Women pay to get ‘front row’ in Grand Mosques of Makkah and Madina

The Grand Mosque in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a historical monument as well as a heritage site in the history of Islam. Every day it receives the presence of millions of Muslims from not only in the Kingdom but also from Muslims around the world. It is considered a matter of pride and luck to be able to visit and sit inside the Grand Mosque that was built by the Prophet S.A.W. along with his Sahaba. People travel great distances to reach its doors. Though, some women, in particular, do not consider shame in throwing in a good amount of cash to other women who arrive at the mosque early, to guarantee a spot for them in the first rows of the mosque.[irp]

This practice has begun quite recently. From watching one woman cover space in the front rows of the mosque with either her children or handbags, to now witnessing a group of women carrying out the same practice. According to female guides at the mosque, these women arrive early at the mosque and are already paid up to SR 200 with the assurance that they will get a space in the front rows of the mosque. These women cannot be kicked out very easily and if an action is taken up against them by the guides, they are immediately attacked. The caretaker of the Grand Mosque has made a statement that such attitude and malpractice shall not be entertained.

The female guides are now fully endorsed by female police officers who shall do all the needful in order to put this rising culture at rest once and for all. The guides have also said that these women come in large number during the mid-months of Hijri, Friday nights, Thursdays and Mondays and during Ramadhan when there is an extreme crowd at the mosque. These women sometimes ask their friends to bring along their children who would help them a greater space more towards the front or towards the first floor of the mosque.

In Islam, it is highly disapproved for even anyone to make their way to the front of the mosque if come in late. If you have walked in late, stand or sit in the space that is available to you. Standing in front or in the last is no good to Allah if you are securing a place in this way. If the only reason to walk in is to think that you are better than the rest present, you are wrong. The purpose of Salah remains within the concept of equality. The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Alsheikh has issued a fatwa most recently that reserving places within the mosque is against the teachings of Islam.[irp]

These women, who guarantee spaces for money, earn enough during the busy months that can help them go through an entire year. The malpractice will need a lot of monitoring and prompt action if the situation has to be taken under control.

Source: Al Arabiya