Wednesday, December 23, 2009


From Layman’s Desk -2: SHA’IRALLAH or SYMBOLS OF ALLAH - Brief thoughts!

In The Name Of Allah The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

When we talk of the symbols of Allah we don’t mean the kinds that people normally attach to a creed. In Islam, Allah is beyond any symbol for none is like Him. The symbols and anything within the Space, Time and Energy are in the realm of creations while Allah is the Creator. Creations can never be equated with the Creator. At the same time, when we speak of creation we don’t in the least mean animal procreation for Allah begets not, nor his begotten. We have to remember the Creator has no body but is self-subsistent, Eternal and One who is not governed by direction or location and only He is to be worshipped. The creations are not to be worshipped, not even when the creations are “Sha’ir Allah” or the Symbols of Allah. Prayers are accepted at the symbols of Allah, including those in Makkah during the Haj or Umrah, and in and around Madinah the Radiant. However, generally, these Symbols of Allah are to be respected and honoured and their sanctity is not to be violated. So what are the symbols of Allah? How does one honour them and why?

In Surah al-Baqara, verse 158, the hills of Safa and Marwa have been called as the symbols of Allah. The same verse recommends the encompassing between them:

Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of God. So if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times, should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if any one obeyeth his own impulse to good, - be sure that God is He Who recogniseth and knoweth. (2:158)

As every Muslim knows, it was between these two hills of Safa and Marwa that Hajrah (Hager) kept on walking and, at times, running in quest of water for her son, Isma’il (a.s.) (Ishmael). She climbed to the top of Mount Safa and prayed to Allah for help, and then she climbed Mount Marwa and again cried for help. Allah responded to her supplication and sent Jibreel (peace be upon him) to dig out the well of Zam-Zam. Allah has declared these hills among His symbols since one of his beloved servants, Sayyida Hajrah, walked between these two hills seeking His help.

Briefly, the Ka’ba is one such symbol which is also known as the Baitullah or the House of Allah. The history of Ka’ba is long and ancient. It was built by Ibrahim (a.s.) and Isma’il (a.s.) at the place indicated by Allah.

Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-'Alamin (i.e. the mankind and the Jinns). In it are manifest signs, the Maqam of Ibrahim; whosoever enters it, he attains security. (3:96)

Maqam-e-Ibrahim is the place where Ibrahim (a.s.) used to stand at the time he built the Ka’aba. That place is signified by the impression of his footprints which are enclosed in the vicinity of the Ka’ba. The Ka’ba later became the focal point or Qiblah for offering of the ritual prayers (salaat) wherever one might be in the world. One makes the Tawaaf (circumambulations) of the Ka’ba, this being an obligatory requirement of Haj (Greater Pilgrimage) and Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage). On other occasions, too, making of Tawaaf carries immense reward. After the Tawaaf of the Ka’ba, two rakah of voluntary prayers are offered at this place and supplications offered by every pilgrim. Standing at Hateem or near Multazam, drinking the water of the Zamzam spring and offering ‘Saee’ or encompassing the distance between the hills of Safa and Marwa and ascending them, proceeding to Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifa, sacrificing animals at Mina, pelting stones at the Devil ( doing Rami), doing the farewell Tawaaf, and removing the Ihraam (which was donned in the beginning while making niyah for Haj or Umrah at designated spots “Mawaqit” are what the pilgrims do during the Haj or Umrah. All these are associated with the Symbols of Allah.

Rasulullâh Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam stated in another Hadîth: “The best and the most beloved city on the face of this earth to Allâh Subhanahu wa Ta’âla is Makkah.” (Sahih A Bukharî) The city houses the Masjid al-Haraam inside which are: the Ka’ba, the Maqam-e-Ibrahim, the Zamzam Spring are located – and even the hills of Safa and Marwa which in modern times have been enclosed within the precincts of Masjid al-Haraam. Whosoever enters it has attained safety (from the fire.) (Âl -Imrân). Du’â is granted at fifteen places in Makkah. These places are well-known to Muslims and even if they are not known they try to locate them, find them, and pray at those designated places so that Allah may accept their prayers swiftly.

