Two Saudi scholars argue over music, accuse each other of not respecting Islam
Shaikh Saleh Al Fawzaan forbids the faithful from attending prayers led by Sheikh Adel Al Kalbani, who argues that Islam does not forbid listening to music. The controversy rages online as people take sides.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Two major Saudi scholars are involved in a heated discussion over music, slamming each other for not respecting Islam.

Saudi scholar Shaikh Saleh Al Fawzan said that Muslims should not pray behind an imam who insisted that music was not forbidden and that people had the right to listen to it.

Despite the pressure, Shaikh Adel said that he would not revoke his pro-music edict. "I never regretted issuing any fatwa and I have never retracted a fatwa or an opinion," he said.

However, his stance infuriates those who believe that Muslims should not pray behind an imam who insisted that music was not forbidden.

People have followed the debate on social networks discussing the points of view expressed by two scholars.

"I will this Friday deliberately go to pray behind Shaikh Adel," one blogger posted. "I do not know what reasoning was used to ban praying behind him. I believe it is a kind of pressure on Shaikh Adel," he said.

For one user, Shaikh Adel reflected the new thinking within the religious class.

"We have always admired your courage to state facts as they are and to highlight the truth," said another.

One comment instead urged Shaikh Adel to focus on matters that did not divide the people, "Shaikh Adel is causing unnecessary problems," the post said.

Along the same lines, some social network users took the arguments to a new level by insisting that imams who did not condemn usury should be the ones to be banned from leading Muslims in prayers.