A scholar has warned that it is un-Islamic to take selfies during Hajj, the traditional Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Sheikh Abdul Razzaq Al-Badr claimed that the taking of photos might constitute showing off which is against the rules according to Arab News.
Whilst Hajj might not seem like the obvious time to take selfies, social networks like Twitter are already awash with pilgrims taking photos. Last year some pilgrims suggested the most holy sites such as the Kabbah were awash with mobile phone cameras and hundreds of thousands of pictures were shared.
Sheikh Al-Badr said: “It is as though the only purpose of this trip is to take pictures and not worship. And when they return home they say: ‘Come look at me, this is me on Arafat, this is me in Muzdalifah!’
“And we have seen some of the people, when they are ready to take the picture, they raise their hands in the appearance of humility, fear, and tranquility. And then after the picture is snapped they drop their hands.”
One pilgrim Ahmad was quoted as saying: “I was trying to pray Jumma in Masjid Al-Haram but a few people kept coming in front of me to film the Khutba (sermon) with their cameras. What happens to one’s khushoo (serenity in prayer) in such a situation is anyone’s guess.”
He added: “The number of people I’ve seen with cameras inside the Haram probably amounts to thousands during Umrah last year, and given so many people have camera phones, it’s an endemic not easy to stop,” he added.
At present there are no plans to ban photography during Hajj but the Saudi Arabian government is known to have upped security this year to prevent “irregularities”. The Al Arabia news service suggested 1.3m people were expected for Hajj, which starts today.
They report the Directorate General of Passports in Saudi Arabia had completed entry procedures for 1,365,106 pilgrims registered to attend this year. They say the number of pilgrims who arrived by air was 1,293,248, while 57,876 by land and 13,982 by sea.
Hajj is the annual opportunity for Muslims for make a pilgrimage to Mecca, which is one of the five pillars of Islam and is considered mandatory for those able to make the journey.