Similarly, the Hadiths and other Islamic literature are full of the virtues of Madinah the Radiant (Medina) and its sacred precincts. Narrated Anas (r.a.), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "O Allah! Bestow on Madinah twice the blessings You bestowed on Makkah." (Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 30, Number 109). The Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) declared Madinah and what lies between its two black tracts – twelve miles around Madinah as Haram. Cutting of trees including the thorny plant “adah” with the normal exception of fodder for animals and making tools and equipment of normal use, is prohibited. So also hunting of animals. Anas reported that the Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, "Madinah is a sanctuary from such and such a place to such and such a place, and (within this area) its trees shall not be cut, nor any (unlawful) act committed, and whoso does so on him shall rest the curse of Allah, His angels and the entire mankind." (Bukhari). Therefore, the majority of scholars hold Madinah as the place of sanctuary.

Very briefly, some of the symbols of Madinah the Radiant are: The sacred grave and the Masjid of the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam); the distance between his (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) house and ‘mimbar’ which is blessed as the gardens of Paradise, inviting the good fortune of meeting the Messenger of Allah (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) at the pool of Kawthar. Inside the Masjid there used to be some 8 pillars where the Sahaba (r)used to offer many prayers. These pillars are known as the “Weeping” pillar, the pillar of Aisha (r), the pillar of Repentance (Towbah), pillar of sleeping place, pillar of Ali (r), pillar of delegations; pillar of Tahajjud and Taraveeh prayers which Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to offer; and pillar of Jibra’il a.s. from where Archangel Gabriel used to visit Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) . The virtue of offering prayers in the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) Masjid is 50,000 times which is half of that of the Masjid al-haraam in Makkah. However, the ulema tell us that though the Ka’ba is the holier place than Madinah the Radiant, the grave of Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) is higher in rank than the Ka’ba. There are many other places in and around the City of Radiance such as Uhud which is the burial place of Hazrat Hamza (r) and other Sahabas who were martyred there. Their sanctity cannot be rejected by attribution of falsehood.

In Surah al-Hajj of the Noble Qur’an it is mentioned:

“And whosoever honours the symbols of Allah (Sha’ir Allah) then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” (22:32).

And the prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest.

The symbols have been designated by Allah in the Holy Quran since these symbols and the persons, places, animals, or things associated with these symbols remind us of Him. These symbols are the signs of Allah since He is remembered when the pilgrim offers prayers while carrying out instructions and observances that are attached to these symbols all for the pleasure of Allah. Yusuf Ali says that impulse should be to do good, and if once we are sure of this, we must obey it without hestitation, whatever the people may say. The know-how and details regarding these instructions are also found in the ahadith (prophetic traditions). Makkah Mukarramah (Mecca) itself was declared as ‘Haram’ or the place of sanctuary by Ibrahim a.s.,who supplicated: O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah) a place of peace and security. (2:126)

We find extensions of symbols that are linked to Allah, such as Rasool-Allah (Messenger of Allah) Baitullah (for Ka’ba), Shahrullah (Month of Allah, i.e. Ramadan), Nabi-Allah (prophets of Allah), Wali-Allah (Friends of Allah), and Naaqata Allah, the she-camel of Allah that came out of the rock as a miracle for the people of Thamood; the sacrificial camels “And the (sacrificial) camels! We have made for you among the signs of Allah” (22:36) who are honoured with garlands around their neck, and so on. Therefore, those things by which we are reminded of Allah are included by the Ulema among the signs or symbols of Allah. By extensions these include not only the inanimate objects as the hills, the Sacred House and the places within the Haram Shareef, but also the precincts of Makkah that have the house of Khadija (r), the house where Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) was born (i.e. Mowlidun Nabi), the house of Abu Bakr Siddique (r) from where the Hijrat to Madinah took place, the house where Hazrat Ali (r) was born; then the house where Hazrat Umar (r) accepted Islam near the hill of Safa, where some forty men entered Islam; the cave of Thowr where the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) and Hazrat Abu Bakr (r) hid themselves to escape from the pursuing polytheist Makkans and where the verse calling Hazrat Abu Bakr (r) “the second of the two” was revealed; the Ghare-e-Hira or the Cave on the mountain of light (Jabl an-Noor) where Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to spend in solitude until one day he received the first revelation of the Holy Quran (Surah al-Alaq) and thus officially became the Messenger of Allah; and some various Masjids known as Raya, Jinn, Shajarah, Ghanam, Ajyaad, Abu Qubays, Tuwaa, Aisha, Ju’raana, Kabsh, Masjidul Aqba which lies on the road going to Mina from Makkah, Masjid al-Khaif at Mina, and not far from there, the Mursalaat Cave where Surah Mursalaat was revealed; and the graveyard, Jannatul Ma’la, where Hazrat Khadija (r) lies buried.

