Friday, May 10, 2019

Unusual Reforms in Saudi Arabia During Ramadan

Saudi Arabia Tells Mosques to Lower Call to Prayer and Causes Controversy

Days before the holy month of Ramadan, the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs has given instructions to lower the sound of the Muslim call to prayer, (adhan) because of complaints from people who live near mosques who said that it disturbs them.

In a video posted on Twitter by the ministry, Minister of Islamic Affairs Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al Ash-Shaikh said that the call to prayer is an obligation but not at the expenses of others.

Al Ash-Shaikh explained that lowering mosques’ loudspeakers is important so they will not overlap with nearby mosques’ loudspeakers. He said, “It is causing confusion to the worshipers and residents of the nearby neighbourhood to the mosque, and loses its prestige and spirituality.”

Many Saudis agreed with the ministry’s decision and called for the government to impose fines on mosques that did not respect the guideline.

Others opposed to the ministry’s arrangement argue that the adhan should be loud, especially during Ramadan, saying it gives them spiritual comfort.

The ministry has also given instructions to “set the sound level to four because of mosques’ proximity to each other, in order to prevent disturbance and interference with other adhans, which disrupts worshipers in other mosques.”

Surprise! Shisha is back!

In its first session of Ramadan, on May 6, the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, or the Shura Council, approved the provision of Shisha products in the restaurants and cafes of Saudi cities, “according to specific regulations,” reported the Saudi newspaper Ajel (

The provisions were conditioned by the imposition of an up to 100% high tax rate on the suppliers.

The product is banned for individuals under the age of 18.

The decision appears to be in accordance with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform plan. The plan calls for opening the Saudi kingdom to the world.

Saudi Arabia has recently allowed women to drive and lifted the ban on cinemas and artistic festivals.

However, the proposal does not make reference to the ban of “shisha” in public places imposed a few years ago in Saudi Arabia.


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