The Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry has recently announced new rules and regulations for observing the holy month of Ramadan in 2023. However, the rules have sparked criticism and have upset many Muslims worldwide.
Analyst Sami Hamdi expressed his opinion on Twitter that the new rules are a move towards a new Saudi identity that does not prioritize Islam as a major pillar. He stated, “MBS is pushing Islam out of public life.”
The regulations include prohibitions on the use of loudspeakers, i’tikaf without identification, prayer broadcasts, and iftar in mosques. Starting in 2023, there will be a ban on donations for mosques and the prohibition of after-sunset iftar meals in mosques. Children are not allowed to pray in mosques, and worshippers must bring their identification documents. The new rules also require that prayers be kept brief and that volume levels must be kept low, with the exception of the main mosques in Mecca and Medina. Additionally, no financial donations should be collected for projects to feed people who are fasting.
After the order was shared on Twitter, there was disagreement from some users. One user acknowledged the rationale behind some points, but disagreed with others. The user emphasized that all Muslims should be treated equally, regardless of nationality or ethnicity, and that small tents should be allowed for people to gather, socialize, and connect during the holy month.
Other users called the new rules “pathetic nonsense” and “another attempt to slowly remove Islam.” It is important to note that Ramadan is a time of worship and celebration, and it is crucial to respect the traditions and practices of all Muslims during this sacred time.