In a bizarre move, a prominent Saudi Arabian cleric has reportedly issued a religious ruling, or a fatwa, on building snowmen.
When 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."
He went on to add that building snowmen or any replica of an animal, even if it is for fun or recreation, could not be condoned. Only lifeless things, such as ships, fruit and buildings could be imitated.
Why, might you ask? Well, the cleric believes building snowmen “promotes lustiness and eroticism”. How exactly a crude, barely-resembling-a-human figure made up of three snow globes promotes eroticism, he did not specify.
The ruling sparked heated online debates, with some supporting Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid’s decision and others angrily slamming it for robbing the people of Saudi Arabia of their fleeting chance for some snow fun.
“We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun," said a blogger known only as Mishaal.
The unexpected snowfall occurred in the Saudi region of Tabuk, approximately 1500km northwest of the capital, Riyadh.
The Gulf state is the second hottest country in the world, where average temperatures reach highs of 45 degrees Celsius.