'Hajj selfie fever' on Muslim pilgrimage criticised by Islamic scholars

'Boasting and showing off' are prohibited on the pilgrimage

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The Independent Online

Many Muslim pilgrims at this year’s Hajj have been snapping photos of themselves as mementos of their trip, with the crowds of Mecca behind them, but the phenomenon has been criticised by some scholars.

The Arab News site has reported some of the concerns raised by Muslim scholars about the selfie craze. Sheikh Assim al-Hakeem, based in Jeddah, argued that the photos go against the spirit of Hajj, he said: “Photography without a legitimate reason is an issue of dispute among scholars. However, despite this difference of opinion, there shouldn’t be any dispute when it comes to the real meaning of Hajj and the essence behind it. It is based on sincerity and following the sunnah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) when he went for Hajj, he said: “O, Allah, I ask of you a pilgrimage that contains no boasting or showing off.”

Zahra Mohammad, an Islamic studies teacher in Riyadh, agreed, and said the selfies were a form of bragging, she told the Arab News. “I have seen pilgrims in Masjid al-Haram taking selfies with the Kaaba in the background and this selfie is then posted on Facebook making it a social media event and ruining their act of ibadah by ‘humble-bragging’.”

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Pilgrims circling the Kabaa at Hajj

Until relatively recently camera phones were not allowed to be taken inside the holy mosques, but the rules have been relaxed and so some say it will be hard to stop what has been described as “selfie fever.”

One pilgrim said: “The number of people I’ve seen with cameras inside the Haram probably amounts to thousands during Umrah last year, and given so many people have camera phones, it’s an endemic not easy to stop.”

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