What are the options to travel to Mecca or Jabal al-Nour as a non-Muslim? I feel needs broader discussion. This answer encourages a traveler to break the law saying:

What's the maximum that can happen to you? To my knowledge, you will be escorted out of Makkah after a few hours in detention.

In my opinion this site (and the whole of SE network, for that matter) should not tolerate such answers that are "yes, this is illegal but do it anyways".


4 Answers 4


Often times it is the locals who answer law-related questions with a "it's possible" and "there are no (severe) consequences.

However, travellers who often do not speak the language might get into trouble with authorities in situations where locals could solve the situation with a few words and a smile.

Also it might be very much dependent on the person, how well you can get yourself out of trouble.

Another problem with breaking the law is that you might upset some of the local people. As Thorsten said, travel means respecting how other cultures work, and upsetting the more "conservative" half of a culture should in many cases be avoided...

I think answers who encourage someone to break the law (even if it is just concerning small offences like camping in Germany) should be avoided and should only be posted when they are very well researched (with sources cited) and when they include a warning about potential consequences.


Travel is coming in contact to other cultures and that means respecting how other cultures work and behave accordingly while visiting it. Behaving accordingly is not identical to obey the law and there are many reasons for this:

The law was written down a long time ago and still valid because the legal body does not retract laws, but is completely unenforced.
The US states have many laws that are cited by web sites as funny legal oddities, the problem is that most of these laws are simply not respected or enforced anymore. Only by knowing how natives handle these cases can the traveller come to a decision if and when these laws are enforced. In Germany the §166 literally taken prohibits the wearing of a fish skeleton T-Shirt because it could offend the Christian belief. In reality the law is almost completely ignored, the cases in 50 years could be counted at one hand. I think other people can cite many examples from their countries.

The law is so complicated, fuzzy and twistable that almost everyone violates the law..
Many, many examples: The US import laws. Germany's "hacker" laws. The Law against insulting the Turkish State. Spying laws in many countries. If you take the law literally, you are guilty. In fact, the exact meaning and applicability of such laws are defined by courts. If it does influence the society, you will be informed as traveller. If it does not, it is no concern for you.

The law is ignored largely because it has no holding in the society.
There are many reasons for this. Some countries (Abkhazia) or regions (ISIS) are de-facto independent of the country they are nominally belonging to. Some laws were implemented by colonial bodies and clash completely with local law. The law is only given lip service (The human rights are almost universally acknowledged and also universally violated).

The law is ignored because it handles a very frequent case and the punishment is neglible. Sleeping in a tent in the woods, bathing in a lake/river or crossing the streets with a red light is prohibited in many countries, but there is no real punishment if you are caught. They are mostly "Cover your ass" laws, so if you are injured by a fallen branch or you cut your foot in a lake or you are hit by a car you are guilty and you cannot blame anyone else.

Obeyeing the law is actually dangerous and it is continually violated for common sense.
I do not know if it still the case but the law demanded some time ago that if you want to drive on the autobahn and you cannot filter into the flow of the traffic, you should stop. In reality this law was always violated because the high speeds would guarantee that following cars cause rear collisions and therefore it was always violated. If you travel in a third-world country and a corrupt policeman charges you with a crime and expects a bribe, denying the bribe because it violates the law could end your life. Some punishments are draconic and even moderate prisons could kill you easily because of catastrophic conditions. We had a question here where you find hidden drugs in your luggage. The lawful solution is declare that you found drugs in your luggage and risking punishment. The common sense solution is getting rid of the drugs in a toilet and leave the country ASAP.

For all this reasons I think no, our guideline should be that we give advice which gives the traveller the best protection against trouble and inform him how exactly a case should be best handled for the cultural background. In almost all cases this will coincide with the law, but if obeyeing the law constricts choices without real cause or endangers a traveller disproportionally than it is no option.

  • +1 good answer, in general, but the question and answers the OP is referring to is encouraging the traveler to go against the culture and potentially get in trouble (e.g. pretend to be a Muslim/ the chances to being caught/ what's the worse that can happen) Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 5:17
  • You have (both here and in many of your other answers) a very creative interpretation of German law. The German penal code §166 does of course not literally prohibit the wearing of a fish skeleton t-shirt, no matter how you try to interpret it. Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 9:29

I don't have any issues with it simply because the laws around the world vary and there are many topics that we may accidentally fall afoul of because of legal issues if there's such a hard and fast rule.

If a country has a law on its books that is generally disregarded by its own citizens, and there are plenty around, should we adhere to that strict definition and refuse to answer any questions that may break that law? How would we know?

I don't think we should be encouraging readers to break the law, but removing or forbidding such answers can be ignorant to reality. Ultimately travel answers are going to be more useful (the prime aim of the site) if they reflect reality.

  • This is not accidental.
    – user4188
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 6:09
  • 4
    Correct, but if someone posts something without knowledge of the legal issues and someone else points them out - do we delete it all? I'm assuming that would be your position. How do we confirm that some raised legal issues are correct? Would it provide an easy way to get stuff you don't like deleted? I don't see a benefit provided that is going to outweigh the potential problems.
    – dlanod
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 6:13

This is a forum where people have their own opinions,I agree that breaking law is a wrong direction but the concerned author also mentioned what were the effects if u break the law

so AFIK its not wrong,dont consider as a breaking law,consider it as warning when anyone tries to break out the law,

Its friendly community where everyone guide eachother ,as per my opinion the answer was just a warning while we break the law

there were two ways in describing answer : u can touch fire u wont get burnt, second one this is the way to touch fire if u go in this way u will be burnt

the concerned answer was second category so no offence towards it

  • No, the concerned author mentioned what he believes are the consequences and according to wikivoyage he is wrong but also -- who cares? Laws are to be kept. Encouraging others to break the law shouldn't be here, maybe some darknet forums, but not here.
    – user4188
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 5:22
  • I am not wrong, makkah is not the mosque. The Qur'an is talking about the mosque. Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 5:27
  • 12
    @chx really, can we not discuss crossing the street when the light is red? In many cities one's risk of getting in trouble for doing so is vanishingly small, but it is still illegal. Discussing the likely consequences of an illegal act is not necessarily encouragement to commit that act.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 5:29

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