Skip to main content
News |

Religious scholar in Saudi Arabia bans snowmen

A fatwa banning snowmen and snowanimals has sparked heated debate on social media among Saudis
Saudi men make a snowman in the northern Aleghan Heights (AFP)

A religious scholar in Saudi Arabia has issued a religious edict banning the building of snowmen or snowanimals in the conservative Gulf kingdom.

Mohammad Saleh al-Minjed issued the undated fatwa, according to an article published by Gulf News on Monday, and said “building snowmen or any replica of an animal, even if it is for fun or recreation, could not be condoned”.

“Only lifeless things, such as ships, fruit and buildings could be imitated,” the fatwa is reported to have said.

Saudi Arabia is the second hottest country in the world, with temperatures topping 54 degrees Celsius in the summer. Snow is a rare occurrence among its desert strewn landscape but in recent days freezing temperatures have swept across the region and led to snow showers in the northern border region.

Despite Minjed’s fatwa, however, Saudis have been enjoying the snow in the Tabuk region, some 1,500km northwest of the capital Riyadh, and many have posted images online of their snow creations.

On social media the fatwa banning snow models has been widely shared and sparked heated debate among Saudis.

Some bloggers have expressed support for the announcement, according to Saudi news site Al-Marsad.

“It [building snowmen] has no value in our traditions and those who are fascinated by the West should emulate their inventions and sciences, not their culture,” an unnamed blogger was quoted as saying. 

On the other side of the debate Mishaal, an “angry” blogger quoted by Gulf News, was opposed to the ruling.

“We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun,” he posted. “It seems that the only thing left for us is to sit down and drink coffee.”

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.