Saudi Arabia: fatwa issued against snowmen

Theologian recalls Islamic ban on representing human figures

12 January, 19:46

    Snow in Saudi Arabia Snow in Saudi Arabia

     (ANSAmed) - DUBAI - A wave of bad weather that has hit the Middle East with temperatures dropping below zero, has brought snow, ice and death across refugee camps where thousands of Syrian refugees have sought shelter. The stormy weather, however, has brought moral disarray in Saudi Arabia, where a fatwa, or religious edict, has been issued against snowmen.

    Well-known theologian Mohammad Saleh Al Minjed has declared that ''making a snowman representing a human being or an animal, be it for fun or a game, is unacceptable for Islam''. Only objects like boats, fruit or huses can be made without infringing religion.

    In the Islamic world, a ban is in place against representing human figures or animals, either in paintings or sculptures.

    This mainly stems from an absolute ban on representing God and the prophet, according to an Ahdith, a teaching of the Prophet Mohamed, and not in the Koran, which then became wider to embrace mankind and animals - because only God can create them.

    Abundant snowfalls over the region of Tabuk, 1,500 km north of the capital Riyadh over the past few days, has inspired the creation of a few snowmen and several camels, many wearing the scarves of local teams.

    The fatwa circulated immediately on social networks though it was not approved by all.

    ''I don't see anything plausibly human in a shapeless snowman'', said a commentator.

    ''We can enjoy some snow for just a few days, if not hours, a year and, as always, there is someone who wants to rob us of the fun and enjoyment'', said blogger Mishaal, wondering if Saudis are only allowed to ''sit and drink coffee''.

    However, in the ultraconservative oil kingdom, the anti-snowman edict has drawn support.

    ''They are not values of our tradition'', said blogger Al Marshad, suggesting that ''those fascinated by the West should emulate its inventions, sciences, not its culture''.

    Meanwhile some solve the problem with a pinch of pragmatism and some daydreaming and, rather than a snowman, admitted they made a ''beautiful Ferrari''. (ANSAmed).

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