Want marriage aid? Prove you pray 5 times a day, says Saudi ministry

All applicants for marriage financial aid must be able to prove with the help of an imam that they pray five times a day.

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The Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs has announced all applicants for marriage financial aid must submit an attestation signed by an imam stating they pray five times a day, Al-Hayat reported.

Assistant director-general for social development at the Ministry of Social Affairs’ Eastern Province branch Mohammad Al-Zahrani said the ministry has 650 different charitable societies and 21 of them deal with marriage.

He said: “Marriage societies offer all kinds of aid and support, though they are mostly approached for financial aid.

“Marriage societies consider applicants and their marriages as their responsibility.

“To ensure the men who apply are of good conduct, the ministry demands attestation letters to be submitted with their application.”

He added there are several types of attestation letters including those from workplaces and neighbors.

“The ministry recently requested applicants to also submit an attestation from an imam at a mosque to state they pray five times a day.

“Some families greatly value good religious morals and practice. “The ministry has also assigned imams in mosques responsible for issuing the attestations.” He also said the ministry authenticates all papers submitted.

He said: “Not everyone who applies for financial aid receives it from us. “We have special committees dedicated to background check all of the documents and papers submitted.

“The attested letter stating an applicant prays regularly is also checked by visiting the listed mosque and interviewing the imam.”

Al-Ahsa Marriage Society General Director Adel Al-Khoufi said his organization does not reject applications based on whether the applicants pray five times a day.

He said: “We live in a Muslim society where the majority of people practice their Islam.

“We don’t view such attested letters as a determining factor for rejecting or accepting an application.

“Moreover, we rarely pray in the same mosque every day and for every prayer.”

He added the society does request the marriage contract to be submitted to ensure that the applicant is actually getting married.