February 12, 2014
An unofficial market of "seat saving" is reportedly making waves in Saudi Arabia: female faithful are paying good money to women who can save them spots for prayer at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca.
The "seat savers" technique is to use clothing, purses, and even their own children to save seats for wealthier prayers who may arrive at the mosque just on time or a bit late, particularly on days when prayer attendance is high.
The Saudi Grand Mufti has issued a fatwa against the reserving of seats in the mosque. According to The Saudi Gazette, female guides working in the women's section regularly combat the practice of seat saving, and during the month of Ramadan (when many Muslims pray frequently at the mosque) such guides are supported by female police officers.
Many mosques worldwide, including all Saudi mosques, feature separate sections for women and men. This YouTube video shows just how crowded the Grand Mosque can get - and thus perhaps just how lucrative a seat-saving venture might be.
(photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim)
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