweets under @ZahackTanvir.