Saudi Arabia Imposes Restrictions on Ramadan Celebrations.

Saudi Arabia has implemented limitations on Ramadan festivities, including the use of loudspeakers for prayer broadcasts.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins on March 22, is a time for fasting, prayer, and introspection. Saudi Arabia has put many prohibitions and restrictions on the practice. These include, among other things, restricting the use of mosque loudspeakers, capping donations, and prohibiting the broadcasting of prayers within mosques.

Sheikh Abdullatif Bin Abdulaziz Al-Alsheikh, minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance, laid forth ten requirements for kingdom citizens to adhere to throughout the month of Ramadan in a paper that was published and distributed on Friday.

The aforementioned instructions said that such meals should be cooked and held in specified spaces in mosque courtyards rather than within the mosque and prohibited mosques from soliciting financial donations for hosting them. The imam, who conducts Islamic prayer sessions, and the muezzin should be in charge of serving these meals (the official who proclaims the call to the daily prayer five times a day at a mosque).

These two officials were required to be present throughout the whole month, save in cases of "grave need," according to the ministry's directives. They must make sure that the night prayers, Tahajjud, and the evening prayers, Tarawih, are finished in enough time to avoid disturbing the worshippers. They must also permit the i'tikaf, or seclusion, in the mosque, during the final 10 days of Ramadan.

In mosques, it is also forbidden to take pictures or use cameras to broadcast worshippers or the execution of prayers. The Ministry barred visitors from bringing kids to mosques since doing so would annoy others and undermine the concept of devotion.

The restriction on the volume of the loudspeakers that broadcast the call to prayer is one of the rules that have been kept from past years. According to its circulars, the Ministry's instructions also encourage worshippers to study helpful publications about the mosque.

Muslims all around the world have reacted negatively to these divisive limitations, with many detractors viewing them as an attempt by the Saudi monarchy to reduce the role of Islam in public life.

The Ministry's spokesman addressed concerns in a phone interview with the Saudi news outlet Al-Saudiya, saying, "The Ministry does not prevent breaking the fast in mosques but, rather, organizes it so that there is a responsible person present and will have facilities within the framework of preserving the sanctity and cleanliness of the mosque."

Additionally, he asserted that the prohibition on recording and airing prayers was put in place "to safeguard platforms from exploitation and was not imposed due to suspicion of imams, preachers, or lecturers but rather to avoid any mistake, especially if it was unintentional."

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