U Turn! Saudi cleric withdraws fatwa on ‘sin city’
A Saudi cleric who had issued a fatwa (religious edict) earlier this week barring travel to Dubai has decided to withdraw his statement.
Sheikh Mohammad al-Shanar issued his fatwa via Twitter last week, stating the spread of “immoralities” in the Emirati city as the reason behind his fatwa.
However, in a statement issued Wednesday, the cleric said: “Following my fatwa, there have been plenty of reactions by many people, including honest scholars who are well-informed of daawa (preaching of Islam).
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“And so, after discussions, contemplation and reconsideration, and because people’s travel aims vary and the rightful path must be followed, I announce the end to a bar on travelling to Dubai unless it's a necessity.”
He added that after receiving comments on the fatwa from Islamic scholars in the Emirates and other countries, he came to the conclusion that “it's a duty [to do what’s right].”
He also made efforts to cement relations with the United Arab Emirates.
“The Emirati people are our brothers and we love them and appreciate them. They are well-known for maintaining their good traditions and for their concern over religion. God willing, no one will be capable of ruining this friendship and unity among the sons of the one religion.”
Shanar initially issued the fatwa to answer a question that asked whether a woman could visit Dubai without a male guardian.
He had said: “A woman asked me if it she may go to Dubai without a guardian. I answer her saying: going to Dubai is forbidden, whether she is accompanied by a guardian or not because the [spread of immoralities] and sins increase if traveling without a guardian was not a necessity,” Shanar responded.
His fatwa prompted a wave of reactions from social media users and from other religious scholars, with many criticizing him as “odd” and “offensive,” according to posted tweets.
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