Saturday, March 24, 2012


From the Layman’s Desk-15:

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficient Most Merciful.


Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates or your kindred; the wealth you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline or the dwellings in which you delight – are dearer to you than Allah, or His apostle, or the striving in His cause; then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.” (Qur'an: 9:24)
The destruction of the Islamic heritage by the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia has no parallel in the history of mankind. We noted in earlier Part of the article about the wanton wahhabi destruction of Madina Munawwara.  
Regarding Makkah, “We are witnessing the last few moments of Makkah,’ says Dr. Sami Angawi, a Saudi architect who is an expert on 1400-year old buildings in Saudi Arabia.  As mentioned by The American Muslim (TAM): “History is being erased in order to accommodate ever increasing numbers of pilgrims.  Over 300 sites have been destroyed in the last 50 years. 95% of the sites in Mecca have been destroyed.  As few as 20 structures are left that date back to the time of the Prophet.  It would seem that at this rate there won’t be much for those like Congressman Tancredo who suggested Nuking Mecca to destroy.  Muslim silence over the destruction is shocking….Of the three sites the Saudis have allowed the UN to designate World Heritage Sites, none are related to Islam.” 
Of course, the reason for destruction of Islamic heritage is not just the increase in the number of pilgrims to Makkah.    "At the root of the problem is Wahhabism,"  says Dr Angawi. " They have a big complex about idolatry and anything that relates to the Prophet."
The present Grand Mosque has three floors and is the largest mosque in the world.  It is built around the Kaaba, the most sacred place in Islam, [but next only to the site of Prophet’s grave which by the Ijma (consensus) of the Muslims  is the holiest on the earth according to Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa’, in the chapter on visiting the Prophet].  “They have ‘renovated’ the Haram (sacred precinct) in Makkah and reorganised the pilgrimage, imposing their own ignorance upon one of the sacred obligations (the Hajj) of the Muslim faith.  An essential part of the Hajj is to re-enact the distress of Hagar as she runs between two hills (Safa and Marwah) in search of water. The Saudi authorities have now completely enclosed these two hills within a massive building and installed an automatic moving pavement (travelator) between the two. The entire symbolism of Hagar's search has been obliterated and the hills themselves have been destroyed to accomodate the building and the moving sidewalk. The authorities are in the process of adding air-conditioning to the entire complex.  Those circling the Kaaba only need to look skywards to see the latest example of the Saudi monarchy's insatiable appetite for architectural bling.  At 1,972ft, the Royal Mecca Clock Tower, opened earlier this year, soars over the surrounding Grand Mosque, part of an enormous development of skyscrapers that will house five-star hotels for the minority of pilgrims rich enough to afford them.  A Salafi-Saudi cleric on Wednesday March 17 has called for demolishing the Grand Mosque (Masjid Al-Haram) in the holy city of Makkah and replacing it with a new one featuring "20 to 30" floors on the pretext of preventing men and women from mingling during pilgrimages (sha’a’er ot-Tawaf wa as-Sa`ee) which has been in Muslim practice since centuries, says a report in daily Akhbar Al Khaleej.  A viewer posed video footage of the show on the YouTube website, dubbing the cleric "the new Ibraha" after the tyrant who wanted to demolish the Ka'aba 14 centuries ago.

