A prominent Saudi Arabian cleric has issued a religious ruling forbidding the building of snowmen, described them as anti-Islamic. Asked if it was permissible for fathers to build snowmen for their children after a snowstorm in the country’s north, Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid replied: “It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun.” Quoting from Muslim scholars, he argued that to build a snowman was to create an image of a human being, an action considered sinful under the kingdom’s strict interpretation of Sunni Islam.
Reuters News, January 2015
As many of my alert readers already know, the 13th Clown is an equal-opportunity observer of organized religions. Therefore, the above paragraph caused me to ask many questions that the report left unclear.
Having read the Reuters paragraph, I decided to use my incredible research and investigative journalism skills to dig further into the notion that building snowmen, “even in the act of play and fun” is forbidden by the Prophet Muhammad. Obviously, given that some Muslims take a dim, even murderous, view of those who “mock” their religion combined with the Clown’s unique editorial style, I consider my efforts as an act of courage.
My first stop, naturally, was the Islamic holy book, the Koran, or as some would say Qu’ran while others, being more anal retentive, drop the apostrophe and go with the simpler and more tidy, Quran. The only version not highlighted as “misspelled” by the Clown’s Spellcheck is Koran. Therefore, I’m going with Koran. (Irony Alert: My Spellcheck considers “Spellcheck” misspelled.)
As it turns out, the Koran doesn’t actually mention snowmen, probably due to the fact that Muhammad lived much of his life in a Saudi Arabian desert where snowmen were as rare as Elizabeth Warren fans on Wall Street. It was in this desert setting, it is said, that Muhammad received God’s revelations from the angel Gabriel over a 23 year period. (Moses, on the other hand, got much of the same info from God on Mt. Sanai in only one day and in a much condensed, two-tablet form. This difference illustrates that Jews are really, really into efficiency.)
Having done my Koranic background work, I contacted Sheikh (pronounced “shake”) Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid by phone for further clarifications. The following is a close approximation of the interview:
Clown: Good afternoon, Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid, this is the 13th Clown, a well-known and highly respected free-lance journalist in the United States, or as you probably know it, The Great Satan.
Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid: Yes, yes, of course, the Great Satan’s famous 13th Clown. How can I help you understand Islam without you then having the inclination to mock us?
Clown: Is that a trick question? Never mind. To keep the conversation rolling, may I call you Sheikh Mo?
Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid: Actually, Moh is the preferred familiar so add the “h” please, Praise be to Allah.
Clown: Moh it is. I understand that you recently issued a religious fatwa forbidding the building of snowmen because depictions of the human form are frowned on in the Koran. Is that correct?
Sheikh Moh: That is correct, Praise be to Allah.
Clown: Here in the Great Satan, as well as other western countries that have fully embraced the 21st century, snowmen rarely look much like actual humans, with the possible exception of Pavarotti . Traditionally, snowmen don’t even have legs, just a large round glob of snow, usually checkered with various bits of yard debris.
Sheikh Moh: True, but it’s the intent of the maker to represent a human. Besides, many in my country don’t have legs either. We hack them off of those convicted of less serious crimes than adultery and blasphemy. Those we stone to death, Praise be to Allah.
Clown: In Iran, where there is a good deal of snow, snowmen made by Muslims sprout up everywhere when conditions are right.
Sheikh Moh: Speak not to me of the blasphemous Persians. Their understanding of the Qu’ran is very 17th century, unlike our purer 7th century version, Praise be to Allah.
Clown: Specifically, what do you object to regarding snowmen? Is it that they seem jolly and happy? Or, perhaps, it’s the corncob pipe or button nose? Surely it’s not the two eyes made out of coal or the magic old silk hat. The broomstick in his hand? Although, technically, snowmen don’t have hands, but it’s the broomstick, right?
Sheikh Moh: There are many layers of our hatred of snowmen. Frankly, I’m not a happy and jolly person myself, but the Qu’ran does not inveigh against levity, as long as it doesn’t involve music, dancing or jokes about Muhammad. For these transgressions, you can be executed. Tobacco products and buttons are likewise acceptable unless the buttons are undone revealing the round, firm, heavy, deliciously smooth breast of a woman. For this, the buttons and the woman would be destroyed, Praise be to Allah.
Clown: Ahhhh, fascinating.
Sheikh Moh: As for the coal, we here in the Arabian Peninsula much prefer petroleum in its liquid form. It’s just a branding thing really. The silk hat is a symbol of the decadent west, especially the more recent times of their enlightenment, you know, the 18th and 19th centuries. Only the broomstick moderates our hatred a bit. Muhammad used such a stick as a walking aid when he roamed the desert looking for Gabriel, Praise be to Allah.
Clown: Hypothetically, if a Muslim in Saudi Arabia were caught rolling up a snowman for his children, what would be his punishment?
Sheikh Moh: This is a ridiculous question because it rarely snows here. However, should it ever happen, the sinner would be given lashes, Praise be to Allah.
Clown: Why in the world would you put fake eyelashes on a sinner? They’d probably look better on the snowman.
At this point, there were muffled sounds of a scuffle for the phone, demonic laughter, possibly a gunshot and the cry “Allah Akbar” and then the line went dead. It’s possible that being interviewed by a western faux reporter has its own dangers.
Observoid of the Day: Fatwas and root canals are in the same humor genre.