The trend of people sleeping in the Grand Mosque has been increasing each year, despite religious scholars declaring such an occurrence as a violation of Shariah.
It is not merely visitors from other Islamic countries who take a nap in the Grand Mosque but local visitors too.
The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has contacted authorities several times to find a solution to the problem.
Members of the Shoura Council have also made similar requests in the past.
Muhammad Matar, director of the Islamic Studies Center at Umm Al Qura University, said these mosques are for worship.
“They were never meant for sleep and relaxation or for eating and drinking,” he said.
“Allah said in the Qur’an ‘In houses (that) Allah has permitted to be raised up and His Name to be mentioned therein,’” he said.
“He also said ‘Purify My Home for the circumambulators, and the consecrators, and the ones often bowing down and prostrating themselves.’”
“This clearly means that mosques are meant for devotional activities,” he added. “When people tend to eat, drink or sleep, it can result in foul smells emanating from the area.”
Al Sahli said that God’s houses should be kept clean and not be subjected to such practices. “They are not places for food and drink,” he said.
“It’s okay to have a couple of dates if you are fasting and have come to pray and break your fast. But people go beyond that. There are legal rules that mandate that anything harmful to mosques should be prevented. Sleeping inside is harmful to mosques and the people praying there.”
The General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques said it was keen on preventing such habits through awareness programs and with the help of the media.
Ahmad Al Mansuri, director of Public Relations at the Presidency, said: “We are working to address this problem through education and communication. We print leaflets which are informative in many languages and distribute them among worshippers for awareness.”