Speaking about the destructions of the Islamic heritage in Makkah, let’s turn to what Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa’i has stated in his Advice to the Ulema of Najd: “Eradicating the House of his Mawlid: You tried and continue to try - as if it were your goal in life- to destroy the last remnant of the historical vestiges of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, namely the noble place where he was born. This house was razed then changed into a cattle market, then some pious people used ruse to transform it into a library which became ‘Maktabat Makka al-Mukarrama.’  You began to pray at that place with evil stares and vengeful threats, trying to entrap it with the official departments. You openly requested that it be destroyed and have shown hostility to the authorities pressing them hard to effect such destruction after the decision taken to that effect by the organization of your major scholars a few years ago. I have an explicit taped recording of this decision. But the Custodian of the Two Sanctuaries, King Fahd -- the prudent and wise man who is a aware of next worldy consequences-- ignored your request and froze it indefinitely. Alas, for shame! Such disrespect and disloyalty against this noble Prophet, peace and greetings be upon him, by whom Allah Most High brought us out and yourselves and your ancestors into light! What a shamelessness in his presence the Day we come to drink form his blessed Basin! Alas, woe and misery for a Sect that hates its Prophet whether in word or in deed, holding him in contempt and trying its best to eradicate his traces! Yet Allah Most High says to us, { Take as your place of worship the place where Ibrahim stood (to pray)" [2:125]}.  And he said, bestowing on the Israelites the gifts of Talut, Musa, and Harun, { And their Prophet said unto them: Lo! The token of his kingdom is that there shall come to you the ark wherein is peace of reassurance from your Lord, and a remnant of that which the house of Musa and the house of Harun left behind, the angles bearing it. Lo! Herein shall be a token for you if (in truth) you are believers" [2:248]}. The Ulema of Quranic commentary said that these vestiges consisted in the staff of Musa peace be upon him, his sandals, etc.35 Read also, if you like, the sound and authentic hadiths that pertain to the physical and personal relics of the Prophet, peace and greetings be upon him, and the true concern of the Companions, may Allah be well pleased with them, over them as mentioned in the pages of sahih al-Bukhari. There is enough evidence "for him who has a heart or gives ear with full intelligence" [50:37] and ample provision for those who think and reflect. 36

Regarding the house of the Mother of Believers, Khadija ®, the Shaykh admonishes the Najdi Ulema:  “You approved, without the least objection, the razing of the house of Khadijat al-Kubra -Allah be well- pleased with her!- The mother of the believers and First Beloved of the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds- Allah bless and greet him and his Family. That place is the spot where the Revelation descended upon him for the first time from the Lord of Mighty and Majesty. You did not raise a peep when this destruction occurred, satisfied that washrooms and latrines took its place! Where is fear of Allah? Where is Shame before his most noble Messenger?”
In fact this was the very house where Umm Kulthum, Ruqayyah, Zainab, Fatimah and Qasim (may Allah be pleased with them all) were born.  After it was rediscovered during the Haram extensions in 1989, the site was covered over with sand to conceal it,  and later, public toilets were built over it.  Do you see the nature of the hardened hearts of the Wahhabis and how they view the family of the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam)?  Dar al-Arqam, the first Islamic school where Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) taught has been demolished to make room for escalators.   Jannatul al-Muala where Khadija ® was buried and other members of his family were also buried and which had been  blessed by Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) was razed on April 21, 1925 and all the tombs were destroyed.   The graveyard is drowning in sewage and the authorities are reluctant to act.  The tomb of Maimouna ®, another wife of Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), is also in Makkah in an area known as Sarif, which lies on the side of the Hijra Road, nearly 13 miles (20 kilometers) outside Makkah. That had also been razed. Historian al-Janubi returning from his pilgrimage in the year 963 A.H. (1555 c.e.) said: “I saw there," said he, "a dome of black marble erected in memory of Maimuna, on the very spot on which the apostle of God had reposed with her. God knows the truth ! and also the reason of the black color of the stone. There is a place of ablution, and an oratory ; but the building has fallen to decay.” (Washington Irving in Life of Mohammed)
Most Muslims visiting Makkah long to climb to the top of Jabal al-Nur (“the mountain of light”), to visit the Cave of Hira. It was to this cave that the Prophet (saws) used to retire in the month of Ramadan for prayer and meditation. He (saws) received the first revelations of the Qur'an while in the cave. The Wahhabi zealots want to destroy the mountain to prevent pilgrims from visiting the cave. At the foot of the hill the Wahhabis have posted a fatwa: “The Prophet Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wasallams) did not permit us to climb on to this hill, not to pray here, not to touch stones, and tie knots on trees...” Can the Wahhabis provide any evidence that he forbade Muslims from going there, or are their rants based on their hatred of Islam and the Muslims' attachment to and love for Allah's Beloved Messenger?

