A Saudi religious authority, Mohamed Saleh Al Minjed, issued a fatwa (religious edict) that making snowmen or snow animals is not compliant with the teachings of Islam. Supporters of the fatwa said that even if the snow creations are created out of good fun, they must be rejected, because it is what people in corrupted Western cultures do. Al Minjed said only figures without a “soul,” such as structures, food, or vehicles, can be recreated with snow.
“It is not permitted to make a statue of snow, even by way of play and fun,” the fatwa reportedly stated. “God has given people space to make whatever they want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so on,” Al Minjed’s declaration added.
Saudis in the country’s north were recently met with some rare snowy weather. Some northern residents made the best of the cold and decided to build snow camels in a tribute to Saudi culture, reports Gulf News.
Saudi bloggers revealed mixed feelings about the new fatwa. “It has no value in our traditions, and those who are fascinated by the West should emulate their inventions and sciences, not their culture,” said one blogger, reported Al Marshad news.
Another blogger thought that Saudis should be able to maximize the rarity of a sometimes hours-long snow season and do as they please. “We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and fun,” he wrote. “It seems that the only thing left for us is to sit down and drink coffee.”
Middle East Eye has found some entertaining snowmen that Saudis have built and posted pictures of on social media: