Controversy surrounds Mauritanian sheikh permitting 'selling of sins'

Controversy surrounds Mauritanian sheikh permitting 'selling of sins'
Blog: In a move reminiscent of the medieval practice of selling 'indulgences', a Mauritanian religious expert has said 'selling sins' is allowed, causing much controversy in the North African country.
1 min read
19 Jan, 2016
The Catholic practice of selling 'indulgences' peaked in the Middle Ages, but continues today [Getty]
Mauritania's former minister of Islamic affairs has caused a commotion online after an audio recording was uploaded of him explaining that "selling sins" was religiously permissible.

"There are some religious scholars who say it is permissible to sell sins. A person agrees with someone else to sell his sins for money. Sins can be sold but blessings cannot be bought, because it not known if that is acceptable or not," Ahmad Ould al-Nini is reported to have said.

"Sins or acts in violation of Islamic law can be sold, but, most importantly, people must avoid committing evil deeds," Nini stressed.

Nini told listeners to read the works of the famous 11th century Islamic scholar Abu Abdullah al-Qurtubi to verify his teaching.

Not surprisingly, social media users were quick to poke fun at the former minister's unusual comments.

One Facebook user said: "I'm not going to sell my sins. I have fond memories of them and I have a forgiving and merciful God."

Another Mauritanian social media user said: "For the first time I am convinced that [Mauritania] will become an economic superpower. Thank you, Mr Nini."