Many believe that the new measures are aimed at opening up the fundamentalist Islamic society of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia, the Middle Eastern nation where Islam took birth and spurt out across the world, has introduced a set of new guidelines for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan in a measure to limit the influence of Islam in public life.
The royal government have banned the use of loudspeakers and CCTV camera at the mosque. It also forbade worshipers from taking children to mosques.
In a circular issued by the Saudi minister of Islamic affairs, Dr Abdullatif Al-Alsheikh said that all branches of the ministry must ensure compliance with the guidelines issued for the holy month of Ramadan.
The guidelines asked mosque clerics and the management not to film the prayers inside any mosque, nor provide the videos of prayers inside a mosque to any media outlet for publication.
Broadcast of prayers inside any mosque has also been banned.
As per the instructions, Tarawih (evening) prayers should not be prolonged and tahajjud (night) prayer in the last ten days of Ramadan should be completed, before the dawn call to prayer, with a sufficient time, so as not to be difficult for the worshipers”.
The Islamic country has also asked all mosques “to avoid hymns and intonations” during prayers.
It also says that “imams and muezzins are not absent except for extreme necessity” from the mosque during Ramadan.
The Saudi government has also asked organisers not to collect donations from worshipers at mosques.
In a controversial instruction, the government has asked mosques not to allow any worshiper to observe i’tikaf (stay in seclusion at mosque premises during the last 10 days of Ramadan) without a valid identification card.
The minister urged “worshippers not to accompany children, as this would disturb the worshipers and cause them to lose their reverence”.
For centuries, Saudi Arabia has been the most fundamentalist Islamic country in the world. The development holds significance for billions of Muslims around the world who see Saudi Arabia – home of Prophet Muhammad’s birthplace Mecca – as an epitome of Islamic values.
Millions of Muslims throng Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities of Islamic followers, for pilgrimage every year.
However, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud has sought to transform the country into a more open society by inviting huge foreign investments, organising Western concerts, and attracting foreign tourists.