There are other symbols too. According to Shah Waliyullah (reh.) the greatest symbols of Allah are four: the Holy Qur’an, the Ka’ba, the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) and the ritual salaat. (HUJJAT ALLAHI’L BAALIGHA). In ALTAAF AL-QUDS, Shah Waliyullah states:
“To love the symbols of Allah the Exalted, means to love the Qur’an, the Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) , and the Ka’ba, or to love anything that reminds us of Allah the Exalted. To love the Awliya of Allah is the same.”

A tradition quoted in Abi-Shaiba’s MUSNAD and in KUNOOZ AD-DAQAAIQ show that the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “When Awliya are seen, Allah the Exalted is remembered.” When asked about the characteristics of Awliya, Imam Nawawi too said the same thing. Ibn Majah also reports this hadith shareef. A tradition related by Imam Baghawi says: “My Awliya are remembered when My Name is mentioned, and I am remembered, when they are mentioned.”

Now, when we show honour (yu’azzim) to the signs and indications of Allah, it is termed as “piety of the heart” as we saw in Surah al-Hajj (22:32) When there is an impulse to do good, Allah recognizes it (Surah 2:158). When we honour and love the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) and those associated with him or even the things associated with him and the friends of Allah, the impulse is to do good. When we visit the places of rest of the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) and the blessed companions and the family of Holy Propht (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) as well as the shrines of Awliya-Allah, the impulse is to do good because the symbols of Allah necessarily remind us of Allah the Exalted and Majestic as He is. He is fully aware of it, and no evil imputations by the ignorant will change the piety of the heart. Therefore, showing honour is an impulse to do good within the bounds sanctioned by Allah.

In Bukhari Shareef, Hadrat Abu Huraira (Radi Allahu ta'ala Anhu) reports
the following Hadith-e-Quddsi: The Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta'ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) has said that Allah said, “Whoever shows enmity to a friend of mine, I shall be at war
with him.” Allah loves his Awliya and we love the Awliya-Allah for the sake of Allah. Thus there is ample evidence to support that Awliya-Allah are among the symbols of Allah.

It is well to remember that the early Muslims used to go around the Ka’ba despite the fact that 360 idols had been placed inside by the polytheists Makkans, i.e. before Makkah (Mecca) was conquered by the Holy Prophet(Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) . But that did not make them polytheists because their intention was good of which Allah was aware and cognizant. Similarly, even today prayers are offered at the Maqam-i-Ibrahim where his footprints are stored in an enclosure near the Ka’ba. The graves of Isma’îl (a.s.) and his mother Hajrah sit in the Hajar under the Mizâb.” (Azraqi’s A khbâr ul Makkah). Additionally, the graves of Nûh, Hud, Shuaib and Salîh Alayhum Salâm lie between the Zamzam and the Maqâm.” (Azraqi’s Akhbâr ul Makkah) Around the Ka’bah lie the graves of three hundred prophets.” (Sahih Muslim, Bayhaqî) Between the Rukn ul Yamâni and the Rukn ul Aswad seventy prophets lie buried. Each of them died in poverty and lice infection owing to non availability of water. (Ibn Abû Zahira’s Jâmi ul Latîf) Despite all this, Tawaafs (circumambulations) of the Ka’ba are performed.  In the Masjid of al-Khayf  there is the 'qabar' of seventy prophets according to a prophetic  tradition reported in the book of Hadiths called Majma al-Zawaid (No.5769 and 5965) of al-Haythami.  Billions have been performing  'namaaz' in Masjidun Nabvi which houses the holy grave of Rasool-Allah (s). 

It is also known that till the time the cloth and the walls of the Ka’ba were destroyed by Yazeed’s forces who attacked Makkah in 64 Hegira, and poured fire, there used to be inside the Ka’ba, the horns of the sheep that Ibrahim (a.s.) had sacrificed in place of his son Isma’il a.s., and these too were destroyed by the fire and irretrievably lost to the world. Presence of the horns inside the Ka’ba did not affect the validity of the Tawaaf then.