The next Masjid in line for destruction is the Masjid al-Bayah which is on the way to Mina, as the Najdi Ulema want the area of stoning the Jamaraat increased  all the way to the place where the mosque stands today.  This mosque is historically significant because this is where the Pledge of Allegiance at al-Aqaba in April 621 c.e. was taken.  It was here that the first twelve Ansars (Helpers) from Madinah accepted Islam and pledged their allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam). 

Historic and culturally important landmarks are being destroyed to make way for luxury hotels and malls.  Dr. Irfan Ahmed al-Alawi, the Chairman of the Islamic Heritage Foundation, says this is another Wahhabi plot to destroy yet another historical place belonging to Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam). According to him, today there are fewer than 20 structures remaining in Mecca that date back to the time of the Prophet 1,400 years ago.  The case of the grave of Amina bint Wahb, the mother of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), found in 1998, is typical of what has happened. "It was bulldozed in Abwa and gasoline was poured on it. Even though thousands of petitions throughout the Muslim world were sent, nothing could stop this action."    

The house of Abu Bakr, the Prophet's (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) companion and the First Khalifa of Islam, is  now the site of the local Hilton hotel; the house of Ali-Oraid, the grandson of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and the Mosque of abu-Qubais, is now the location of the King's palace in Mecca.

Someone might say what’s wrong with commercial prospects in building more hotels for the comfort of the Hajis.  Sure, but that could have been done otherwise too by preserving the Islamic heritage.  The so-called skyscrapers and business houses could have been built within reasonable distances and the pilgrims could have taken the cabs, buses, or even used camels to reach the holy destinations.  It does not require any intelligence to understand that extreme hatred for and spilling venom at the signs of Islamic sites and heritage has caused the Wahhabis to destroy them on the alleged pretext of protecting the Ummah from Shirk.  This reminds me of a quote of Dr. Samuel Johnson:  When a butcher tells  you that his heart bleeds for his country, he has,  in fact,  no uneasy feeling.  Shedding crocodile tears for Shirk and gulping down the Muslim heritage can only fool the crocodiles and the land sharks.  

Thus, another site that was demolished is the Ottoman Fort which was built on Bulbul hill overlooking the Grand Mosque. It was built in 1780 by the ruling Ottomans to protect the city and its Muslim shrines from invaders. The 220-year-old al-Ajyad fort was demolished in 2002 to make way for a $533m project for furnished apartments.  Today, the Zam Zam Towers stand in place of the Fort. 

Ali al-Ahmed, the head of the organisation, formerly known as the Saudi Institute, said: "The destruction of Islamic landmarks in Hijaz is the largest in history, and worse than the desecration of the Koran."  Despite an estimated $13bn in development cash currently washing around Mecca, Saudi sceptics dismiss the developers' argument. "The service of pilgrims is not the goal really," says Mr Ahmed. "If they were concerned for the pilgrims, they would have built a railroad between Mecca and Jeddah, and Mecca and Medina. They are removing any historical landmark that is not Saudi-Wahhabi, and using the prime location to make money," he says.   You don't need a shopping centre and restaurants when you're doing hajj. Marble flooring and five-star accommodation will not enhance your pilgrimage or make you a better Muslim. The idea that you can make a profit is especially offensive. Such desecration and disrespect would have been unthinkable 30 years ago.

It is  said that with the boom in construction activities of very tall buildings or hotels that cater to the very rich, Makkah is being turned into Las Vegas – and this is no compliment because they are turning Makkah Shareef into a tourist attraction.  Non-Muslim companies have no business to be there just non-Muslims  have no business to be there.  It is not the sponsorship per se that is rueful.  More rueful is the fact that rampant greed has overtaken the establishment and administration.   In the past, we have had McDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Coca-Cola, etc., in Saudi Arabia and now Starbucks.   Starbucks is one of the USA’s and the world’s most popular specialty coffee shop chains headed by its Chairman Howard Schultz who is  "a Jewish American who has long been supportive of Jewish organizations and causes in the United States and in Israel".  The logo of Starbucks is Queen Esther the Queen of the Jews or even it were of a mermaid with two tails,  there are shops in Makkah, Madina Munawarra, and other cities of the Arab countries.  Coffee was supposed to be an Islamic discovery.   But see how the Israelis are being sponsored in the Holy City.This is another instances how soft the Wahhabis are to the Jews but for the Muslims of Ahl as-Sunnah wal Jama’ah they come down hard.     It is only to be hoped that fake conversions to Islam are not being practised by the authorities to circumvent the Shariah  law that non-Muslims should not be allowed within the holy cities of Makkah the Magnificent and Madinah the Radiant!

Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani-Canadian Muslim activist and broadcaster, finds it incomprehensible that while the demolition of the Babri mosque by Hindu zealots at Ayodhya continues to remain an emotive issue with Muslims, what the Saudi authorities plan to do has evoked no protest at all.  According to him, today, the religious zealots in Saudi Arabia are not alone.  Commercial developers have joined hands with them and are making hundreds of millions in profits as they build ugly, but lucrative high-rises that are shadowing the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba. About 99% of real estate owners in the Jabal ‘Umar area are shareholders in this company. The owners have been provided with financial incentives, including what they used to receive as rents, combining five-star facilities under the luxurious Le Meridien banner.  Le Meridien Towers, Makkah,  will allow several thousand housing units in Mecca to be available during specified periods of time, for a one-off, fixed fee, giving the towers 25 years of shared ownership in Mecca. This scheme allow outsiders, whether Muslim or not, to invest in the city; they will be allowed to buy from a range of properties that can be used, sublet, resold or given as a gift. Many hotels are already in operation and during Ramadan, they offer  direct car access to the Holy Mosque through the tunnel of King Abdulaziz gate.  Raffles Makkah Palace is also situated in the prestigious Abraj Al-Bait complex overlooking the Grand Mosque and Kaaba shrine, Raffles Makkah Palace boasts spacious suites with panoramic views and 24-hour personal butler.
World heritage experts meeting at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London have called on Saudi authorities to halt the destruction of sites linked with Islamic history. Saudi authorities argue that they are trying to prevent idolatry from taking place which is simply not true for reasons stated in previous instalments of this article. 

What has been preserved, strangely are the Jewish Fort of Khyber and the citadel of the Saudi Dynasty at ad-Diriyya district, north-west of Riyad and the site of al-Hijr (Madian Salih) with 111 monumental tombs of the Nabataean period.  
Dr. Mai Yamani, author of The Cradle of Islam, said it was time for other Muslim governments to ignore the al-Sauds' oil wealth and clout and speak out. "What is alarming about this is that the world doesn't question the al-Sauds' custodianship of Islam's two holy places. These are the sites that are of such importance to over one billion Muslims and yet their destruction is being ignored," she said. "When the Prophet was insulted by Danish cartoonists thousands of people went into the streets to protest. The sites related to the Prophet are part of their heritage and religion but we see no concern from Muslims."
The silence that lurks over the destruction of the Islamic heritage is deafening – so deafening that it shrieks out at the Islamic and rest of the world of Asians, Africans, Europeans, Australians and Americans for being tolerant of inhuman and vandalizing attitude of the Wahhabis who are the revilers and destroyers of the legacy of a major world religion which they themselves claim to follow.   Or has Saudi petrodollars and mammonism seeped into their souls and numbed their senses into complacency beyond restoration?  At the rate the wanton wahabbi destructions are going on, soon Islam will no longer have any physical evidence of its early history.    Without history and culture or Islamic tradition there can be no civilization to speak of.  In the future, when the children will ask about the glory of Islam and its symbols and heritage, what will the parents show them?  Just the Khyber Fort or the ad-Diriyyah fort or the site of al-Hijr which are all unislamic?   Or will they show their children the tall buildings and hotels that boast of  un- satiable greed and wilful destructions of the legacy of Islam?  What a shame!
However, there can be no doubt that when all is said and done, history will render a very harsh judgment on those who try to wipe out the signs of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) whom Allah chose to spread Islam to the world. 

All praise belongs to Allah! Blessings and greetings upon our Master Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah and upon his Family and most honorable Companions and all those loyal to him.
To continue, Insha Allah…

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.