The Government of Saudi Arabia announced this Sunday that from now on women will no longer be able to access the tomb of Muhammad, one of the spaces most visited by Muslims who come to the holy city of Medina.
The Saudi Ministry of Pilgrimages indicated that the mobile application with which pilgrimages to the holy places of Mecca and Medina are managed will no longer allow women to reserve a view of the prophet’s burial site, published the newspaper Okaz, which usually presents official government information.
With this application, which began to be used with the onset of the pandemic, almost two years ago, you can reserve tickets to the Great Mosque of Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque, where is his tomb, in Medina, and obtain a code that is scanned to the entrances of these.
In general, according to the interpretation of Islam in Saudi Arabia, one of the most restrictive and conservative in the world, women are prohibited from visiting cemeteries, but until now there was generally indulgence in regard to the prophet’s tomb, although in some periods visits had also been prohibited.
According to the Ministry, the visit to the tomb of Muhammad is now restricted to men, while they can ask for a permit to visit “Al Rawda”, the courtyard of the Prophet’s Mosque located between the pulpit and the tomb where he met with his friends.
The grave is in the mosque built by Muhammad after his arrival in Medina, where she spent part of her life and died, and Muslims come to visit her although this ritual is not part of the rituals of “hach” or major pilgrimage (mandatory at least once in their life for those Muslims who can afford it) or of the “umra”, or minor pilgrimage.
In recent years Saudi Arabia, an ultra-conservative country that has imposed multiple prohibitions and limitations on women’s rights for decades, has lifted some of them in recent years, such as driving or playing sports, in an attempt to present itself to the world as a modern country.
(With information from EFE)