A Saudi preacher has sparked controversy online after suggesting travel to Dubai is sinful or 'haram'.
Mohammed Al Shannar posted a tweet saying he was asked by a woman if she could travel to Dubai alone.
“A woman asked me if she may go to Dubai without a guardian. I responded saying: You should not go to Dubai even if you have a guardian if it is not required. If you go without a guardian sins will increase due to the abundance of temptation," he tweeted.
The post caused a stir on the social network with many using the hashtag #السفر_لدبي_حرام (Travel to Dubai is forbidden) to share their views on the topic.
"LOL. Some people think anything beyond them is haram. They are limited to their own life only #السفر_لدبي_حرام, " tweeted AlieninUAE.
Writer Abdullah Alweet also weighed in on the debate on Twitter.
"There is more adultery and alcohol in Saudi Arabia than Dubai and it is acceptable for women to travel to any country without a guardian but what's not acceptable is that people like you control the country," he said in response to Al Shannar's tweet.
Saudi Gazette columnist Khalaf Al-Harbe criticised Al Shannar for the statement.
“Al Shannar was unknown before the appearance of Twitter. Now, he can be considered an electronic virus that came to us through the computer wires. The Twitter Sheikhs, who have lately multiplied, are known for their weird fatwas [religious edicts],” he said.
Saudi Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Fozan, a professor of comparative Islamic jurisprudence, told Al Arabiya the fatwa is “incorrect and erroneous.”
Dismissing Dubai as an improper place is “incorrect as there are a lot of suitable places for Muslims to visit [in the emirate],” Fozan told Al Arabiya, adding that the emirate offers “trade, tourism and shopping opportunities”.
“It is better to travel to countries that are similar to Saudi Arabia in terms of religion, language and culture than traveling to non-Muslim countries,” Fozan added.