Saudi News

Shops and businesses can remain open during prayer times in Saudi Arabia

For decades, commercial businesses in Saudi Arabia have shut their doors as soon as the first call of prayer is heard. Cars would queue up waiting for petrol stations to open, while patrons and customers at pharmacies, restaurants, and supermarkets would have to wait outside.
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Those days of inconvenience are now over.

The Kingdom will allow shops to remain open during prayer times, according to a circular issued by the head of the Saudi Chambers on Friday.
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“This is in an effort to improve the shopping experience and the level of services for shoppers and clients,” Ajlan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Ajlan, head of the Saudi Chambers, said in his circular to all members of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Commenting on the decision, Ali Sameer Shihabi, an author and commentator on Middle East politics and economics, with a focus on Saudi Arabia, tweeted that keeping shops open during prayer time is another “hugely symbolic and practical step to end the dominance of the religious class in daily life.”
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