Dubai: The Saudi Shura Council will vote tomorrow (Monday) on a bill revoking the decades-long practice of obliging all shops and economic facilities to close during prayer times, local media reported.
According to the Arabic daily newspaper Okaz, a number of Shura Council members put forward a recommendation upholding a proposal by the Islamic and Judicial Affairs Committee not to obligate commercial establishments to close during daily prayer times except for Friday (jumah) prayers. This includes gas stations and pharmacies.
All markets, shops, restaurants, petrol stations and facilities come to a standstill during prayer time in Saudi Arabia in order to allow employees and people to perform them on time.
Saudi Arabia is perhaps is the only Muslim country where this happens.
“There is no legal basis for closing shops for prayer after amending the bylaws of the authority," said Dr Al Ghaith, a judge, Islamic scholar, a member of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council and the King Abdul Aziz Centre for National Dialogue, noting that forcing shops to close their doors and people to pray right at the beginning of prayer time, and to do this in a mosque, stands no ground either in Shariah or in law.