Manama: The highly unusual sight of a man circumambulating the Kaaba in Makkah’s Grand Mosque on roller shoes has sent Saudis scurrying to religious edicts and explanations to decide whether religion allows the practice.
A short clip of the man performing Tawaf (walking around Kaaba) as part of the Umrah rituals went viral on the Internet.
Social media users were sharply divided whether religious texts allow abled men and women to resort to roller shoes or mini skate boards to go round the Kaaba seven times as required from people performing Umrah or pilgrimage.
Most users seemed shocked that the man used roller shoes, saying that if he was physically able, he should do it on foot.
And if he had health issues, he should have hired a handicap chair or a wheelchair, Saudi news site Al Marsad reported on Monday.
Poor Saudi, a blogger, said that religious scholars needed to speak out quickly on the issue.
“If they lapse into silence, then we might have new innovations and inventions that might not be within the spirit of Umrah or pilgrimage,” he posted. "I believe that this man should have walked like everybody else since he seemed to be fit enough to stand on the roller shoes and not fall,” he said.
Abdul Rahman said that he was looking forward to a religious edict to decide on the issue before it becomes overwhelming.
“My view is that roller shoes should not be allowed,” he said. “People usually circumambulate Kaaba and focus on their prayers and supplications to God. This man and others would be focusing rather on keeping their balance on their moving shoes. They should not be allowed,” he said.
Bu Nawwas, another blogger, said he was concerned roller shoes would soon be the fashion in the Grand Mosque.
“I believe that a ban should be imposed on such gadgets because many people would try to use them if there were no restrictions,” he said. “There are enough chairs to help the disabled,” he said.