#HajjSelfie goes viral on Twitter, sparks outrage from Muslim clerics

#HajjSelfie goes viral on Twitter, sparks outrage from Muslim clerics
Millions of Muslims traveling to Mecca have caught “selfie fever,” angering some Muslim clerics for snapping pictures of themselves at holy sites during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Many young Muslims believe that posting selfies on social media is the best way to communicate with their families and document precious moments.

“I’m taking a selfie with Kaaba behind me to post on my Facebook so my family and friends can see me. That’s the way we communicate these days – no need to call,” Reuters quoted Turkish student Mehmet Dawoud as saying.

“Selfies are just a way to make the memory last in the coolest possible way. Haj is always seen as something very serious and for older people. Selfies make it cool again,” said Egyptian architect Amir Marouf.

Others have criticized the social media craze, saying it takes away from prayer and selflessness, and serves as a distraction from the seriousness of the religious pilgrimage.

Many clerics have looked down on the selfie phenomena, at times even banning cameras from the premises.

“The Prophet...when he went for Hajj, he said: 'O Allah, I ask of you a pilgrimage that contains no boasting or showing off.' Taking such selfies and videos defy the wish of our Prophet,” Huffington Post quoted Jeddah-based scholar Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem as saying.

Muslim pilgrims take pictures for the pilgrims as they pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca October 1, 2014. (Reuters/Muhammad Hamed)

Millions of Muslims are making their way to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The trip must be carried out at least once in a lifetime as a mandatory religious duty, if a person can physically and financially afford the journey.

This year it falls on October 1-6, with the date varying according to moon sightings.

One of the most trending pilgrim selfies was posted on April 30, replicating the most re-tweeted Oscar selfie posted by television celebrity Ellen DeGeneres.

The tweet said: “Can the #HajjSelfie beat the #OscarSelfie in Retweets? Let's RT this to infinity #Muslim and say #mashAllah.”