May Allah give us strength and awareness to overcome heedlessness.
Mobile use in Saudi mosques a new phenomenon
No sooner has the prayer session ended in the Grand Mosque, than worshippers start to talk on their cell phones
By Abdul Rahman Shaheen, CorrespondentPublished: 13:21 August 29, 2010
Riyadh: This Ramadan, the use of mobile phones in the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah is emerging as a new phenomenon.
No sooner has the prayer session ended in the Grand Mosque, than worshippers start to talk on their cell phones, despite the fact that communication is often not clear because of the large crowds and pressure on the network.
The practice has been criticised by a number of religious zealots, who, besides the fact that it’s inappropriate in a place of worship, claim it’s a distraction from religious duties. They point out that there’s no need for it.
Gulf News observed a large number of pilgrims talking on mobiles while doing their tawaf (circumambulation) or sa’i (long walk between the mountains of Safa and Marwah).
The pilgrims take advantage of the time it takes to do sa’i to talk to their families and friends or send text messages. Some of them even discuss business projects while performing Umrah.
The use of mobile phones is particularly worrying when thousands of worshippers leave the mosque at the same time. Many insist on stopping to finish a chat while actually obstructing the flow of movement out of the Grand Mosque.
Another distracting aspect of the mobile use is the flashing light that occurs when people use it to take photos. Many pilgrims are keen to capture scenes from the mosque on camera. An observer, positioned on the third floor, said he counted 60 mobile camera flashes per minute.
Those who defend the use of the phones claim they’re needed to locate friends and family in the Grand Mosque. They also say they have a God-given right to capture their historic moments in the sacred place of worship.