Queen Elizabeth II: Saudi police arrest man after dedicating Umrah pilgrimage to late monarch
The Saudi Public Security agency said on Twitter the Yemeni resident was arrested for violating the Umrah rules by carrying a sign after he posted a video of himself during his pilgrimage with a banner that read: "Umrah for the soul of Queen Elizabeth II, we ask Allah to accept her in heaven and among the righteous."
It added that he has been referred to the public prosecution for investigation.
A Yemeni man has been arrested in Mecca by Saudi police while he was on his Umrah pilgrimage, which he dedicated to the late Queen Elizabeth II after she died last Thursday. The police said the man violated Umrah rules for carrying a sign with a message about the Queen. pic.twitter.com/d038dwxLVb— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) September 13, 2022
The arrest came after criticism was levelled against the Yemeni national on social media after his video went viral. Islamic law permits Muslims to perform Umrah pilgrimage on behalf of deceased Muslims but not people of other faiths.
Queen Elizabeth, who died on Thursday aged 96, was a devout Christian who also served as the supreme governor of the Church of England.
An Egyptian scholar of Al-Azhar, one of the world’s most prestigious universities of Islamic learning, made comments in an interview with a pro-government television channel on Monday denouncing the Yemeni man for carrying out an "unislamic act".
"The late Queen Elizabeth II does not have to perform Hajj or Umrah because she is not a Muslim," the scholar, Ashraf al-Najjar, told TeN TV.
"Hajj and Umrah are for Muslims," he said. "Islam has designated Mecca and Medina only for Muslims to hold these rituals, so it is not permissible for a non-Muslim to enter them."
He pointed out, however, that making prayers for non-Muslims, including the late queen, is permissible.
"The Prophet Muhammad prayed for a deceased Jewish man when his funeral passed next to him," he said, providing an example from Islamic heritage.