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Old 08-04-2012, 08:22 AM   #1
CevepBiageCefm

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Default 2002 Mecca girls' school fire
As-salamu alaykum.

I came across the below article online only recently, even though it is quite old.

Friday, 15 March, 2002, 12:19 GMT
Saudi police 'stopped' fire rescue

Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers.

In a rare criticism of the kingdom's powerful "mutaween" police, the Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls who died in the fire on Monday.

About 800 pupils were inside the school in the holy city of Mecca when the tragedy occurred.

According to the al-Eqtisadiah daily, firemen confronted police after they tried to keep the girls inside because they were not wearing the headscarves and abayas (black robes) required by the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam.

One witness said he saw three policemen "beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya".

The Saudi Gazette quoted witnesses as saying that the police - known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - had stopped men who tried to help the girls and warned "it is a sinful to approach them".

The father of one of the dead girls said that the school watchman even refused to open the gates to let the girls out.

"Lives could have been saved had they not been stopped by members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice," the newspaper concluded.

Relatives' anger

Families of the victims have been incensed over the deaths.

Most of the victims were crushed in a stampede as they tried to flee the blaze.

The school was locked at the time of the fire - a usual practice to ensure full segregation of the sexes.

The religious police are widely feared in Saudi Arabia. They roam the streets enforcing dress codes and sex segregation, and ensuring prayers are performed on time.

Those who refuse to obey their orders are often beaten and sometimes put in jail.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1874471.stm
I can't base this upon any specific scholar's opinion or on any other Islamic source that I am familiar with, but wouldn't it have been permissible to make an exception in this case simply out of necessity? I feel like I have heard exceptions can be made in life-threatening situations, but again, I can't base that on any Islamic sources that I know of off the top of my head. Could anyone here please provide some input?

JazakAllahu Khayran for all of your responses.

(Disclaimer: Please, do not turn this thread into a thread against Saudi Arabians)
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Old 08-04-2012, 03:06 PM   #2
dafodilkemmy

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Yes, in an emergency the usual rules are waived - saving a life takes precedence. As the Qur'an says saving a life is as if you've saved humanity.
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Old 08-04-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
plaiskegizils

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It would take someone to be pretty stupid to send someone back into a burning building because they were not dressed right. Common sense would tell anyone that they are allowed and encouraged to escape the fire.
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Old 08-04-2012, 04:04 PM   #4
fameintatenly

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Yes, in an emergency the usual rules are waived - saving a life takes precedence. As the Qur'an says saving a life is as if you've saved humanity.
"Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." Talmud - Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:1

Qur'an 5:32
"On that account: We ordained
For the Children of Israel
That if any one slew
A person—unless it be
For murder or for spreading
Mischief in the land—
It would be as if
He slew the whole people:
And if any one saved a life,
It would be as if he saved
The life of the whole people..."
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:17 PM   #5
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This was, and still is, a very controversial episode in the Kingdom. Al-Hay'a (or religious 'police' as they are known in the West) lost a lot of credibility after this. It, along with other incidents, is still quoted today by their many critics in society. Under King Abdullah (may Allah preserve him!) their power and influence has diminished considerably. The scholars did explain the necessity of saving life should have taken precedence but the problem is that the 'religious police' are volunteers often with little Islamic knowledge and even some of them being 'reformed' criminals. Thus some of them do not fulfill the conditions for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:25 PM   #6
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What type of criminals? On Haj you get these type of volunteers at passport control and they are so bad they cause all sorts of delays and problems for hajis...not really good enough given that Saudi hosts the Haj.


This was, and still is, a very controversial episode in the Kingdom. Al-Hay'a (or religious 'police' as they are known in the West) lost a lot of credibility after this. It, along with other incidents, is still quoted today by their many critics in society. Under King Abdullah (may Allah preserve him!) their power and influence has diminished considerably. The scholars did explain the necessity of saving life should have taken precedence but the problem is that the 'religious police' are volunteers often with little Islamic knowledge and even some of them being 'reformed' criminals. Thus some of them do not fulfill the conditions for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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These Jaahils!!!!!!!!!!!! They are thick-headed, have no fiqh in them and cause a lot of fitnah in the name of islam. Being dressed un islamically is definitely a severe offence, in fact the girls were not even supposed to leave for something unnecessary like school, but who says that you should kill them on that basis. May ALLAH TA AALA guide and forgive us
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:54 PM   #8
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What type of criminals? On Haj you get these type of volunteers at passport control and they are so bad they cause all sorts of delays and problems for hajis...not really good enough given that Saudi hosts the Haj.
Tell me about it

Can you imagine being left to wait for over 4 hrs at the passport control then over 6 hrs outside the Hajj terminal in that heat

All because they are just incompetents.

Muslims have been going to Hajj for thousands of years and one would have thought the Saudis might have learned a lesson on getting busses ontime from to Makkah .

And no Hajees are not allowed to complain because if you do they will tell you its a sin to do so.


Those religious police are no where to be seen when migrant labourers suffer in the hands of the saudis.

Can you imagine how they used to live before the Prophet? and not much changes has taken place in the last 1500 years

May Allah protect us all.
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Old 09-12-2020, 12:06 PM   #9
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