Similarly, looking at the Ka’ba is better than a person’s performing “Ibaada” by way of fasting, remaining awake at night, and making Jihad in the way of Allah according to Ahmed ibn Taaoos (or al Taus) a famous Tabi’ian. According to a tradition related by Ibn Abbas (r), twenty mercies are for merely looking at the Ka’ba out of the one hundred and twenty that descend upon it every day and night. Looking at the Ka’ba with faith is a form of ‘Ibaadah’ and results in purgation of sins. Similar were the views of the early Muslims such as ‘Ata’ (d.114/732), Ibrahim al-Nakhai (d.95/713) and well-known Tabi’in, Saeed ibn al Mussayib (b.15 Hegira) and others.

Such is also the case of Hajar al-Aswad, from where the Tawaaf initiates and ends. The black stone, according to traditions, was whiter than milk and one of the stones of paradise but that the sinful hands of the descendents of Adam transformed the whiteness into blackness and took away its efficacy of curing any disease by merely touching the stone. Touching this stone, and also Rukn al-Yamani, also earns expatiation from sins (Tirmidhi and al-Haakim). The Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to kiss it and so also the Sahabas and those who followed them and by all Muslims during the Haj or ‘Umra. According to a tradition related by Ibn Abbas (r), the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) said that on the Day of Judgment, the Black Stone shall see and speak, bearing witness to everyone who kissed it with truth and faith.

Regarding the Zamzam water, it is a remedy for many things and a tradition narrated by Jabir (r) says that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: “Zamzam is a cure for any purpose for which it is being drunk.” Zam-Zam is the name of the famous well inside al-Masjid al-Haraam. It is Allah’s special blessing and miracle that the well of Zam-Zam gushes fresh and strong in a desert land like Makkah; a place where even today’s advanced scientific technologies can create no wells!

Again, it is reported that the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to go to Jannatul-Baqi in order to greet those who were buried there saying: “Peace be upon you, O abode of the faithful! God willing, we should soon join you. O Allah! Forgive the fellows of al-Baqi”. Thus visiting the graves is the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) . Permission for visiting the graves of Muslims was given by the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) and the hadiths are too well-known.

It is significant to note that the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to visit the grave of his beloved mother, Bibi Amana about whose spiritual rank a separate article is required. The Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: "My mother saw, when she gave birth to me, a light that illuminated the palaces of Bosra." (Ibn Sa'd, Ahmad, Bazzar, Tabarani, Abu Nu'aym, and ibn Asakir) On visiting her grave at Abwa, the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to weep much so that those who had accompanied him (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) there also wept (Sahih Muslim). In this Book of Hadiths, it is also reported that the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) taught Aisha ® the manners of visiting graves and the way of greeting the dead.

According to Ibn Abi Shayba, the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to visit Uhud every year as a mark of respect and honour to the graves of the maryrs. He used to send Salaams and supplicate for them. According to the scholars, this Sunnah was continued by the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs (Allah be pleased with them all) also during their caliphate as they continued to visit the graves of the Uhud martyrs. It was here that once the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) came out and offered the funeral prayer for the martyrs of Uhud. Proceeding to the pulpit he (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: "I shall be your predecessor and a witness for you, and I am really looking at my sacred Fount [al-Kauthar] now, and no doubt, I have been given the keys of the treasures of the world. By Allah, I am not afraid that you will worship others along with Allah, but I am afraid that you will envy and fight one another for worldly fortunes.” (Bukhari, Vol.2, 428) In Shu’ab al-Imaan, Bayhaqi has narrated that the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to visit the graveyard of the martyrs of Uhud annually.

In the same book Bayhaqi has also recorded a hadith that says: The Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) has said: “Whoever visits the graves of his parents or the grave of one of them on every Friday, he will be forgiven and his name will be written among the pious ones.” The Holy Quran only prohibits the visiting of the graves of the Munafiqeen (Hypocrites): “And do not even pray for any one of them who dies, nor stand at his grave; (for) verily they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and they died in state of perverse wickedness” (Quran: 9:84). From this, the Ulema of the four madhabs have unanimously deduced the contrary position that standing at the graves of muslims is permissible.

