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Saudi Arabia: Mohammad Bin Salman bans Iftar in mosques, prohibits Imams from collecting donations for Iftar ahead of Ramadan 2024

The Ministry also restricted imams and muezzins in various regions of the country from collecting financial donations for organising Iftar feasts for those fasting and others.

Ahead of Ramadan this year, the Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman has issued an order banning Iftars in mosques. In an order dated 20th February 2024, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs issued a set of instructions for mosque employees to follow during the month of Ramadan.

The Ministry also restricted imams and muezzins in various regions of the country from collecting financial donations for organising Iftar feasts for those fasting and others.

“…Imams and muezzins in various regions of the Kingdom not to collect financial donations for Iftar projects for fasting people and others,” the order said.

In addition to banning the collection of donations for Iftars, the Islamic Affairs Ministry of Saudi Arabia also imposed a ban on organising Iftar feasts inside the mosques raising concerns regarding cleanliness.

“Iftar projects should not be held inside mosques due to concerns about cleanliness, so an appropriate place should be prepared in the mosques’ courtyards without the use of temporary rooms, tents, or the like, and that Iftar should be under the imam’s and muezzin’s responsibility, with the obligation of the one who breaks the fast to clean the place immediately after finishing foodt,” the ministry said.

Furthermore, the Ministry emphasised that cameras in mosques should not be used to record the imam and worshippers during the performance of prayers, saying that this undermines worshippers’ reverence and that prayers should not be broadcast on media of all kinds, including social media.

Notably, Ramadan 2024 is expected to begin on the 11th of March, with the sighting of the moon over Mecca, and conclude on the 9th of April 2024.

It is pertinent to note that since Mohammed Bin Salman was appointed crown prince in June 2017, he has brought several reforms to the country.

In October 2017, the ban on music performances was removed, ushering in a new era of cultural vibrancy in Saudi Arabia.

Another significant reform was brought in April 2018, when movie theatres were reopened in the country following a 35-year ban. Back then, the movie ‘Black Panther’ was the first to be released in the country’s theatres.

In June 2018, Prince MBS lifted the ban on women driving. This was the one-of-a-kind ban in the world which made women dependent on men for mobility. However, the lifting of the ban gave women a sense of autonomy even though gender equality still remains a distant dream for women there.

In 2019, Saudi women aged 21 and up were given permission to apply for passports and travel abroad without first receiving the consent of a male “guardian” (spouse, father, or other male family).

With this shift, the contentious guardianship system—which gives men almost full authority over women—was significantly eased.

Moreover, the Saudi Prince also introduced his vision to diversify the economy, reduce oil dependence, and foster social change. In 2016, Prince Salman launched the plan ‘Vision 2030’ chalking out the plans for the future of Saudi Arabia. A detailed OpIndia report on Saudi Arabia’s history and its shift towards reforms can be read here.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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