Clerics across Uttar Pradesh have expressed anger over the ‘selfie fever’ that has apparently gripped Haj pilgrims this year.
They have termed clicking pictures and selfies with holy Kaba in the background as ‘haraam’— acts forbidden by Allah.
Going a step further, clerics from Bareilly and Aligarh said they would circulate a ‘caution’ message among people during the Friday prayers advising them to avoid clicking seflies while performing Haj.
“Clicking selfies while performing the series of rites in and around the city of Mecca is totally objectionable,” said Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, imam of Lucknow’s Eidgah.
“Anything for the sake of publicity is ‘haraam’ — be it clicking and posting pictures or selfies on social networking sites,” added Rasheed.
He, however, said if the selfie was taken for the sake of informing parents and relatives that they have reached safely, there was nothing wrong in it.
Rasheed’s reaction was an outcome of the widespread debates on the social networking sites where conservative clerics have criticised the clicking of selfies, saying it distracted the mind of the pilgrim.
“It’s time to connect with Allah and purify the soul. Haj selfies should not be taken as they breach concentration,” stated a tweet.
A similar war of words was also witnessed on Facebook where a Haji had posted a selfie with his thumbs up while performing rituals. Another picture showed a group of Hajis waving their hands for a selfie.
Sayed Kafeel Ahmed Hashmi, head mufti at the Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat, too strongly condemned the act of snapping a selfie and termed it totally unacceptable.
“While going for Haj, one leaves the family and loved ones behind to meet Allah. But, if a pilgrim moves with the thought of showing off and clicks selfies, it is of no use to embark on Haj,” said Ahmed Hashmi.
Dr Zahid Ali Khan, Sunni theologist and a mufti from Aligarh, termed clicking photographs an act against Shariat law.
“Clicking photographs and showing it off in public is unpardonable. You are there to offer prayers and to meet Allah. But clicking selfies and posting it on the social networking sites is a sin and should be avoided at such pious moment of time,” Khan said.
Convener of Sunni Ulema Council, Haji Mohammed Salees of Kanpur, advocated holding workshops to make the aspiring Hajis aware of the dos and don’ts during next year’s Haj camps.
“There are many who are not even aware of the facts. By holding a workshop we can guide their moves in order to avert such situation,” he said.
But despite all the reprimands, Hajis continued to post their selfies on Twitter.
“So nice to keep for looking back on (sic), I have a picture I snapped of the Kaba at Umrah. I love seeing it,” a Haji tweeted.