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 What the ruling on Selfies at HAJJ – The new craze

 By Khalil Charles

  Years ago, perhaps back in the nineties, pilgrimage goers making the Hajj and deciding to take a photograph may have been greeted with the words ‘Haram, Haram” or “Fear Allah.”

But now it seems to pose in front of Islam’s most sacred sites like the Kaaba and Mount Arafa and extend your arm to take a ‘selfie’ is the fashionable thing to do.  The once sanctified of religious rituals has been overrun by technology and Hajj is now the place to be seen for those who wish to disseminate their exclusive pictures on line through social media accounts.

Now Imams and religious leaders have spoken out, some reacting strongly against the growing practice. Ajmal Masroor, a British Imam who gave an interview to American news channel CNN criticized the practice saying the Hajj was a spiritual, personal and private event different from any other experience in life. “Taking photographs on such an occasion turns the individual making Hajj from a worshipper into a tourist!”

Adding its voice to the criticism, English language newspaper, the Arab News recently published a headline saying, ‘Say No to selfies.” The paper published in Saudi Arabia pointed out the Hajj should not be about boasting or showing off.

According to the paper, who spoke to a number of scholars, Selfies contradict the spirit of Hajj and turn the event in a self-centered spectacle. One scholar went as far as to suggest that taking selfies was ‘defying the wish of the Prophet.”

The acid test that Muslims sometime ask themselves when making a judgment about the permissibility of an action is to ask the question, “Would the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) do this? Or what would the Prophet (pbuh) have done in this situation? 

Many worshippers have further intensified the difference of opinion in the debate by defending the practice on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Others have stated that there is no clear ruling that makes the practice haram.

However, whatever the ruling, its seems that a record number of Pilgrims this year will either share private photos of the 2014 Hajj experience with loved ones or will be sharing their selfies with the whole world on hashtags and other social media pages.

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