According to the noted Arabian scholar from Makkah, Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki-Makki (May Allah grant him Jannatul Firdaus):

“So, besides merely visiting the graves, in some cases the Prophet Muhammad, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, would also make a habit of visiting them at specific times every year. Thus the practice of annual commemoration for visiting certain graves, as is the custom of many Muslims all over the world today, is actually derived from the Sunnah.”

The Islamic literature is full of details that irrefutably proves that these are the places of “Baraka” or blessings. However, not all graves or graveyards are of the same rank according to the Shariah. Those burial places with the holy people rank higher. The virtues of Jannatul Ma’la where Hazrat Khadija (r) is buried and of the Jannatul Baqi where lie the family of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) and his many companions, spouses, the Muhajareen and Ansars, and of other places are also well-known. As Muhammad ibn Alawi points out: Al-Bazzar narrates that the Prophet Muhammad, sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, visited the Jannat al-Ma'la graveyard in Makkah, where his dear wife, our Sayyidah Khadijah, radi Allahu 'anha', is buried and said this about the place : "This is a blessed graveyard" (Ni'mah al-maqbarah hadhih). Thus, people all over the world visit the Jannatul Baqi in Madinah and Jannatul Ma’la in Makkah. According to the four Imams: Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafii, Imam Maalik, and Imam Ahmad (reh.) it is permissible (“Jaiz”) to attain Baraka through the graves of the pious such as the Awliya Allah. It must also be remembered that when Hazrat Umar ® finally got the permission to be buried next to the grave of Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) , he said that there was nothing more important to him than that! Of course, the chapter on Baraka is very large and is outside the scope of this small article.

Respecting and loving the signs or symbols of Allah is definitely loving Allah. Respecting and loving those whom Allah loves definitely means loving Allah. Respecting and loving Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) and his relatives or near and dear ones is, again, loving Allah and his Messenger (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam): . Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin." According to many commentators of the Holy Qur’an, Ibn Abbas narrated: When the above verse (42:23) was revealed, the companions asked: "O' the Messenger of Allah! Who are those near kin whose love Allah has made obligatory for us?" Upon that the Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: "Ali, Fatimah, and their two sons, repeating this sentence thrice. Sayyid Muhyuddin Ibn Al-Arabi too is of the same view, and adds the children of Hasnain to the interpetation. Maulana Maudoodi differs saying that when the verse was revealed in Makkah, Hazrat Ali ® and Fatimah ® were not married and no children were born to them then. According to some interpretation the same meaning is extended to the entire tribe of Quraish: Narrated Tawus: Ibn 'Abbas recited the Quranic Verse:--'Except to be kind to me for my kin-ship to you--" (42.23) Said bin Jubair said, "(The Verse implies) the kinship of Muhammad." Ibn 'Abbas said, "There was not a single house (i.e. sub-tribe) of Quraish but had a kinship to the Prophet and so the above Verse was revealed in this connection, and its interpretation is: 'O Quraish! You should keep good relation between me (i.e. Muhammad) and you." Ibn Kathir point out in his Tafseer the conversation between Imam Zayn al Abidin (who had been captured after Karbala) and a man in Syria that this Ayat referred to them who were the Ahle Bayt. This is held by other scholars too, including al-Tabarani and many others. In short, loving the Ahle-Bayt who are the descendents of the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam), too, is obligatory for the Muslims according to the Ulema.

