Senior Saudi scholar calls for postponing noon prayers to avoid scorching sun

June 23, 2010
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A prominent Saudi religious scholar said that people could delay their midday prayers to avoid excessive heat.

“The Islamic ministry should tell all mosques to postpone the noon prayers (Dhohur) until the last moment possible in hot areas in order to help worshippers avoid the scorching sun,” Shaikh Abdulmohsin Alabikan, said. “Such a delay is recommended in Islam when the conditions are too harsh and people have problems with the excessive heat,” he said.  

Muslims pray five times a day, and each of the prayers must be performed within a slot of time. Alabikan said that the noon prayer, the hottest time of the prayer, should be performed near the end of the time slot when the temperature has gone down.

However, online comments on his call varied from full support for caring about worshippers to outright attacks on his character.

“Muslims should not be afraid of the heat and should be able to brave all elements and confront all challenges,” one blogger wrote.

“We are fortunate to have better living conditions than our predecessors, so we must be able to withstand the heat for fleeting minutes as we head to mosques and perform prayers,” said another.

Howvwer, Shaikh Abdulmohsian, who has a high number of followers, was also praised by commentators for his compassion.

“These are extreme conditions an deserve special edicts to help people. There are so many of them who cannot bear this kind of weather,” wrote a blogger.

“We are grateful for Shaikh Abdulmohsin for his far-sightedness and for promoting the spirit and not just the text of religious practices. Islam does not people to suffer, and that explains his prayer postponement call,” another blogger said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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