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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saudi cleric warns that a Saturday day off would invoke the wrath of Allah

In Saudi Arabia, there have been moves in the Shura Council to change the current weekend, Thursday and Friday, to Friday and Saturday in order to better sync with world economies.

This has been creating a backlash among clerics, who say that giving Saturdays or Sundays as days off would be forbidden.

Sheikh Saleh Fawzan, a senior cleric in Saudi Arabia, said that such a move would "invoke Allah's wrath" because this is a custom of Jews and Christians, the Jews taking off on Saturdays and the Christians on Sundays.

In his written fatwa, he said that Islam must be practiced uniquely, and that while it is forbidden for Muslims to imitate non-Muslims in general, it is especially bad to imitate Christians and Jews. Giving people vacations on Saturdays and Sundays is one of the forbidden imitations.

It is difficult to read this without recalling the saying that has reportedly been seen in graffiti and heard in the Muslim world - "first the Saturday people, then the Sunday people," as targets within Muslim-dominated countries.