But then do we really care for the symbols of Allah? The house where the Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) received the word of God is gone and nobody cares. Islamic history and civilization has been sought to be buried by those who were supposed to protect them. According to past reports over 300 historic sites of Islamic importance have been lost forever in the Province of Hejaz. By 2006 alone, more than 90 per cent of historic masjids, tombs and mausoleums and other artefacts were razed, so that some voices from the Hejaz, have begun to question the wisdom of the eradication of the country’s historic wealth. Included in the destruction are: the al-Ma’la graveyard where there were the graves of Khadija ®, Abdul Muttalib and Abu Talib, the wife, the grandfather and the uncle of Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) respectively and where sewage water has been seeping continually; razing of the graveyard of Jannatul Baqi and the graveyard of Uhud martyrs, including the grave of Hamza ibn ‘Abd al Mutallib )®, Prophet Muhammad’s (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) uncle; Badar where the historic battle was fought and where the holy Prophet (sallal laahu alayhis wassallam) literally addressed the dead polytheists of Makka after three days, is a heap of rubbles; the grave of the son of Imam Ja’far Saadiq ®; the grave of Hazrat Abdallah ® the father of Holy Prophet ((Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) was also dug up from the house known as Dar al-Nabigha in January 1978 at Madinah but the body was found fresh and perfumed and so the Muslims buried it at at Jannatul Baqi (Daily Nawa-e-Waqt of 21st January 1978); the grave of  Hazrat Aamina ® , the mother of Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) was first bulldozed and then gasoline was poured over it; the site of Ghazwa-e-Khandaq has been reduced to a road; demolition of the famous seven Masjids of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Ali, Salman Farsi, Fatimah the daughter of Mohammed (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam), al Qiblatayn, al Fath, and other Masjids including that of Saad ibne Maaz ® ; the dar al-arqam the first school where Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) taught; the historical house where the Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) Hazrat Khadijra ® lived for 28 years including the 13 years of revelations, and historical house of Umme Haanee whence the Miraj began, both of which were destroyed to make way for toilets and washrooms; house of Abu Dharr Ghiffari ® across the Masjidun Nabvi is no more; the well in the courtyard of Masjid al-Quba as well as the date-palm garden are no longer there; near the Haram Shareef, the place of the miracle of splitting of the moon and the historical al-Hilal Masjid were demolished and a royal palace constructed; historical Masjid Muhammadar Rasool (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) at Taif was set on fire in which the furniture and many copies of Holy Quran were burnt; the pulpits of the four Madhabs in the Haram Shareef were destroyed and the righteous banned from teaching while those who shouted right in Masjidun Nabvi that father and mother of the Prophet (s) are in hellfire, and charged the Muslims with Shirk, apostasy, calling them deviants and innovators, were promoted. Destructions have been exported elsewhere too as far as Bosnia, Chechanya, Pakistan, India and other places. For example, in 2006 c.e., there was desecration of the grave of Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf, Prophet Muhammad’s grandfather, in the Palestinian city of Gaza.

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “But none rejects Our Signs, except only the perfidious, ungrateful (wretch).” (31:32)

Strange, isn’t it? That Allah should teach us a lesson in drawing our attention to His symbols and making us observe certain rites for preserving the significance of those symbols in honour of his beloved servants for posterity while some of his creature should destroy the Islamic symbols, heritage, architecture, to humiliate our noble ancestors who are the pride of Islam , under the semblance of “Shirk” thus giving rise to a sense of rootlessnes, alienation and humiliation to the majority Muslim Ummah. Now, everywhere we turn there we find what not to do. The list of ‘bidah’ and ‘shirk’ keeps on growing longers and what we should do keeps on growing lesser. But there is no check on the rampant commercialization of the areas of Islamic sites where large hotels, giant skyscrapers, huge parking lots, banking facilies and needless concrete jungles are invading the sanctity of the two holiest cities of Islam.
Pursuit of material wealth and possessions and dedication to riches have become tantamount to devotion or 'Ibaadah'. Why not destruct this symbol of mammonism? Please spare us the humiliation of destruction of Islamic symbols!

It was during the Night Journey to Jerusalem that Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) offered two rakah prayers at various places such as Madinah Taiyyaba (where he was to migrate within two years); then at Mount Sinai (Toor) where Moses used to speak with Allah; then at Bethlehem where Jesus was born; before finally reaching the Masjid al-Aqsa where Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) led all the prophets in prayer before proceeding on the heaveny journey in body and spirit. So why did he (s) offer those prayers? This signifies that the places associated with men of God and pious personalities also have Islamic values for sure, and these cannot be destroyed on the pretext of 'Shirk'.

It was Hazrat Umar ® who took part in the work of restoring Masjid Al-Aqsa, which had been in ruins, and he carried dirt in his own robe. When the site was cleansed and sprinkled with scent, he and the followers prayed near the rock from which the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) had ascended to heaven during the night of Miraj. And no! He had not cut down the tree under which the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam) had received the pledge of allegiance from his companions and which has been mentioned in the Qur’an (48:18) but the tree which was wrongly assumed to be that tree.

Lest we forget, the symbols of Allah uplift the spirit, bear witness to the glory of Islam, and remind us of Allah and His beloved servants, and give us a sense of belonging to the Ummah of the Holy Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa Sallam).

Allah and His Rasool knows best.