Saudi Arabia has banned pilgrims from taking selfie photos and videos using any devices for any purpose at Islam’s two holiest mosques, effective immediately.
Indonesia’s Jakarta Post reports that visitors to the Haram in Makkah and Masjid-un-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) will be prohibited from taking photographs or videos at the two holy sites.
Saudi authorities say the ban will prevent unnecessary disturbances for those who wish to worship without distractions.
The Jakarta Post also reports that security guards have been instructed to “confiscate the photos and the camera if needed.
With the advent and advancement of camera smartphones in recent years, many pilgrims to both holy sites have posted pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter which shows their favourite scenes including tawaaf (circumambulation) around the Kaaba, trying to kiss Hajre Aswad (the black stone) or standing near the green dome of the Prophet’s (PBUH) masjid.
Several scholars have spoken out against “selfie fever” as “touristy behaviour”.
Famous scholar Sheikh Abdul Razzaq Al-Badr warned against taking photos during Haj, saying: “When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reached the Miqaat he would say: ‘0 Allah make this a Hajj without riya (showing off) and without trying to be heard of.’