And you thought that Saudi clerics had too much time on their hands…
Well, it turns out that the matter of birthday parties and whether they are a blessed occasion or simply heathen devil-inspired celebrations from the West is a topic that is creating devision in the Saudi fundamentalist clerical establishment (House of Shakha).
The Saudi’s most senior cleric denounced them as a foreign influence that was undesired. But wait! Some disagree. Another prominent cleric said “Happy Birthday” is A.O.K.
That leaves young Hala Masaad, a Saudi woman about to turn 18, with mixed feelings as to whether to have paaarrrtttyy. And you thought you had problems.
The controversy started when a prominent cleric – though one not employed by the state clerical establishment – said on a popular satellite TV program that birthdays are permissible as long as the Arabic word for feast – eid – not used for the word carries religious meaning – mostly – in Arabic.
That sparked a quick rebuttal from the always insightful and witty Skeik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheik. al-Sheik is the grand mufti – legal jurist – and what he says goes for the nation. The charged back that the celebrations have no place in Islamic society and then listed a whole host of other foreign costumes unwelcomed in the Kingdom.
(Grand Mufti [but not really] Skeik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheik – doesn’t he look like the face of wisdom. He should be called Skeik el-abd Hakim)
“Christians have Mother’s Day, an eid for trees and an eid for every occasion. And on every birthday, candles are lit and food is given out,” said the grand (but not really) Sheik.
One previous ruling by the late grand mufti, Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Baz, said Muslims should not mimic the West by celebrating birthdays – even that of Prophet Muhammad, which is celebrated in most other Muslim countries as a holiday.
Sheik Abdullah Manie, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said the remarks by the Sheik giving permission were a “slip of the tongue that he should retract.”
This clarification on birthdays could now give the always hungry-for-more-tyranny Saudi religious police the right to now crash birthday parties.
Saudis need “to fight for their right to paarrrttty!”.